Every year, like every other brewery on the planet, we toast the fact that we have managed to keep the fermenters full, the mill grinding, the glycol chiller humming and the taps flowing for the past 365 days. Running a brewery and working in a small brewery comes with its challenges but so does any job right? So why do we pat ourselves on the back every time we manage to go 12 months without closing up shop? I mean, I have worked for many different companies and never once have I attended an anniversary party at any of them.

It often takes me awhile to formalize my thoughts around a blog. That question combined with my continued thoughts on social media are my answer to why we have an anniversary party – It’s a celebration of the Renegade community. I have written about social media before, but I guess that thought has been rattling around in my head again. With our anniversary celebration around the corner once again, I solidified that thought and decided to put it on paper so that you would have something to scroll by and ignore.

The anniversary party one of my favorite days of the year because it is filled with people laughing together, enjoying each other’s company and celebrating a beautiful Colorado day. The beer in their hand is secondary to the good time they are having, as it should be. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it yet again, we make a simple beverage called beer – it is meant to bring you joy and nothing else. It is a privilege to have a job that is ultimately focused on bringing people joy and I thank you for allowing me to do that for the past 6 years and hopefully many more years to come.

The ugly side of business is that there is seemingly no end to disputes however big or small – funny story – my forklift was actually held for ransom at one point over the last year. I can tell you that story over a beer at the party. But disputes are just part the normal course of doing business in any industry. What irks me is that we seem to find endless ways to be rude or unkind to each other, not the least of which is snarky or obtuse comments on social media. Nothing is bigger black mark on the craft beer industry than the pointless bickering, belittling, boasting and berating that occurs in the name of craft beer. Social media didn’t exist when I got into beer. Hell, the internet still sounded like errrrr…bing bing….chchchchchch…clang clang (awesome dial-up impression I know) when I first got into craft. So I never really had the chance to argue with anybody on the internet over beer, I bet I would have been good at it. But that is beside the point, what I love about craft beer is community. It is a community that we work hard to foster at Renegade.

When I first moved to Colorado, my wife and I didn’t know many people. We made friends through our homebrew club and by visiting breweries. One of the first people I ever met at my homebrew club just bought the house across the street from me. Beer did that. We connected over beer, formed a friendship over beer and now we are neighbors. Beer was meant to bring us together, not pull us apart. Don’t get me wrong, the passion amazes me. It delights me. It impresses me. But we have to remember that beer is for joy. If you don’t like someone’s taste in beer, don’t worry, they won’t force you to drink their beer. If you think New England IPA is the bees knees and someone else thinks it’s too cloudy, cool – clink a cloudy glass against a filtered one and talk about something else – anything else – just don’t talk about social media.

A brewery anniversary party is an opportunity to celebrate yet another year of community. There will be opportunities to talk and laugh with real people. Please come and celebrate beer with us and all the wonderful things it does for our society.

Cheers and Thank You!