So while GrassLands is in a pseudo-holding pattern for the time being (launch-date and launch-location are both unfortunately TBD, but hopefully becoming much more clear in the coming month...stay tuned!), I’ve decided to prioritize a few things. First, as you’re probably aware by now (and if you aren't, crawl on out from under that rock, okay?), the GrassHoppers Review Club has been officially established. This, more than anything else, is a means for GrassLands to get informative and in-depth feedback from experienced beer bloggers, general beer enthusiasts and/or folks who just want a taste of some GLB ales, on each experimental batch of beer brewed; eventually improving GrassLands’ ultimate flagship beers. I want and expect a bunch of honest feedback. The last thing I need is smoke blown up GrassLands' figurative backside, if you know what I mean. I enjoy the way GLB beer tastes, but I know it can (and will) get better. I’ll fork over shipping costs any day of the week if it means improving GLB’s product. Better craft beer is a benefit for us, you and the beer industry itself.
Second, and perhaps just as important, I’ve been doing a ton of brainstorming and conceptualizing about what GrassLands stands for. The mission and vision is fairly clear: We want to brew the highest quality and unique ales with all-natural (and as often as possible: organic) ingredients while utilizing environmentally-friendly and sustainable operational practices. I take one look at what Sierra Nevada is doing (and has been doing for a while) and my mind is completely blown. I’m totally inspired by their approach and I immediately think toward the future of GrassLands and the somewhat infinite number of possibilities in which we can fulfill the environmental and conservational component of our mission. Earth First Ales means something to me, and I want it to mean something to our fans (if they're out there). Tie in plans for annual support to organizations that embody this mission, and I get giddy with anticipation to get GrassLands up and running.
Today, though, I want to talk about yet another component for which GrassLands wishes to stand (see what I did there, grammar police? :) "Supporting Local.”
Ever since I started brewing, I’ve tried to make my beer-related purchases (be it for brewing or consuming) local – I strongly support my local supplier of ingredients and equipment; I support the growth of the craft beer market in my town, region and state; and I’m a huge advocate for any locally-operated brewery. As a matter of fact, GrassLands is now a registered activist for SYLB. TRUTH!!!
Regardless of the venue, product or service - local support is a great thing. Supporting local represents an investment in your community and its economy, your environment, and perhaps most importantly: yourself. Chances are, if you support local, your dollars are being reinvested into other local or regional businesses – thereby creating a (positive) domino effect. You buy what you want to buy, not what national chains think you should buy. Your taxes are put to good use. Your community (as well as all the things it encompasses) is kept unique. You benefit from all of this and then some.
Take a moment and think about some of the popular craft beer markets in the US. What cities did you come up with? Off the top of my head, I immediately thought of Portland, OR; Asheville, NC; and Seattle, WA. Another thing that is common to each of those areas: support and resources for local businesses. I get all enthusiastic when I read about each new brewery to start up in those regions and the positive stories they tell about how much help they received from other breweries. How is that not inspiring? Rather than treating them like competitors, breweries embrace them into the community.
That’s. Freaking. Awesome.
I think about all that and the possibilities for the extremely diverse state of Florida. We’ve got a bunch of breweries in-planning and some relatively new ones in-operation, in addition to some major players. The ball is already rolling, and GrassLands is eager to participate and get involved. Whatever the term means to you, we encourage and applaud your efforts in supporting local.