It seems like this is a story that is always being written, or definitely being written more and more as our community starts to grow. As new breweries open, or as others start to grow we see brewers leaving places to move into others. The first instinct when you hear that someone who you have come to love and appreciate is leaving the place they call home, is to be sad, or upset… maybe worried about what it all means. I hope that you can take the chance to really look deeper at what it means for each place, though. Personnel changes are not always a “bad” thing.
Sometimes – it’s a chance for growth, and redefining of what a brewery is all about.
March First Picks Up A New Brewer
You may be aware about March First, and the big plans that they have for who they are. They have some major plans for not just beer, but cider and spirits too. It’s a fantastic idea, but one that requires some people who know what they are doing to make sure that things work smoothly across all fronts of the business.
As they start to kick their distilling side of the business into gear, it leaves the brewing side a little thin on personnel. Looking around town for someone who would be a perfect fit, they landed on Ben Ramsey, who you might know from Williamsburg’s Old Firehouse Brewery. Ben has been brewing for them for the last 3 years since they opened their doors and has been instrumental in helping them dial in the personality of the beer in their fantastic taproom.
Before working for Old Firehouse, Ben brewed at some other breweries that you might be familiar with – Country Boys and Alltech. This guy is an amazing brewer, and his dark beers are something to behold. It’s a pickup that will take March First to a whole new level, and I’m fairly certain that the personalities of Shae Pridemore, and Ben Ramsey will mesh together perfectly and fill very different places in a really unique business model.
Filling The Void at Old Firehouse
I talked to Old Firehouse’s owner Adam Cowan about what they would do to fill the big shoes that Ben would be leaving. I wholly expected them to be looking for a similar brewer, probably from another brewery here in town to fill the space in their roster. Instead Adam talked about who Old Firehouse is, and how you use a loss like this to almost redefine the brewery.
Instead of looking to other breweries, or people who have been working within the personalities of other breweries, Adam wanted to double down on who Old Firehouse is. They looked to their local community for like-minded people who could help solidify Old Firehouse, which is where they found their new brewer, Chris Wright.
Chris is a former firefighter, which if you’ve ever been to Old Firehouse, you’ll know is a big deal for them. They don’t take their location lightly, and use it to celebrate the heroes that work daily to keep us safe. He is a local guy, a family man, down to earth… he’s literally everything that I would use to describe the brewery’s personality from what I hear.
What could be a crippling loss, has turned into a really great opportunity for Old Firehouse to become even more the brewery that they already are. I can’t wait to see what Chris brings to the mix!