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Good Beer Hunting

Jul 11, 2020

Today’s guest, Joey Redner, is special to me on a variety of levels. He’s a brewery founder I’ve long admired, having started and grown Cigar City Brewing into one of the strongest brands of the second wave of craft brewing—and having done so with very little experience. Instead, he used his instincts as a writer to navigate the business from a journalist’s perspective before he ever invested in concrete and steel.

Something about that background always seemed to express itself in a worldview that I found quite rare within the world of craft brewing—and which has proven effective in unique ways. Joey always seems to be an active observer—forever a note-taker and learner—and constantly sizes up people, opportunities, and the direction the narrative is going next.

I first met him on a white-water raft going down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon along with a host of other brewery owners. That trip was part of the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp bus tour, which went cross-country from Chico to Asheville in 2014.

From those wild times to more practical endeavors—like working alongside the strategy and marketing teams in Florida as they launched Cigar City Lager, or scaling up toward an eventual acquisition and alignment with the CANarchy group—all have contributed to my respect and admiration for Joey and his leadership.

But we’ve never sat down to record.

So why now? Well, in addition to being curious about the implications of his strategic alignment with CANarchy, and its unique resilience during the pandemic, I also recently learned that Joey had once suffered from a life-threatening coronavirus infection himself—years ago before anyone had really heard of it. And that experience, as scary and severe as it was, has given him a very unique vantage point for the social, cultural, and political environment we’re all finding our way through right now—because for him, none of those factors existed. There were no anti-maskers or shutdowns or government stimulus and temporary alcohol laws we all associate with the virus now. For him it was radically simple—it was life or death.

This is Joey Redner of Cigar City Brewing and CANarchy. Listen in.