If you’ve spent any time in the craft beer world or visited a craft brewery, chances are you’ve heard the story a few times. The challenges of getting started from nothing, growing pains, and competing with the big guys. It’s a story almost every craft brewery tells and one that has been told in countless books by craft brewers over the years.
While it’s interesting to hear the version each brewer has to tell, it can also get a bit old time after time. Tony Magee tells a different version of the classic craft brewer startup story in, So You Want to Start a Brewery?: The Lagunitas Story.Tony Magee is an interesting guy. The story of his brewery and their amazing growth is an interesting tale too. Many brewers share the same story about going from home brewer to pro, raising money, sourcing equipment, and growing pains along the way. The Lagunitas Story shares much more colorful versions of similar experiences. Tony gives a far more personal look at things like mortgaging his house to pay the bills, or even moving checks from bank to bank to make ends meet. And while you may have read the story of their Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale, this book gives a much more detailed recount of exactly what happened that day in 2005.
The tale of Lagunitas is a storied one and each of the beers they sell includes an interesting story upon it. So You Want to Start a Brewery? includes labels from many of their beers, along with backstories about a number of their brews. You also learn why they were inspired to create many of the beers we love today and some that are no longer in the rotation.
Every craft brewer has a unique story to tell. Some are far more interesting than others and some choose to detail it in more interesting ways. While the story of the American entrepreneur is generally a wonderful tale of overcoming big challenges to succeed, it can become a bit repetitive. Tony Magee kept things interesting with an angle not seeing in other craft beer books. If you want an inside look from one of the most unique brewers around, grab a beer and head to Amazon for a copy of So You Want to Start a Brewery?: The Lagunitas Story. As Lagunitas says, “Beer speaks, people mumble.”