Mar 18, 2023
At some point in your life, you’ve probably been told that you’re not supposed to talk about religion or politics in certain settings. Especially when you meet someone for the first time. In this episode, we’re breaking that rule. As much as it may be one, at least.
This conversation combines the secularness of beer with values of Judaism as our guest walks us through why this is a balance that will bring something new and exciting to the industry. Jesse Epstein is a rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion and the new owner of Shmaltz Brewing. The brand was founded in 1996, retired in 2021, and right at the end of 2022 came back to life after Epstein bought the rights to one of the longer-tenured craft beer brands in the country. While Judaism has always been a part of Shmaltz’ schtick, Epstein plans to deepen that connection even more through his own education and work and commitment to caring for others and social justice.
A homebrewer-turned-owner, Epstein is brand new to the professional world of beer, but his vision for what he wants Shmaltz to become is rooted in who he is, the values he’s learned from family and his synagogue, and an interest for exploring what a Jewish beer brand can accomplish in 2023 and beyond. His hope is that one pint at a time, he can provide a reason for drinkers to consider how they can be a part of repairing the world through human connection. Join me in getting to know Jesse over the first 15 minutes of our conversation, which will give lots of context for why religion and politics becomes center to the rest of what we talk about, and what he wants to do with beer.