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.
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.