Thursday, April 17, 2008

Cumberland Brews without Matt Gould?

Word began making the rounds on Tuesday night, and it was as bizarre as anything I can remember from 16 years of tumultuous Louisville microbrewing history. Matt Gould, brewer at Cumberland Brews since its inception in 2000, is out of a job. Apparently, he was terminated.

At times like this, which hat does one wear, and do so conscientiously?

I’m a blogger and sometimes beer authority, and this definitely is news.

I’m Matt’s friend, and this is a tragic occurrence.

I’m a business/brewery owner, and this is something that conventional wisdom suggests is none of my business … an “internal matter,” or something evasive like that.

I also confess to being somewhat of an unreconstructed socialist at times, and for me, the labor theory of value still has meaning. The cult of the coach in college basketball is an abomination, because no one – no one – has yet to purchase tickets to see Rick Pitino coach. Rather, the fans pay to watch the University of Louisville’s players play basketball.

In like fashion, it seems to me that a local craft brewery is all about the brewer. As an owner, I have a part to play, and pitch to make, but I never take credit for the house-brewed beer at NABC. No one has yet paid to watch me own. They pay for Jesse’s and Jared’s beers, and my job is to provide an overall structure for them to create and for their creation to be (a) enjoyed, and (b) something that pays for itself and makes a few bucks or profit to boot so that we can perpetuate the fun.

Certainly there are boundaries and guidelines, but this fact doesn’t change the fundamental equation.

Matt, good luck … and know that you’re much loved around these parts. If I could snap my fingers and hire you now, I would. Perhaps my ownership hat precludes voicing these sentiments, but I don’t think so. The human concerns of your friends comes first … doesn’t it?


Aaron said...

This is incredibly disappointing news. I was just over there last night enjoying a cream ale and a yer beer.

It will be interesting to see what happens with their lineup and their quality over the next few months.

-Aaron Thomas

Kelly said...

Well it has been almost a year since this fateful news.

I was a rabid fan of Cumby beer, and have always admired Matt for his friendship and craft of beer.

And today, a look inside Cumberland on a Friday or Sunday evening tells a good story. Sure it is crowded. But many of the other rabid regulars, such as myself, have taken their taste buds somewhere else of enjoy a real good beer. Concerns have also been expressed about suspect quality of menu foods.

And as final proof, on a recent visit my favorite waitress encouraged me to try again the pale ale. She said, "it is good today". No other brewery in the world needs it's staff to thumbs-up or thumbs-down a regular beer item.

For Shame.

-Kelly Flannery