We’ve got what I consider a bucket-list interview today. In the past, I’ve been thrilled to sit down with people like Sam Calagione, Lauren Salazar, Jim Koch, Garrett Oliver, Bill Covaleski, and others who were so fundamental to the world of beer that we enjoy now with all its diversity, innovation, and re-invention of the model. These are people who made it all happen by practically rubbing two sticks together. And because of that, almost anyone willing to put in the work has the opportunity to follow in their footsteps.
But of course, for breweries like Allagash, their story isn’t all about the past. Allagash, one of my north star breweries, is a company still making big moves and leading the way on things like regional agriculture, wild ales and, more recently, within the Brewers Association.
Founder Rob Tod started Allagash in 1995 with a Belgian White Ale. But these days, his most important role is arguably his post at the Brewers Association as he helps them welcome in a new generation of brewers, sometimes referred to as the "long tail." Alongside his brewmaster, Jason Perkins, he’s also helping lead conversations on resourcing and quality that are critical to craft beer, as a niche, not missing a step on its longterm growth trajectory.
And one of the things I admire about Allagash the most is its ability to focus on what’s possible in craft brewing rather than complaining about the things that have always held it back. Beer is a competitive industry with a lot of different kind of players, but for Allagash’s part, it seems as though there aren’t enough hours in the day to devote to all the positive, impactful things that a brewery connected to its community can accomplish. And that kind of attitude comes through in every person I’ve ever met from the company. But especially this guy.