I wanted to write about Redhook Ale because their story is really interesting.
Oddly enough, one of the two people who started the company back in 1981 was Gordon Bowker, co-founder of Starbucks and Peet’s Coffee & Tea. Along with a marketing genius named Paul Shipman, he started the beer company without knowing how to make beer. After getting their hands on $12,000 of equipment, they found a proper brewmaster and started a small operation in Ballard, Washington.
They found an old, run-down automobile transmission shop and crafted their first beer.
The beer had an unfamiliar taste that somewhat resembled bananas, and it was not very popular in the bars it launched in. Most people wouldn’t even finish their beers because the flavor was just too new and different. Well, not completely – they actually had contaminated yeast. However, their third batch of beer was a very big success, launching Redhook Ale into the limelight rather quickly. The beer was even called Ballard Bitter, a clever nod to the town in which the brewery was located.
While Redhook Ale is a story of bold entrepreneurship, there is one part of it that really connects to all of us.
The craft beer revolution of the 1980’s can be attributed to a variety of microbreweries, including Redhook Ale, who changed the game forever. Rather than focus on achieving a trademark consistent flavor, they began brewing beers that were meant to explore the broad spectrum of flavors. Prior to the craft beer revolution, such flavors and aromas were usually only found in specialty import beers. Their commitment to trying new things and experimenting with flavors ended up sparking a serious interest in craft beers across the nation that continues to grow to this day.
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