|Tomme Arthur, Director of Brewery Operations, Port Brewing / The Lost Abbey. |
Photo courtesy Brewers Association
After thanking as many people as I thought time would allow, I asked permission to close with one remaining thought. It’s something that I think needs to be talked about. Once I was finished with my speech, my Twitter feed showed that my speech had been distilled into one simple point: ‘We are becoming incredibly dependent on imitation and this saddens me. Mostly because we all know, flattery will get you nowhere. I’ve always felt our job as brewers is to transport our customers to far-away lands; places they didn’t realize beer could take them. But lately, it feels our industry has become reliant on collaborating solely on hazier shades of winter.
It feels done and done. Can we please chart a new destination? Yes, it will require new ideas and bold strokes; daring challenges even, but nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.’ Ultimately, what I wanted to say is that there is much too much sameness in the world of brewing right now and a new course needs to be charted. I also reminded the crowd that an award like this would inspire me moving forward to ensure we were doing our part. It feels like we haven’t been a big enough part of this conversation as well. There are most definitely beers we have not attempted that need to see the light of day. So I promised to get back to the innovation room and make things we have only been dreaming about. I’ve spent half my life literally in the pursuit of making beers only my mind can see, and for that, I am thankful that I found a place for my art. Earning this award feels great, no doubt, but it doesn’t mean I should throw on a smoking jacket and sip drinks in the study. It means people will continue to look at the work we produce and hopefully, we can continue to inspire them with thought-provoking beers.