Monday, June 20, 2011

Jared's going to work for Schlafly, and we're damned proud of him.

The Publican now steps aside as NABC's brewmaster, Jared Williamson, does the writing and tells you about love, serendipity, and his impending move to St. Louis. I still believe I should have held out for a Stephen Hale kilt to be named later ... but to be truthful, words fail me when it comes to thanking Jared and wishing him the best at Schlafly. We're sending a brewer out into the world!

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Love and Serendipity

Where do I begin … let’s go back a few years.

At some point in the spring of 2005, when it became known that NABC’s original brewer Michael Borchers would be leaving, I turned to the now Brewery Representative/sales guru Richard Atnip, who then was a server and myself a kitchen worker/guest beer grunt, and said these now fabled words: “We should take over the brewery.”

Since then, well, a lot of serendipitous things have happened. Six years later, NABC has grown from two fermenters and a few house beers on tap amongst our world renowned beer bar, using online clip art for our signs, to a two brewery regional power, featuring one of the best graphic artists in the business, with a new bottling program primed to take serious flight. The journey has been arduous and exhilarating; wrought with discoveries, defeats, and triumphs. I could write many pages detailing the journey, but this letter has a different purpose.

In 2008, NABC was invited to attend and pour our beers at Schlafly’s Repeal of Prohibition festival, where each year they invite breweries from a different state to attend. Our salesman at that time, John Campbell, had previously worked for Schlafly and due to this connection, NABC was one of the four Indiana breweries invited. We traveled to St Louis and did what we normally do: Pour samples of our awesome beers, sell some t-shirts, educate people about NABC, and wow the taste buds. But something else happened that weekend that I was not planning on, and that is how serendipity works.

The stars aligned that weekend and I met the love of my life, Kelsey, and my life hasn’t been the same since. It’s taken several years for us to sort out the details, but ultimately we have worked towards both of us being together, living and working happily in the same community. And that my friends, is the reason for this letter:

I am leaving my post as NABC Brewmaster and joining the team of brewers at Schlafly in July.

Over the last few years, St Louis has been my second home and now it will simply be home. I am struggling to find the words to properly convey my emotions but the simple truth is the timing and opportunity are here, and I need to embrace this next phase of my life.

I cannot thank Amy, Kate and Roger enough for the opportunity they gave me years ago and I hope their trust has been repaid through my work for the company. I love The New Albanian Brewing Company, without them who knows what I would be doing today. A huge part of my soul, creativity and determination will always be with NABC, and I will keep a keen eye on all things NABC from St Louis. I hope to one day see our 22oz bombers on shelves there, and will probably weep with joy if and when I see them.

I want to thank all the current and former employees of the company, and those we have lost way too young, who all have played a role in some way in my life. You guys are dear to me and I will miss seeing you, laughing with you, and raising pints with you. I want to thank our loyal customers, without your contributions none of this would have been possible. I have proudly brewed for all of you these years and in turn all of you have graciously lifted me up.

I am so proud of how far we have come as a company, and so excited for the future of NABC. It’s as strong a company as it has ever been and this next phase of growth will see NABC up the revolution to heights that just a few years back seemed like a dream. David Pierce and the rest of the brewery team are poised for fantastic growth at Bank Street, and some lucky brewer will get to take the post at our R&D brewery and live the dream that I have, and will always cherish. I will proudly trumpet the name and beers of NABC where ever I roam, and am proud to be the first NABC brewer to move on to continue my brewing career.

I hope to visit often, and those of you that know me well, know that I am a road warrior. The four hour drive from STL to NABC is quite easy, and I know the way all too well. I also hope to come back and guest brew here again when the timing is right, and will be back often to see so many of my friends and family that live here as well. I was not born in Indiana – Iowa, for those who wonder – but I have spent the majority of my life here and my roots are deep. I haven’t even touched on my music roots here, and honestly, that is a book unto itself.

So you see, my tale is full of love and serendipity, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. My becoming a brewer was serendipitous, and my love for brewing continues to grow as the years pass by. My meeting Kelsey was serendipitous due to my love of brewing, and now it is time to start the next chapter in this journey we call life. I could ramble on for hours, perhaps days, about how everything has lead to this moment. But instead I will finish with this quote from a good friend of mine:

“Parting is sweet sorrow, and the battle rages on”

Cheers

Jared Williamson

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Final note: Stay tuned for more about how we're going to fill the position. Notice I didn't use the word "replace," because that simply isn't possible.

5 comments:

Bob Ostrander said...

Congratulations on getting together. Your tale so far is the start of a great story.

ybrdnw said...

Sorry to hear of ur leaving but happy and excited to hear of your next opportunity. I know you'll make the most of it. I won't say goodbye because that sounds permanent and I know that our paths will continue to cross old friend.

Best wishes,
Jimmy Mann

Rick500 said...

I'll see you Thursday, my friend, and at intervals after, I'm sure.

Gina said...

Good Luck to you, Jared. I would say that we will miss you, but I am certain (and hopeful) that our paths will cross often!

Congratulations!

StevieD said...

Bittersweet is about all I can say, brother. Congratulations and good luck.