May 21, 2022
Breweries love to talk about what they bring into the world. In other words, their beer. Breweries tend to talk less about what they leave behind. Their focus is on the next batch of beer, not the last one. In a lot of ways that makes perfect sense...but if you want to keep track of your business, your favorite brands, or the industry as a whole, a forward focus can also leave a blindspot. Breweries imprint upon the world with more than just their beer. They forge facilities with both equipment and character. They create all sorts of physical objects like tap handles, labels, cans and bottles, coasters, merch, and so on.They create terabytes of information: websites, graphics, brew logs, TikTok videos, and recipes to name a few. Even more gets created in their name by other entities, from government to Google. Most romantic of all these are the memories, relationships, ideas, and inspirations that breweries create. They both affect us individually and ripple out into communities. On and on it goes. A brewery's imprint today is expansive, it's redundant...and it's fleeting.Of all the stuff I just mentioned, very little of it is built to last.Beer gets consumed. Virtually all brewing facilities eventually close, even the wildly successful ones. Websites get taken down. Merch wears out or gets thrown out. Computer files get lost or deleted. And unless we record our memories somehow, they'll inevitably fade with us.
All this to say: as time passes for a brewery–or anything else in this world–what's known becomes limited to what's left. Imagine what gets lost in a year. Imagine what gets lost in a hundred.