What’s your current position at Harpoon, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
I am the president and co-founder. I got started in the craft brewing industry begging for money and digging floor drains back in the mid-1980s. This came after, of course, drinking great beer in other parts of the world and wondering why the same opportunities did not exist in America.
What’s new at Harpoon?
A lot. UFO White, new 500-bbl tanks in Boston, the Riverbend Taps in Vermont, new Hundred Barrel beers, centrifuges, a bulk-glass line, several big beers in the Leviathan series, and always new great people.
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
The people. What we have collectively—along with our committed consumers—been able to achieve in 25 years is simply amazing. Turning the U.S. from the most embarrassing beer country in the developed world into the best place in the world to be a beer drinker was beyond the wildest dreams I held those many years ago.
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
Spend time with my wife and kids. Read. Drink great beer. Hike. Travel. Swim. Bike. Spend time with friends. Solve the world’s problems. Watch sports.
What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?
Different kinds of beer with all kinds of seafood: oysters, lobster, swordfish, tuna, mussels, shrimp, cooked all kinds of ways.
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
I would have to say that it is my four kids who continue to both challenge me and provide me with a great deal of satisfaction.
What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?
I have too many friends in the industry who make great beer to select just one. I would answer this question differently depending on the day, my mood, the setting, the company, the food, etc. What a great problem to have!
What’s the most exotic travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
I have been fortunate to have visited perhaps more than 250 breweries in Europe and the United States and have so many memories of drinking great beer in unusual locations. I am not sure about exotic, but they were all wonderful: Refsvindinge Ship’s Beer on the island of Fyn, Doris’ 90th at Hesket Newmarket in Cumbria, Lobkowicz Knight with Will Lobkowitz at the brewery in Vysoky Chlumec, Hemp Beer with Lenin in Dresden, etc.