In a lot of ways, the idea for this brewery started in autumn of 2010. Call it my quarter-life crisis. I decided to leave graduate school and further my career in the restaurant industry-- this all with the intent of learning everything I possibly could about it so that I could eventually open my own place. I viewed it as a self directed internship of sorts. Within months of this decision, I was able to transition from just being a server, to bartender, and quickly to front-of-house manager.
At the time, I was working at what is arguably the best beer bar in Bloomington-Normal, IL. So as my knowledge of the restaurant industry grew, my understanding and love of beer also grew. About a year into it, an incentive program run by The Boston Beer Company landed me my first home-brew kit. Instantly hooked. Had to learn everything I could about making beer. Started reading every home-brew book I could get my hands on. Brewed more beer at home. Even got to brew a batch for the bar at a small brewpub in the Chicago Suburbs. My entrepreneurial aspirations suddenly shifted from opening a restaurant to opening a brewpub.
About 6 jobs and 4 years after that quarter-life crisis, an idea that had been on the back burner while my "internship" was completed finally began to gather momentum. My business partner (read: my very motivated and very beautiful life partner, Elizabeth) and I were effectively tired of working for other people. We put a 30 month timeline on getting a brewpub open. May 2017. I started reading even more. We started writing our business plan. In February of 2015 Blue Tape Brewing LLC was organized.
Despite this apparent progress, I felt that things were progressing too slowly. Elizabeth was promoted to store manager in her current job. A short time later, I was promoted to General Manager of the farm-to-table restaurant group where I was previously Beverage Coordinator. This was a position I never had any desire to hold. I made this clear to my superiors and terms of release at the end of 3 months were verbally negotiated. After a month-long panic attack, I decided to cut these terms short and left that company to focus developing my own into something tangible.
This is a blog about the startup of a brewery/pub headquartered in Bloomington, IL. We are two people who own a brewing company that has no brewery. We want to make better beer for our community. This blog will serve as a window into our progress towards pouring our first pint of Aurelia at our yet-to-be-established storefront. We will provide new content on a weekly basis. Surely to the chagrin of our readers and my business partner, but to my delight as a student of history, the next few entries will likely be a more complete history of events that led to Blue Tape Brewing. Following that, updates will follow what is actually happening.
If you are still reading, thank you. I hope you continue to do so.
"I'm getting to chase what absolutely I'm so passionate about. I've done a lot of things in my short career of working for other people that I did or did not believe in, and now I have the chance to do it exactly how I would do it, and I think that's a rare privilege in our world, and I'm so excited to be going after it." -Branden Miller, Black Shirt Brewing Company. Denver, CO