Why, oh, why do I feel the need to give a speech...
LEFT: Our first menu listing at Bailey’s Range.
Insight: Personal mission: operate one step outside of my comfort zone. So with opening a brewery, I took a major leap. Maybe not just one step but many steps outside of my comfort zone. I guess throughout the course of my life (all 38 years of it) I have been slowly changing. Initially I was an incredibly shy and reserved grade school student that absolutely feared speaking in public and being in large groups of people. Even feared asking a question in class. In high school it continued as I found I had an inherent fear of giving public speeches. Sometimes I think maybe there is something wrong with me by trying to operate one step outside of my comfort zone and sometimes I think maybe that’s what’s right with me. Maybe.
The following is the speech given at Bailey’s Range to kick off our distribution partnership with MoBev (I also gave a speech to MoBev at our first sales meeting kick off. When Dylan spoke after me, they asked him if he could talk in a funny voice as well.) The speech below was not without a few stumbles mostly because I finished writing it exactly 1 minute before I was in my car driving to the event.
And so it begins...
“First of all a special thanks to Bailey’s Range and Bridge and to my compadre in consumption, my friend, Dave Bailey for letting us have you and all of our friends here on this momentous occasion. Dave and I go way back to my time at 33 in Lafayette Square and Dave’s first business, the Chocolate Bar was started next door to mine several years after I opened. It was amazing how quickly I became known as the business next to the Chocolate Bar.
So! Here Ye, Here Ye, On this day, February 28 in the year 2012 with these beers on tap at Bailey’s range, I hereby declare the Civil Life which has been available on earth only at our humble Tower Grove South Brewery since September 2011 to be now available in the great city of St. Louis.
I like to think that each time I have a pint at a place like this I am investing in the place. That I am making a statement that money spent at a small business on a small local brewery is an investment in our city, in our state, in our own citizens as well as in our own liver. Range understands the power of Local. Missouri grass fed beef from cows that were born in Missouri, we don’t have some fancy out of state cow from New York or Los Angeles making our beef or making our milk, No these are born and raised Missouri Cows. And range serves local beers made by locals, owned by locals and served by locals. Now I may take issue with the eggs Dave serves as they are from Indiana but in the scheme of the world and the much greater universe, Indiana is at least mid-western. But these aren’t just Indiana chickens, these are free range Amish chickens and they live without tv’s and electric and especially cars. If it were up to these Free range chickens they and their Amish Chicken friends could freely could cross the road. If only we could get free range Amish chickens for free. But there is no place on earth that chickens are free, not even this great place on earth. Range doesn’t stop at their chickens they make their own ice cream, their own bread, their sauces and they even use local cane sugar soda on draft. But it doesn’t stop there either. You are sitting in the World Production Headquarters for the Chocolate Bar, for Range and for the Bridge. It just so happens that our world is Missouri. That our world is this great city and that Dave isn’t just making things here and running his businesses here. Through this fundraiser and through Dave’s business he is giving back to the community he and I were raised in. Dave told me a long time ago, 3 hours to be exact that these restaurants and my brewery are here because of the support of St. Louis and by opening our businesses here we are doing our best to love St. Louis back.
And today this first in a series of charity dinners is about giving back as well. St. Louis effort for Aids is a noble cause and it is a high honor to be here at a fundraiser for an organization that puts the citizens of St. Louis first. Their mission is local but their cause affects so many in our world. We can’t thank them enough for what they do.
Dave and I have become good friends over the years. And friends is what this place is all about. I have served him many a drink over the bar at 33 and now at the Civil Life. Community tables like true pubs are the great equalizer. The only place I know of that a truck driver can sit next to a CEO, where a laborer can sit next to a judge, where the mayor can sit next to a welder. Where kids can sit with their parents next to anybody. Community tables are where anybody becomes somebody. Community tables don’t care about your status or your pedigree they care about who you are. It doesn’t matter what you do or even if you cured Aids (but I sure would like to sit next to that person). I have met as many maybe more interesting welders as I have CEO’s. Community tables are the building blocks of friendships, the heart and soul of so many restaurants and bars throughout the world. They are making a solid comeback and for good reason. The reason is everyone has a story and the community table gives you the chance to hear one and the chance to be heard. It gives you the rare chance to share a drink with someone and to invest in a restorative pint for a friend.
The Civil Life story is simply that three friends opened a brewery. My friends, Dylan, Mike and I are the founders. I wish you could have been at 33 the day we hatched the idea one slow night. They are working at the pub tonight because we only have 5 employees and they all can’t leave at once. But without them I wouldn’t be here and I wouldn’t have opened a brewery. Without them I would still be traveling Europe, drinking at all of its great pubs, enjoying life like I never have before. Never mind that. We are the three muskateers, the three amigos, the three men with amply sized livers. I wish you could have been at the brewery the past year and a half as we worked together to make our little place in Tower Grove South a better place just as Dave and his amish Chickens are working to make this a better place. But Dave and I know one thing. We need talented people to bring these things to life. We need the support of our community and our friends and our employees.
The beers you see before you tonight are long time friends of mine as well.
My friends, the German Wheat, the American Brown and the British Bitter and I go back to our humble beginnings in the basement at Dylan’s house. The German Wheat was once a much lighter American Styled version but it needed something and we decided to tip its hat to Bavaria. The British Bitter was Mike’s idea. It’s a take on a standard English Pale with a nod to the great East Kent Goldings hops and a wink to the American Centennial hop. The American Brown is our breweries raison d’etre. It’s roots like ours are in American home brewing. Is that coffee or is it chocolate on the nose. It’s up to you to decide. Our Scottish friend sits in no mans land somewhere between a 90 shilling and a Wee heavy. But it stands like a proud scottish on its own. The Vienna is our friend that loves malt. It adores malt. Our Black Lager is an iron fist in a velvet glove and our dunkel is merely a cousin to our brown.
We, the Civil Life are a malt driven brewery. Our beers are about balance. They are about sitting down with friends. They are session beers that you can slip into. We are proud to make them and proud that you are drinking them. We want you to enjoy them at your favorite restaurant and bar when you are out celebrating and when you are sulking and all those places in between. In times of need, may you lean on these restorative pints and may you rejoice in them when things are going your way.
I leave you with a toast and a thanks to all of you who support your local restaurants and breweries.
To those that love us and to those that love those that love us.”
NOTE: We as a company do our best to give back to charity’s that are doing good works supporting our St. Louis community. I am sorry that we are unable to support all of them as we get on average 5 to 6 requests per week and are only able to donate to a very small portion of them due to financial constraints. I truly am sorry as we are unable to donate freely and appreciate your understanding.
BEFORE: Missouri Beverage picked up our beer. Happy face lots of beer.
AFTER: Missouri Beverage picked up our beer. Sad and happy to see it go.
So you need another reason to come down to the Civil Life.
So you need another reason to come down to the Civil Life. The what’s happening Calendar is your place to look. (CLICK ON THE LINK IN THE TOP MENU BAR!)
It will be filled with all those things that you want to know.
Things Like: 1. Civil Life events at bars/restaurants near you. 2. Civil Life events at the World (Earth) Headquarters of Civil Life located at 3714 Holt Ave in Tower Grove South. 3. Events that will make your life better: like a festival at the Civil Life (none yet planned) and our soon to be announced literary event coming this summer.
These will be the sort of events that the proverbial water cooler loves. You can say things like, “So I was down at the Civil Life and caught some live Music on Saturday. Totally cool, so rad too bad you didn’t know about it. There were like a thousand people there. Maybe next time, if I remember that is, I’ll let you know about it.”
At that point, it is my hope that if you said anything like that the water cooler somehow spontaneously combusts (which really isn’t possible) and blows you back into the Civil world.
A world in which, you at the water cooler say something like, “Hey what’s up, we should grab a pint sometime at the Civil Life. I think they have something going on soon.”
At which point the water cooler continues what it is supposed to be doing, cooling water.
Just in case you didn’t realize, there is an email link on our home page in the bottom left corner. From here to forth, all important announcements will go to those wise people that have signed up. I will then post the information here a day or two later. Cheers and thanks for reading.
March 3, coming to a bar near you, hopefully
To my fellow comrade in consumption,
It is with great pleasure that I finally make use of this ever growing email list. Surely, on a daily basis you awake from your night’s rest and head to your computer hoping that The Civil Life has a message waiting for you. But this unfortunately has not been the case and I apologize sincerely for any distress I have caused you over the last 5 months by not utilizing this list. But I do thank you for signing up for our list.
But let me say for the record. It was always on my mind. And as I posted on Twitter (every once in a while) and updated our Facebook page, there was always a part of me that wondered if you were being updated.
But I didn’t send word. And you waited. Hopefully, this lack of emails has not had you worrying about us. And most surely you waited while drinking a nice restorative tasty pint and surely you have been down to see that our humble pub is creating a nice foundation of ladies and chaps that find heading down to the pub as natural as putting on one’s shoes.
People are venturing into our pub for a varied number of reasons: Many arrive to be enveloped in the nice respite a pub offers, to revel in those good things that shuffle into and out of our lives, to plan, to discuss issues and without a doubt they arrive to enjoy a restorative pint poured by a few chaps who were born to pour beer. People come down to read the paper, read a book (we have 150 in our library), to play darts (2 dart boards), to play ring the bull (1 game), to play board games (too many here to list), to sit arm and arm in one of our Irish inspired snugs and catch up with old friends or explore new ones. They come down in good times and bad and they come here because hopefully they want as much as we want them to be a part of an old fashioned brewery raising.
After five months, I can honestly say it’s working. It can be rather slow at times and rather choppy at others. But we are pushing our best to improve every day the way we do business and I sincerely hope we are surpassing your expectations or at least meeting them. If by chance we aren’t, we are requesting at this time for you to lower your expectations. Or maybe just come in sit at the bar and engage a bartender in a traditional conversation. Hopefully, that will change your mind about us.
And that is what this is about. Public houses are putting up a valiant effort to protect the art of face to face verbal conversation in a world that is too often reduced to lit up screens and binary digits. But let’s put that phone to good use and the email you usually send to better use by including the common and rejoicing words, “How about grabbing a pint tonight?” You could also say something cordial with English undertones like, “Fancy a pint tonight?” Or maybe even take a more romantic approach, “A pint tonight fancies you?” I could go on and on, but the truth is you can ask a friend to head down a pub any way you like. I once used a carrier pigeon.* And my friend, Larry in college used to use smoke signals until he accidentally burned down his house.*
Now, what is all this talk about heading down to the pub. Well, it’s self serving, I suppose.
The Civil Life Brewing Company is proud to announce to you (IN THIS EMAIL FIRST...we’ll announce on facebook and twitter tomorrow but wanted our email list to know first) that we are partnering with MISSOURI BEVERAGE to begin distributing our beers in the St. Louis area. Over the course of the last several months and a few meetings with our friends at MISSOURI BEVERAGE (our local distributor) we have decided that partnering with them on this journey would be a great fit for our little brewery which hopes to eventually become a bigger little brewery. If we are lucky someday we are hoping to become a very tiny big brewery... that is if we are lucky.
So what does this mean to you?
It means beginning March 3, you will be able to head down to a pub (not all pubs) and get a pint of the Civil Life.
Hopefully, it will be your neighborhood pub as honestly neighborhood and pub go together like Batman and Robin.
What this means right now:
Over the next week and a half, I will be reaching out to the several thousand (read 20) restaurants and bars that have expressed interest in pouring the Civil Life. We will be posting on our blog updates along the way and thanking those restaurants and pubs that allow us the privilege of being poured in their establishments. Our greatest hope for our little brewery is over the next year to spend our resources and time supporting the restaurants and bars that pour our beers. Without them, our little brewery will simply become an out of business little brewery. And that would be bad, especially for Mike, Dylan and me.
We will be adding a link to our website with details on those pouring our beers and I hope when you are looking for a place to go out to eat you will find comfort in one of the fine establishments that gave us a chance. Maybe even say hello and thanks with us.
Cheers and my best to you. I assure you this email list will not fill your inbox with lots of email but it will always be the first place we announce big things about the Civil Life.
Here’s to hoping your pint is always full or at least readily refilled and that good things come your way. Start warm fuzzies now.
Captain of the Barley Ship
The Civil Life Brewing Company
* denotes a sentence that take a few liberties with factual information. Meaning. I once tried to get a parrot to say “Fancy a trip to the ole pub” *
Ring the bull!
Now playing, "Ring the Bull!"
This bar game was first made famous in an old English Pub by the name of “Ye olde Jerusalem” in Nottingham. Dylan found the game when we were researching other options for our newly formed dart area located in the Brewery. So we now have Ring the Bull and two games of darts. Darts has become wildly successful at the Civil Life.
I have become wildly addicted to Ring the Bull in just one day and highly recommend grabbing a pint at the Civil Life and playing.
This game involves a person (hopefully you but this person could also be other incredibly lucky people) holding a ring in their hand that is attached to a string and swinging that ring in order to catch it on the horn of the bull. Thus...wait for it... Ring the bull.
The bulls horns were a gift from our comrade in consumption~ Alex F. They were originally used as a practice set for a friend of his that was practicing his lassoing. At first, I thought, “This would be a great idea to have lassos at the bar.” Then I played several scenarios out in my overworked brain. This is what happens when you write an exorbitant check to an insurance company each and every month. And then all of a sudden you think, “Hey, maybe lassos aren’t such a good idea.”
So we’re sticking to rings and if you haven’t been down lately. It may be about time that you add some civility back into that ye olde life of yours.
Hello earthlings. I have been sent here to open a brewery. I hope you have time over the next year to check in from time to time and see our progress (or lack there of at times).
Morning beer delivery at Tynan’s Bridge House Bar in Kilkenny, Ireland.