7th community blog

almighty adventure photo contest 8/1 – 8/31

7th Settlement Brewery

Celebrate the rest of summer with a cold can of 1623 Almighty Brown Ale in your hand! Show us how you’re enjoying the sunshine, heat, and rich brown ale with a stunning photo!

Take the most awesome photo you can with/of a can of 1623 Almighty Brown Ale and win a $50 7th Settlement Brewery gift card!

To enter, take a photo with/of a can of 1623 Almighty Brown Ale and post it to the 7th Settlement Brewery Facebook Page and/or Instagram account (@7thsettlement). Tag 7th Settlement Brewery in the photo, mention or tag where you purchased your 1623 Almighty Brown Ale 4-pack, and use the hashtag #dontbuybeerfromstrangers. Photos will be judged on creativity, location, uniqueness, awesomeness, other equally vague and/or strange metrics, and embodying the 7th community. One entry per person. Must be 21 years of age or older to win.

Deadline for final submissions is 11:59 PM on August 31st.

Beyond Hospitality Included

7th Settlement Brewery no tipping

by David Boynton

Hospitality included: The word is out and 7th Settlement Brewery is preparing to go tip-free. But this change means so many things for the people and businesses in our community. Transitioning away from a long-held tradition (however backwards) is no easy task. So let this piece serve as a tool for you. A tool to measure your own beliefs, ideas, and ideals. Perhaps we will come to better understanding. Perhaps you will find the right words to express the concerns you have or the questions that make you doubt. You’ve read articles on NHPR, Fosters, and more – but this is the inside scoop. This is the full version.

Before we get started there are a few points to address. The opinions expressed in this piece are that of the writer (David Boynton, Owner) and may not necessarily reflect the opinions of the entire company.

In addition, I’d also like to recognize that the model for hospitality included we will be utilizing will inevitably change for us. Hospitality Included is not a science. So like all things we do, we will strive to adapt. Additionally, our hospitality included model could look very different for other businesses that are willing to try it. My thoughts and ideas are based in my experience at our brewpub. We are a small craft brewery and farm to table restaurant with full off-site catering and 40-50 employees.

Finally, I’m passionate about this topic because I care about my employees and community and, at times, I know it can seem as if I am pushing my agenda. I want to be clear that I’m not asking anyone to do this that doesn’t want to. I hope we can lead this cultural change through personal and organizational role modeling. Hopefully you can grab a beer and enjoy thinking about this. Or, more importantly, grab a beer with a friend and discuss hospitality included. Now, let’s get started!

Our lives inform our values.

At 7th Settlement Brewery, we are doing our best to lead the business with our values and the values that we think best reflect those of the community. Some of our decisions to align our actions with these values cause changes that are complex and sometimes difficult to understand. So, in light of our decision to move to hospitality included, I would like to explain how we came to this very difficult and seemingly controversial decision.

I grew up on a farm in a small community in northern New Hampshire and during the summer I would go to work with my grandfather or my father. They would put me and my brother to work and we would watch them manage their organizations. The lesson was that if you care for your employees and you work hard, they will care about your business and work hard in turn. I have carried this lesson with me through my past business ventures and now at 7th Settlement Brewery.

While earning my MBA in Organizational and Environmental Sustainability, I began to focus my skills and knowledge on how to best run a triple-bottom line organization where we recognize that a resilient business cannot just be financially profitable; a resilient business needs to take care of our community and our natural resources. As a business, we need to look at a bigger picture with consequences beyond a weekly cash flow and impacts greater than our own paycheck.

Seacoast Local, a non-profit building a local living economy, is a network of hard working small business owners. While Director, I learned a great deal about our community’s economy and how every dollar we can keep from being extracted out of the region turns into two to three times the local economic activity. This understanding built the foundation of the values that we wanted to lead 7th Settlement Brewery with when we opened in 2013.

My business partner Josh Henry and I had essentially zero restaurant experience before we opened 7th Settlement Brewery. Most people thought we were crazy, and we may have been, but we worked endlessly to shorten the learning curve. We hired the best people we could find. We made hundreds of mistakes. We focused on our strengths and led with our values.

Our strengths were building a culture that cared about its community. We created a culture of fun balanced with professionalism and a culture where everyone was not only willing to pitch in, but to learn and be open to doing things differently. If we can’t do it right, or at least move every day in the right direction, then it is not worth doing.

After many successes such as a Gold Medal at the Great American Beer Festival (the largest beer competition in the world) and the Small Business of the Year award from the Dover Chamber of Commerce in 2016 and many challenges such as starting out under-capitalized by $200k, we find ourselves at another crossroads. A decision we must make for our values. Hospitality included.

Almost two years ago, one of my servers sent me a link for a podcast on eschewing tips and it piqued my interest. By the end of the 45-minute podcast (Freakonomics featuring Restauranteur Danny Meyer) I knew we would eventually have to transition to this method. Danny Meyer’s book Setting the Table helped me define my management style while opening 7th Settlement Brewery by focusing on our employees first. This was already the style I had inherently used in other businesses, but I needed the help transferring that style to restaurants. Hearing the risk that Danny Meyer took at his restaurants to lead with his values instilled a hope that we could do the same at 7th Settlement Brewery.

Our lives inform our values. And our values cannot be compromised. Hospitality included is not a choice for 7th – it is the natural path of our values.

To truly understand what, for me, became the unbearable truths about the tipping industry, we must be willing to look at a much bigger picture.

The bigger picture.

Beyond the storm of conversation online discussing pay, service, and menu pricing is the bigger picture of hospitality included. The why of the thing is what drives us. We are not exploring the possibilities of hospitality included for kicks, giggles, or profit. We do it because it is the right thing to do for our employees and community.

There is enormous inequity in pay between the servers and the kitchen staff.
Kitchen staff who have culinary school debt can barely make a livable wage because of the industry standard. On a busy night, the servers and bartenders get rewarded for their extra work while the cooks and managers get the same pay as if it was slow and easy.

Tipping promotes discrimination and harassment.
Even if it is subconscious, a server may give more attention to a predictable good tipper such as four people in business attire versus a family of four. It is not fair. When the customer is asked to pay the wages of our employees, it puts that customer in a position of power. This can unfold all too often as sexual harassment or other forms of unfair treatment.

Tipping has an ugly history rooted in classism and racism.
William Scott in 1916 said, “In the American democracy to be servile is incompatible with citizenship. Every tip given in the United States is a blow at our experiment in democracy. The custom announces to the world…that we do not believe practically that ‘all men are created equal.’ Unless a waiter can be a gentleman, democracy is a failure. If any form of service is menial, democracy is a failure. Those Americans who dislike self-respect in servants are undesirable citizens; they belong in an aristocracy.”

Tipping as a general practice only became the norm shortly after the abolishing of slavery because employers didn’t like having to pay wages to newly freed African-Americans. Tipping is just an antiquated cultural norm in the United States. It is unfortunate that it is so ingrained in our culture that it is very difficult to move away from. Fortunately, we have learned a lot from the social movements of the past. In fact, the first women’s labor strike in the United States happened right here in the historic mill where our brewpub is.

We need to disrupt the norm and start the conversation. We need to work hard to show that it can work and we need to have patience and recognize how our people, our business, and our community can change faster than our industry or our country.

Tipping has very little if any influence on the quality of service.
Quality of service only improves with effective feedback, training, and motivation. There are dichotomies created that make the practice of tipping ineffective for improving service. The first is that people have some opposing opinions on tipping. Some tip no matter what because they feel responsible for the server’s paycheck regardless of the service, or they may drop their percentage by a menial amount. The opposite customer lowers their tip because of poor service, slow service, poor food quality, or maybe just because they can only afford to tip 15% and tipping is a choice anyway, right? At the end of the evening, there is no actionable feedback for our managers to use for training or improvement. No server or bartender is ever trying to provide poor service; in fact, a lot of their service is dependent on many things outside of their control.

Earning tips is the source of motivation is only half the truth.
Let’s be honest, it is not tips that staff want to earn, it is money. Everyone wants to be paid well for their hard work. When I teach at the UNH Paul College of Business, the first management lesson covered is participative management. That is because case study after case study and thousands of management books on running a successful company teach us that it is not all about the money. At some point when you are earning what you feel is fair or even great, what motivates performance? Participative management suggests we take extrinsic motivations (wages, paid time off, health benefits, bonuses, commissions, etc.) off the table. We do that by paying people fairly and by providing benefits that support a good life-work balance such as health benefits and paid time off. Once extrinsic motivations are met, we can build our companies from good to great with intrinsic motivations (autonomy, mastery, and purpose). Good employees that are compensated commensurately with their jobs excel in a work culture that allows them to problem solve on their own, improve and learn new skills, and be part of a mission and team that is bigger than themselves. Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose.

No one likes losing control.
Even if that control is just perceived control and we may think when we go out to a restaurant that the tip we are withholding until the end of our experience is somehow guaranteeing or incentive good service. The implication here is that our servers and bartenders are inherently lazy and need this motivation to do their job well. Almost every other career in the world people perform well or not regardless of their wages being paid directly by the end user. Of course, employees need to be paid well for their work but the business as professionals in their industry are typically the ones deciding to pay their employees fairly, not the customer of that business. Imagine if we decided as a customer how much our dentist made after each visit? If this example seems ridiculous, you are right. But it is just as ridiculous in the hospitality industry. If you don’t work in hospitality, imagine your paycheck changing not just every week but every night.

We must change more than our tipping policy to make this work.
Of course, we need to raise our menu prices. That being said, the guest can only tolerate so much and should only have to tolerate menu prices being raised so that their bill at the end of a meal is similar to a bill with prior menu prices and an average tip. However, this does not cover the difference required to increase kitchen and management wages.

I would like to share some insights into how we have already started this process. It has required a lot of hard work from everyone here and deliberately changing our business model to do it differently than most. The only reason we think it is a better way is because it reflects our values and it may not be for every restaurant. We have already moved all but a couple of our kitchen employees to full time hourly positions with earned paid time off and health benefit options. Yes, this includes our dishwashers and prep cooks. One outcome of this move is less turnover because people have a better balance in work and life. The other outcome is that staff have predictable pay and, usually, predictable schedules. In addition, they have clear expectations of the skills they need to acquire to get to the next level of pay.

Another way we have changed our business is by focusing on local scratch cooking. When I say scratch, I mean our team makes everything from scratch except for a few items on our menu (tortillas, local veggie burgers, and some of the pasta to be exact). Everything else, from our own baked buns, breads, and pastries to our ketchup and other condiments, are done right on site. We butcher most of our own meat, cut whole fish, and even make our own infusions, bitters, and syrups at the bar.

Two major outcomes of this have moved us toward our goal. The first is that 7th Settlement has a fun kitchen to work and learn in for those who are passionate about food, which once again minimizes turnover. The second is that we move money from outside our regions (the vendors and producers that would otherwise prepare this food) into our own organization and community. We can employ more people doing more work and have a superior product and product control.

We source most of our menu from local farmers and fishermen. For everything else we use local distributors like Favorite Foods. Most people would think that locally sourcing costs more. At first glance, this is superficially true. But again, we must take the long view. For instance, the spent grain from our brewing process goes out to Jack Clarke’s farm. In turn, he gives us a reasonable price on the cow we get in. Because we are getting the cow into the kitchen in four large parts all at the same pound price, we immediately get a price advantage. Even though we are paying our employees to butcher the cow, the prime cuts cost the same as the ground from an ingredients perspective, but just about the same if you include labor compared to buying those prime cuts pre-cut and packaged. The bonus is that we get to pay our employees that money instead of a company in the midwest sending us frozen cuts of meat. Better product, better job, better pay.

We pay more for local produce, but, we correlate our menu planning with our farmer’s crop planning and can guarantee buying that creates efficiencies for the farmer in which they can pass on to us in the form of better pricing while they are still paid fairly for their superior product.

A major cost for any restaurant is turnover.
A new employee has lots of costs associated including advertising for the job, manager time in interviews, bookkeeping and human resource costs for on-boarding, training costs, and efficiency costs as that new employee learns the skills and methods necessary to be efficient in their job. The more we make respectable careers for the front of house and back of house the more efficient our payroll becomes.

Working in hospitality is a respectable career.
Respectable careers pay people fairly and commensurately. They allow for paid time off with family and friends. Front of house employees are typically transient because the industry and our social culture does not respect them. It is seen as a younger person’s part time job. I’m not saying it cannot be a rewarding part time job, but there is ample opportunity for a fulfilling career without moving into management. The back of house is more career oriented, but the burnout is incredible. These cooks work unbelievably hard and are not paid fairly for that work. Frankly, it must change. But we have to start somewhere and make a model that works for that change.

I do not think anyone is arguing that all employees should be paid well but the question is how? We cannot take it out of the pockets of the servers; we have to change the model. Hospitality included is just a piece of the puzzle that creates predictability and resiliency in the business. With more consistency, there are more efficiencies which lead to better financial management and that benefit can be passed along in real ways to our employees, like in our profit share program. Our profit share program incentivizes the overall success of the organization and helps employees think beyond themselves and more about the entire community of guests, co-workers, farmers, other vendors, and partner organizations. It’s about changing our mindset.

Stay tuned for another article with more details on the economics, actual pay scale models, and updates!

If you have any questions, concerns, comments, or just want to chat about hospitality included, please contact outreach@7thsettlement.com

10 Must Stock Bottles for the Perfect Home Bar

home bar liquor

10 Essential Bottles For Your Home Bar

For many, having a well-stocked home bar is a badge of honor. The liquor you serve can say a lot about you. And sure, some may call it a frivolous affectation. But for those who care, a perfect home bar is something to be strived for – something in which to relish. And so, since we believe a bar can make a house a home, here is our take on the perfect home bar.

I asked our bar manager here at 7th Settlement Brewery, “Jeff, name me the top ten must-stock bottles in a home bar.” Jeff thought for a moment and said, “Well my taste won’t be perfect for everyone.” Jeff is so thoughtful. But I reassured him, “Jeff,” I said again, “you’ve been at this a long while now. You’ve got excellent taste in liquor, just have at it!” And so Jeff thought another moment, blushed a little, and offered something more or less, exactly like this:

1 – Bulliet Rye
Let’s start with the old reliable – whiskey. A good rye whiskey can be mixed with just about anything to create an excellent cocktail. Come to think of it, the right rye is perfect on the rocks or neat. Overall, rye whiskey should be smooth but have a little bitterness. My personal favorite is Bulliet Rye with a dash of Angostura Bitters and a dash of Orange Bitters, on the rocks. Or you can mix Bulliet Rye like we do at 7th Settlement Brewery…continue reading for our Perfect Rye Manhattan recipe.

2 – Buffalo Trace Bourbon
Next up, bourbon. Everyone knows that bourbon is necessary for a good Manhattan or Old Fashioned. However, bourbon is also the key ingredient in the modern day Side Car, the Mint Julep and countless other concoctions. For me, Buffalo Trace is the best bang for your buck and definitely worth always keeping a bottle on hand.

3 – Carpano Antica Formula (Sweet Vermouth)
Don’t forget the vermouth! There seems to be a trend in many bars that vermouth can be done cheaply. Please don’t buy into this. There are incredibly well-crafted vermouths out there and they can make or break a cocktail. Carpano Antica Formula makes my personal favorite Manhattan: 2 parts Buffalo Trace Bourbon, 1 part Carpano, 1 dash Angostura Bitters, served chilled in a coupe or cocktail glass with an orange zest as a garnish zest. How about that, you get an extra drink recipe for free – enjoy that!

4 – Dolin Dry Vermouth
You can’t get away with just sweet vermouth. Dry vermouth is just as important – a staple, in fact, of your home bar. Dry vermouth is key not only for making great Martinis but for the Perfect Rye Manhattan I keep going on about. Keep reading for the recipe! Dolin Dry Vermouth also mixes well with blackberry liqueurs or with crème de cassis, a black currant liqueur.

5 – Flag Hill Karner Blue Gin
Everyone needs a bottle of gin. But a clean, sharp and herbal gin can be a difficult thing to come by. We in New Hampshire are exceptionally fortunate to have Flag Hill so close by (Lee, NH). A good gin can be mixed with almost anything. And a great gin can be sipped on the rocks. Karner Blue fits both bills. There are fewer beautiful combinations in the spirit world as Gin and Dry Vermouth, but a little St Germain does incredible things to Karner Blue Gin. Karner Blue also makes a great Bloody Mary. 

5.5 – St Germain
OK, so I cheated a little with the decimals…but gin just gets lonely without its partner in crime, St Germain. I’ll keep this one brief: St Germain is a great flavor to add to martinis, margaritas or whatever you create. There. Onto number six.

6 – MaCallan 12 Year Single Malt Scotch
This is probably the hardest bottle to suggest. I lost a lot of sleep trying to make a decision and almost left it out entirely. But eventually, my sense of duty took over. You’ve read this far and you deserve a suggestion. See, Scotch taste is all over the map depending on how smokey or peaty you like it. So, in the end, you may have to try a few before you find the right scotch. In my opinion, the best entry level crowd pleaser is MaCallan 12 Year Single Malt Scotch.

7 – Don Julio Blanco Tequila
Tequila can be a daunting decision to the home bartender. Get it right and you’re a hero. Get it wrong and you’re back in college. Fear not, you can’t go wrong with Don Julio Blanco. Don Julio is a great addition to any home bar. It makes a nice, clean margarita (only fresh squeezed lime juice, of course) and a refreshing paloma. Margaritas are also a great way to try out some infused simple syrups or to use your favorite cordials with.

8 – Cointreau
Gin is to St Germain as tequila is to Cointreau, kindred spirits if you will. Cointreau is an orange flavored liqueur that is perfect for many cocktails and a necessity for any margarita or sidecar.

9 – Titos Vodka
It’s tough to make a good Bloody Mary without a good vodka but Titos is also a crowd pleaser for Vodka Tonics and makes a nice vodka martini.

10 – Tall Ship Spiced Rum
You’ll want to keep a good spiced rum available for your rum and cokes but this New Hampshire-local gem works great with root beer or egg nog for the holidays.

And now, the moment you’ve all been reading for. Jeff’s super secret recipe for The Perfect Rye Manhattan:

2 oz Bulleit Rye Whiskey
½ oz Dolin Dry Vermouth
½ oz Carpano Antica Formula
Dash Angostura Bitters
Serve ‘up’ in a cocktail glass or on the rocks. Never shake a Manhattan, but stir it for a good 30 seconds to 1 minute to add appropriate amounts of ice cold water to your cocktail. A good Manhattan should be ice cold and go down smooth.

There you have it, folks. The 10 (and a half) essential bottles for your home bar. Here’s to many fine drink and even more impressed guests.

And remember, don’t buy beer from strangers.don't buy beer from strangers. (tm)

Farm-to-Table Restaurants: Good for Ground, Town and Diet

With the prevalence of GMOs, super large-scale farming and the complete inundation of herbicides and pesticides, mindful diners and restauranteurs alike are taking good food into their own hands. After its conception on the west coast in the early 1970s, the rapidly growing farm-to-table movement is the answer to a slew of dining disconnects and adulteration — but it has even larger implications beyond simply healthy, local food. A farm-to-table restaurant is more than an eatery — in the communities to which they belong, farm-to-table restaurants are hubs of sustainability, education, cooperation, and growth. Farm-to-table restaurants are (and should be) job-creators, schools of thought-in-practice and a driving force for super-farm independence. In short, a farm-to-table restaurant is the best thing that could happen to a town.

Good Food

This one is obvious. Done well, your local farm-to-table restaurant should be the best place in town. But that’s not so hard to do. Michelangelo had the Sistine Chapel to work with — of course it was going to be amazing. A restaurant that uses local, farm-fresh food is set up for success simply by the ingredients it uses. Pair that with a talented kitchen, efficient and knowledgable wait and bar staff, and a smart menu and you’ve got yourself a hit.

Farm-to-table restaurants, by their nature are strong contenders among other restaurants. But there is far more to a successful locally-sourced eatery than good food. A talented kitchen furthers its home-grown tendencies by making things in-house. This can include anything from baking bread, making pasta and sausage, butchering and curing meat and brewing their own beer. Menus change with the seasons — offering strong vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options. And they are safe havens for those looking for the full gastronomical spectrum: gourmet meals, home cooked favorites, fresh seafood, big burgers and diverse salads — all local, of course.

Although farm-to-table restaurants rely on the diversity of its crops, community members, farmers and businesses, the main goal is food insolation. There should be a sense of pride attach to owning and patronizing a farm-to-table restaurant. And rightly so. But done right, your farm-to-table restaurant should also be affordable. Sure, you will pay for what you get — hand-crafted, local, healthy food — but in-house production with a no-waste mindset can really cut costs. Farm-to-table does not have to be expensive. After all, the point is not to create a luxury — the point is to establish healthy exclusivity from large-scale food producers. Farm-to-table restaurants exist to bring people closer to their food and the place in which it grows — charging an arm and a leg would only be counter-productive. And any money spent goes directly back into the community from which it came. Economic insolation and exclusivity is the best thing for a small economy. But farm-to-table restaurants aren’t just resources for local food. A true locally-based establishment will cull from all of the resources at its disposal.

Good Business

This characteristic is one that is both simple and complex. Simple because it is a two-way relationship between local businesses — nothing confusing about that. And complex because the possibilities are endless. There are resources beyond what comes from the ground. And the farm-to-table ideals realize and take advantage of this. Businesses and non-profits, especially small ones, offer services and products that, too, keep money in the community. Your farm-to-table restaurant can offer discounts for employees of these businesses, trade services and products, and function as mutual advertisers.

Healthy Education

Education is the difference between a good farm-to-table model and a great one. It’s one thing to provide local food but it’s something else entirely to teach folks where specifically it comes from, how they can provide for themselves, and that they don’t have to spend a fortune on it. Like local business resourcing, the education applications are also limitless. Farm-to-table restaurants can offer classes in cooking and gardening, access to community gardens and farm involvement, healthy eating ideas and ways to mindfully reduce ecological footprints.

Go Eat Well

If you have a farm-to-table restaurant in your town, support it! You won’t regret it. And if you’re looking for one, check out Dover, NH’s newest farm-to-table brewpub, 7th Settlement. They’re exactly what a farm-to-table restaurant should be.

7 Questions You Should Ask Your Beer

How much do you really know about the beer you drink? And why does it really matter? Probably a little and a lot, respectively. Mindful consumption, while on the rise, is far too low. The question at hand is not the why of it — knowing the ins and outs of the beer you buy and drink is always a good thing. The questions is what. What should you be asking and what should you know? Here are 7 questions you should ask your beer. Remember, only you can answer these questions. They type of beer you choose to drink is shaped by your opinion of it. And as long as you enjoy it, that’s all that matters.  So grab a cold one by the neck and start the interrogation. If you’re not happy with its answers, don’t drink it.

Who made you?

And not just the brewer’s name. What kind of person are they? What do they drink? Where did they learn to brew? Brewers express themselves with the beer they brew. It says something about them as a person. It all seems a bit heady, sure. But in buying a beer, you’re supporting a person. Wouldn’t you like to know who you’re supporting?

While this question is a hard one to answer (especially with all the macro-brews out there) it is not impossible. Simply explore the beer around you. Small craft breweries are on the rise and chances are that wherever you are passionate people are pouring local brews. So take a trip, take a tour, try their food, and talk to the people closest to the process. Chances are you’ll find out some amazing things and learn further what you want from a beer.

How are you made?

Do you know what’s in your beer? Hops, malt, all that good stuff, sure. But what kinds of hops and malt? How are they used? How many types are used? How big are the batches and for how long do they ferment and condition? Maybe this information seems a little dry to the casual beer drinker. But knowing about the brewing process and how to identify and describe tastes and characteristics only refines your palate. If you can get past the heady language of mouthfeel, body, aroma and the like you will see what that knowledge does. It changes the way you experience a beer which, in the end, makes the experience leagues more enjoyable.

When were you made?

Go ahead, take a quick break from reading and do a little research on the staple macro brews. Alright, are you back? Chances are you didn’t find a drop of information about when their beer was brewed. With such large-quantity batches and wide distribution, the when of any given beer is a complete mystery. Canning and bottling technology allows for un-chilled beers to last for half a year. If there is an appeal to six-month-old beer, that too is some sort of amazing mystery.

Any craft brewery will be able to give you a brew date. They can probably give you the last half dozen dates. Even when they first brewed a beer. And you can be sure none of that fine beer is six months old. Craft and micro breweries either bottle, keg or can on-site or serve straight from their serving tanks. Or both, depending on their size.

The gist is, you like your food fresh, your laundry fresh, you like fresh air and fresh feelings — why compromise on the beer you drink?

Where were you made?

This one’s the easiest. But it’s also the most important. There are breweries far and wide, around the world, and they’re not all careless macro breweries. And while you should experience the breweries beyond your boarders, patronizing local brew makers is good for your palate and your economy. Insulating dollars spent directly benefits the businesses and people around you. It creates less reliance on economically and ecologically expensive transportation. So, keep it local — you’ll really be helping yourself.

Why were you made?

Was your beer crafted from a family legacy? Was it a whim gone big or the passion of a craftsmen come to fruition? Does the brewer do it for the money or the love of the beer? Are they committed to keeping brewing traditions alive or constantly pushing for novel recipes, tastes and techniques?

It all comes down to your particular preference. But mindful patronage, in the end, really benefits the one person who matters most, you! Spend your money, tell your friends, and your favorite brewery will have the support it needs to brew more and better beer.

Whom were you made for?

Admittedly this one is on the hokey sentimental side, but if you’ve never thought about it, it may change your mind about the beer you drink. Who your beer is made for says a lot about the beer.

Your local craft brewery will make exciting, adventurous beers like you’ve never tasted. And the macro breweries, making beer for the masses will produce something that never changes and never surprises.

So, what do you want out of your beer? What do you know about it? Explore a bit deeper and you may find a new favorite.