Josh Deth landed his first brewing job in the summer of 1995 at the now-defunct Golden Prairie Brewing, where...
Jon Amarilio is a partner at Taft Stettinius & Hollister in Chicago. He represents individuals, small businesses, state and...
Trisha Rich is a partner in Holland & Knight’s Chicago office, where she practices commercial litigation and professional responsibility...
@theBar recently took its show on the road for a live audience taping at Revolution Brewing, where we spoke with Revolution’s owner and founder, Josh Deth. In this unique edition, enjoy the live-audience experience as Josh talks with co-hosts Jonathan Amarilio and Trisha Rich about his journey from brewing beer in his garage to founding one of the most successful independent breweries in the United States. They also discuss what Josh learned along the way about beer, entrepreneurship, the law, and staying true to his roots.
Special thanks to our sponsors, CourtFiling.net.
The Revolution Edition: A Live-Audience Conversation with Josh Deth, Founder of Revolution Brewing
Jon Amarilio: Hello everyone and welcome to CBA’s @theBar, a podcast where young and young-ish lawyers have unscripted conversations with our guests about legal news, events, topics, stories and whatever else strikes our fancy.
I am Jon Amarilio of Taft Stettinius & Hollister, and joining me as my co-host today is my friend Trisha Rich of Holland & Knight. Hi Trish.
Trisha Rich: Hi Jon. How are you?
Jon Amarilio: I’m well. So before we begin I think it’s important to congratulate you.
Trisha Rich: Go on.
Jon Amarilio: You recently married.
Trisha Rich: That’s true. I finally suckered some poor fool into marrying me.
Jon Amarilio: Married in Hawaii right?
Trisha Rich: It’s true. That happened.
Jon Amarilio: I was not invited.
Trisha Rich: You were invited, stop it.
Jon Amarilio: I invited you to my wedding.
Trisha Rich: I was there.
Jon Amarilio: And you didn’t invite me to yours.
Trisha Rich: Well to be fair my wedding was three weeks later and you were very busy.
Jon Amarilio: I was back from my honeymoon.
Trisha Rich: Okay but I will tell you we — we tried very hard to elope and that did not work out as well as we planned. So had we known people would want to come we would have done something slightly more convenient.
Jon Amarilio: That’s perfectly okay. I think of Hawaii as like the Caribbean for people who want a Wal-Mart available on their vacation.
Trisha Rich: Yeah we’re definitely Wal-Mart people.
Jon Amarilio: Yeah okay. Anyway, joining us as our guest on the pod today is Josh Deth, the Founder and Owner of this fine institution where we are tonight Revolution Brewing. Josh welcome to @TheBar.
Josh Deth: All right, thanks for having me.
Jon Amarilio: Thank you for having us. Thank you for having us as your guests here. Thank you for this absolutely delicious beer which I’m going to be sampling heavily throughout the podcast by the way. So Josh you are the owner of Revolution, which automatically makes you pretty much the coolest person I know.
You also have strong connections with obviously beer and Michigan which probably makes you Trish’s dream guy, right?
Trisha Rich: Yeah. This is really awkward since I just got married but I also am into both beer and Michigan.
Josh Deth: Yeah I have my wife in Michigan. She is actually from Michigan, but yeah.
Trisha Rich: Yeah.
Jon Amarilio: So Josh let’s talk about where you’re from, what your path was here? Trish probably wants to know “what your situation is despite the fact that she was just married?
Trisha Rich: You always got to be looking for.
Josh Deth: Happily married for 21, 20 years, happily married for 20 years, right?
Jon Amarilio: Congratulations.
Josh Deth: 1999 plus 20, it’s a New Year and so I was a little thrown off there but yeah that’s how you remember it.
Trisha Rich: Were you just prepping for Y2K?
Josh Deth: We had to get married really fast before Y2k yeah and then the whole world fell apart. Yeah, so let’s see — here’s a fun story that no one really picks up when I was a baby, I was born in Miami when I was a baby I moved and lived in Belgium for a year in Leuven and it’s today the town where AB InBev, the largest global Brewer in the world is headquartered who bought Budweiser and that other little brewery here in our town a long time ago.
And yeah and so I grew up in a dresser drawer supposedly I slept in the dresser and I have some pictures of myself with Belgian bottles of beer when I was one year old. So I credit that and then got my life straight, didn’t drink any beer in high school because that would be illegal and we have a bunch of lawyers here so I am trying to be – just that.
And yeah I went to college in Ann Arbor. I grew up in Boston, moved out there, my family moved afterwards and yeah studied engineering, studied economics. My mom wanted me to be a lawyer and didn’t pass that bar but yeah the bar joke has already been made so I do get to spend every day in a bar in a sense and that’s a beautiful part about that.
I got into brewing in college. I figured like maybe I was a little bit too cheap to buy it at the store like I just want to make it for myself really kind of a do-it-yourself person early on, and got a lucky break in ‘95 here in Chicago, came for an internship in affordable housing and I had a part-time internship doing that.
And I wanted to work in a brewery that summer and I got a job in a brewery when I was 20, a place called Golden Prairie just about four or five blocks from here that went away but now it’s making a comeback and yeah, I cleaned kegs and then I kind of worked my way up, worked at a few other breweries, worked at Goose Island when they were getting off the ground with their big production brewery and growing big.
And then eventually always wanted to open my own brewery, came up with the name Revolution about 20 years ago, quit my job at Goose Island all the business plans kind of fell apart didn’t work out for various reasons, opened a lot of things in life fast forward, fast forward and where opened up Revolution almost 10 years ago coming up in a couple weeks to our 10th anniversary.
I will drink to that.
Jon Amarilio: Now let’s drink to that. So other than not wanting to pay for it, what drew you to beer?
Josh Deth: Yeah I liked the act of making it, the process of making it, and it smells up the house and — but I was living in a cooperative house in college 40 of your closest friends and a big kitchen, we already had the big soup pots, all I really had to do is get the ingredients and I had plenty of people to help sample the beer and enjoy it.
So and we still even today like the making of beer. I just got out earlier today we were doing a collaboration with another brewery in town, I can’t talk about it, super secret but –
Trisha Rich: You can tell us.
Josh Deth: It’s going to be pretty awesome.
Trisha Rich: This is all covered under our confidentiality clause.
Josh Deth: This was like the second or third — yeah second or third meeting where we like get together and drink a bunch of beers and try to figure out what it is that we’re going to do and yeah it was pretty cool, today we came up with a concept idea, we’re going to brew a beer it’s going to go into bourbon barrels and aged for a year and come out a year from now, pretty awesome project to get into that.
And we’ll go to their brewery, they’ll go to our brewery, we’ll get the drink beers and have fun, I don’t know. If you don’t work a day in your life, there’s some saying about that but it’s pretty awesome.
Trisha Rich: So when you were – I want to back up to the Michigan days if we could.
Jon Amarilio: Jesus.
Josh Deth: Michigan all right.
Jon Amarilio: Michigan.
Trisha Rich: Jon you can step out if you like.
Jon Amarilio: No one cares.
Trisha Rich: So first of all co-op housing, how close were you to Blimpie’s?
Josh Deth: I was pretty close.
Trisha Rich: I thought you might be.
Josh Deth: Yeah just a couple blocks. I was a vegetarian though. Blimpie is like the burger place.
Trisha Rich: Yeah it’s gone now.
Josh Deth: Yeah and it’s gone.
Trisha Rich: That’s not my real question. So my real question is –
Jon Amarilio: We’re cutting all of that and post that it by the way.
Trisha Rich: You don’t own me. I do whatever I —
Josh Deth: I lived across the street from Geppetto’s and Mister Spots and the Blue Front and all of that.
Trisha Rich: So when you were brewing your own beer in college, you must I mean at least in my time line of events of my life, it seems like you must have been on the forefront of that, right?
Josh Deth: So like when I was in Michigan, I was drinking Bell’s beers from Kalamazoo. Those were the beers that inspired me and I’ve got commercial basis to like we would see them and they were like a glorified step above homebrew, right, and like they were at that point sticking labels on by hand. I knew people had volunteered at the brewery and you would get paid a case of beer for sticking labels on beer and you could drink as much beer as you could drink while you were doing it.
Trisha Rich: So I should say when you were at Michigan during that time I was in Kalamazoo. I did my undergrad at Western Michigan University so it wasn’t as –
Jon Amarilio: This podcast isn’t about you Trish.
Trisha Rich: Well it wasn’t until I moved to Chicago that I realized not everybody’s college beer was Oberun.
Josh Deth: It was called Solsun back then, and he got sued by Sol the Mexican Beer and need to change the name, I’m going to call that an intellectual property yeah, kind of —
Trisha Rich: You’ve captured everybody’s attention.
Josh Deth: My least favorite thing to do –
Jon Amarilio: What’s that?
Josh Deth: With lawyers probably.
Trisha Rich: Sue people?
Josh Deth: Intellectual property oh it’s like the worst. I feel like call other breweries up and be like yeah I noticed like you are making a beer didn’t you like Google that thing man you know it’s like we have a beer with like that same name.
Trisha Rich: I hope you are not suggesting that our jobs can be outsources to –
Josh Deth: No it’s just like we do lots of different things with lawyers and it’s a bit even in business let’s just even set aside the lawyers for the minute but it’s just not like you — of course like we make great brands of beer, we make beers we want to sell beer to people who want to be familiar with the name of the beer, that’s the whole purpose I get it but the act of what you actually have to do, we consider a lot of these other breweries that are round and today there’s 8,000 breweries in the United States, it’s pretty crazy. Please don’t open any breweries become a lawyer. Is that –
Trisha Rich: You definitely have a dearth of lawyers.
Josh Deth: Yeah all the good names are taken and but we generally like I talked about we want to do a collaboration beer with other breweries. I don’t want to have to call them up. I had to call up a couple breweries that like we are good friends with the owners and the brewers and some of they were even bigger than us and I’d have to like – we are going to work it all out and so yeah, yeah lawyers, lawyers.
Jon Amarilio: So let’s talk about kind of the undercurrent of the conversation you guys were just having which is the explosion of craft brews in the United States over the last 20 years. I remember when I was in college apparently I wasn’t lucky enough to go to college in Michigan like an exotic beer in DC was Blue Moon, that was — that was Sam Adams that was cool because it wasn’t Budweiser and it wasn’t Miller Lite.
And now I go to Binney’s, local liquor store and there’s a crisis of choice that takes me half an hour just to find I don’t know a six-pack. Can you walk us through that history a little bit?
Josh Deth: Sure. And you were talking about how we’re like grew on like the cutting edge of things so certainly like as a 20 year old getting into beer and working in a brewery was pretty cool. I don’t have a lot of other friends at that age who were working in breweries and but there wasn’t like a brewery program in college either and so it wasn’t like something I had prepared to do with my life.
My wife had a business degree and like the idea of opening a business, anybody can open a business and it’s the American dream and all that. And yeah but it just — there was a point where you realize like I can do that too. I was working at Goose Island, and I was very inspired by the Hall family, Greg Hall and John Hall, father and son but really opened by the father and the son kind of grew into the business, grew up in the business and it was very inspiring to see what they had done.
Obviously I worked at Goose Island before they sold out but it was a pretty awesome place to work even like now they make a lot of different beers and they were exploring a lot of styles, you get into culture we were — they were just starting to for example to get into Belgian beers which Goose Island is kind of known for, they make a bunch of them. Back when I worked there in the late 90s they had we’re never really making any Belgian beers, they were really strong in English Ales and Stouts and Porters and some German styles of beer.
Jonathan Amarilio: But what’s behind like this Renaissance in beer this explosion and micro brews and craft beers over the last 20 years?
Trisha Rich: I think it’s me.
Jonathan Amarilio: Okay you’re like —
Trisha Rich: It’s my consumption.
Jonathan Amarilio: Yeah all right.
Josh Deth: What’s behind it I know obviously it’s like in the 60s and 70s there really wasn’t a whole lot of choice, you talked about the overwhelming choice now. It of course is like a reaction to the lack of choice that existed that we were the laughingstock of the world for our beers in the mid 20th Century. And then people like Sierra Nevada we’re turning 10, I saw the other day Sierra Nevada is turning 40 like this week and that’s crazy.
Trisha Rich: Same Sierra Nevada.
Josh Deth: Yeah Belgium spirit — yeah but like that’s a huge inspiration that was like a similar story where somebody started brewing beer in their garage and built it up from there. Today I was driving out had lunch with someone I work with and we passed by an old junkyard that it’s in Bucktown, imagine the idea of junkyards in Bucktown, there used to be junkyards in Bucktown and I had bought my first big kettle there and I put it in the garage and I had built a little brew system in my basement and I ended up spending all the time fidgeting with it and building it I never actually brewed on it. But it gave me like the inspiration to like hey maybe I can do this for my own and kind of figure it out.
Jonathan Amarilio: So you like the Bill Gates of beer, you started in a garage now you have this place.
Josh Deth: It was a basement — that was a basement.
Jonathan Amarilio: Right yeah.
Josh Deth: Did have garage but — there was a no beer came, I bought that house, it came with like an old beer can collection from the previous owner, of like some of the old Chicago breweries. So there were Chicago breweries before prohibition I think today I saw it online I’m like this Facebook thing that there’s like today was the hundredth anniversary of the first day of prohibition.
I know it started a few things talking about laws or something, I think there is this document this Federal document or something like that I saw it under glass once and they put some words on it that said a hundred years ago that you can’t drink alcohol, imagine that so weird.
It says that the fact that what we’re sitting up here laughing and talking about and it’s like a major cultural thing in our country and of course it has been for people been making beer for a long time and wine and everything else but that it was illegal, that we outlawed it as a people as states as whoever and today it’s — yeah it’s — it’s a free market to open a brewery that the barriers to entry are pretty low.
Jonathan Amarilio: Do you think it’s reached its saturation point?
Josh Deth: You know the barrier to entry is to open a brewery?
Jonathan Amarilio: What?
Josh Deth: You got to hire a lawyer man.
Trisha Rich: Oh what if I know a lawyer?
Jonathan Amarilio: Good advice.
Josh Deth: You got to apply for it and like it’s — you can do it without applying hiring a lawyer probably their ways but it’s like — that is like and they get paid first. You guys have that thing figured out.
Trisha Rich: We have tried very hard to make that happen.
Josh Deth: Like the architects and a building project they get paid after the lawyers and then the general contractors never get paid. Yeah even early on I think I tried to open revolution brewing myself and fill out forms and it failed early on. We did seek like legal advice and benefited from good lawyering early on and we were passed from one layer to another, it was like how are you raising money for this brewery? It’s like, well I was going to like get some friends and I was like, you need to talk to this kind of lawyer. Okay.
Trisha Rich: So how did you come up with the name Revolution?
Josh Deth: I like it, every time I bring up lawyers if I could change the subject someone else.
Trisha Rich: I mean we can continue to talk about how brewery lawyers are —
Josh Deth: That’s cool, that’s cool.
Jonathan Amarilio: And how necessary we are to hire I think.
Trisha Rich: Everybody should hire one of us immediately.
Josh Deth: We have no choice, no choice. It’s by — my best friend Michael came up with it. He’s an investor in Revolution today.
Trisha Rich: Oh I was going to say yeah — don’t say that.
Josh Deth: No, no, he is like my best friend and we would — you drink the best beer names and the best names of breweries come after a few beers at the bar generally and it’s — gets an evocative name, it kind of like.
Obviously it’s a — we feel like it’s a powerful name, it’s a great name for what we’re doing today. I try not to like define it the whole lot for everybody. I think it’s pretty open-ended of a name that people can imagine what it means to them. We’re not trying to prescribe like, yeah definitely a Revolution in beer but —
Trisha Rich: Sure and in your logo I think goes over sort of your raised fist logo?
Josh Deth: Yeah this is like a version of our original logo with the — originally had a five pointed star, my mom thought it was too commie, so we switched to the Chicago Star. This was like before the Chicago star was like —
Jonathan Amarilio: You are capitalist, you are an entrepreneur.
Trisha Rich: Yeah.
Josh Deth: Oh we can talk about that.
Josh Deth: Revolution — so on 10th anniversary somebody asked me earlier, was it you, it was like our 10th anniversary is February 3rd and we’re already planning like — we don’t have a big event that day and I heard on the radio today on the way down it’s like that’s the date of the Iowa Caucuses man, it’s like —
Trisha Rich: Oh you’re competing for —
Josh Deth: So now I’m thinking about how can we integrate like our anniversary into that, we don’t like — as a company we don’t endorse candidates and all that but man I’ve been to Springfield a bunch of times, we have changed laws and —
Trisha Rich: But it’s definitely Elizabeth Warren, right?
Josh Deth: We deal with —
Jonathan Amarilio: What are you talking about? Your tax brackets way too high for Elizabeth Warren —
Trisha Rich: I do love Mayor Pete, 00:16:14.
Jonathan Amarilio: Yeah you probably shouldn’t get into this.
Josh Deth: I am going to say I am like a socialist with a capitalism problem.
Trisha Rich: You definitely have a capitalism problem as I look around.
Josh Deth: Yeah, the other one is I was a socialist before it was cool, okay.
Trisha Rich: I will buy that bumper sticker.
Josh Deth: Now one of our first earliest beers like it was the fourth or fifth beer we ever made is Eugene Porter, it’s named after Eugene V Debs Union Organizer, we were talking about union organizing earlier and he organized the Pullman Factory, not the Pullman Porters but right that’s Randolph Factory and they had the big riot on the south side and he I think he was actually a teetotaler for the record and drink beer. But at the same time he’s an inspirational figure. I learned about him in Michigan, there’s a little society out there that would take everybody out to the Detroit Tigers Baseball game in December and celebrate and talk about his life.
Trisha Rich: America’s team?
Josh Deth: Yeah we like to pull back —
Jonathan Amarilio: It’s back when people lived in Detroit, Trish.
Josh Deth: — connected in the today and have fun with it. Yeah, there we go, who knew we’d get into some socialism talking.
Jonathan Amarilio: Okay. So that’s a perfect segue to a personal Bugaboo of mine, let’s talk about the hops, arms race that seems to be going on with craft brew. It seems like everyone’s just trying to squeeze more and more hops and beers and as someone who is like slightly allergic to hops I find that obnoxious.
Josh Deth: I’m also allergic a little bit to hops.
Jonathan Amarilio: Is that right?
Josh Deth: Yeah just I found that out just a little while ago I feel like I’m —
Jonathan Amarilio: Clogging overexposure thing.
Josh Deth: Coming out about it today —
Jonathan Amarilio: Now this is bigger than — safe space.
Josh Deth: The allergy doctor was like well we can like you can come by every week and we can do like the immunotherapy, we inject you with like a little bit of hops every week. I’m like I inject myself with hops every day. So —
Jonathan Amarilio: What’s behind that though?
Josh Deth: Yeah hops are like a unique ingredient to beer. There — I once had a hops and seaweed dish at a Jamaican restaurant on the Northern Howard in Rogers Park but it wasn’t very good. And I was a vegetarian for a long time —
Trisha Rich: Until that —
Josh Deth: And that got me really excited as a vegetarian but they’re pretty bitter do this eat, you don’t want to just like eat them off the vine but they’re not used in a whole lot else besides beer but they play a unique role — beer is barley, hops, water and yeast, our four primary ingredients and the barley provides the sugar which we ferment into alcohol and the sweetness that we like in beers and the hops provide the bitterness that balances the sweetness.
They also these days provide a lot of the flavors of beer which come from the essential oils of the hops. It’s going to keep it simple here in the chemistry but a lot of new hops have been cultivated in the United States particularly in the Pacific Northwest though hops are native to the Midwest including Michigan, you make a beer. And one of my early business partners helped start hophead farms outside of Kalamazoo in Hickory Corners. They have a good diner there with high and —
Trisha Rich: It’s basically our Michigan podcast.
Josh Deth: The Gilmore car museum it’s like around the corner.
Trisha Rich: I know exactly where that is.
Josh Deth: And so Pacific North West is where they grow most of the hops. It is a couple hours east of Seattle, it’s like an irrigated desert with no bugs and that’s important because the hops are very susceptible to disease in various ways and mold and things like that. The hops are perennials, they come up every year, you can plant them in your garden, they’ll grow great here in Chicago they’ll kind of take over a little bit. They’re not really colorful, they’re green but grow 30-40 feet tall, you can string them up to the roof of your house, they’re fun to trellis. And again they provide these great flavors to beer, people have –
I’m drinking a hazy beer here and people have over the last kind of five years or so figured out new ways to take and use these hops and combine them with the different grains to produce tropical fruit flavors without any fruit being used, it all comes from the hops and so.
Jon Amarilio: Okay, so hops, hops drives the flavor that’s why?
Josh Deth: Yeah, so like IPA is the big style of beer of recent note in craft beer, it’s the majority of what we sell is vast majority is IPA or Pale Ale like the city pale ale, but Anti-Hero IPA is our big seller, Hazy Hero is our new one that’s selling a lot and it’s people like this bitter flavor and there’s — it’s part of like, not all craft beers have this as a feature of them but man, it’s fun, it’s gives us –
We have like 30 or 40 different varieties of hops that are cultivated this year that we can get and we can go out to the farms. You can meet with the farmers they say hey I’ve got a fresh variety that we’re just growing up this year and it tastes like coconut, like awesome, and these remind spins about how can I use a hop like that and it’s also a preservative in the beer.
Jon Amarilio: Okay.
Josh Deth: So a long time ago that’s when hops came into beer is, like in Germany the Reinheitsgebot the purity law requires that beers — they didn’t even know about yeast back then, but it was like –
Jon Amarilio: But you want to be careful Germany and purity?
Josh Deth: Yeah, I get it.
Trisha Rich: Still awkward, this is still awkward?
Jon Amarilio: Yeah, it’s still too soon.
Trisha Rich: Okay.
Josh Deth: If you haven’t seen the Rick and Morty episode with the snakes man, it’s like — it’s a good one on that subject. I recommend it. All right.
Trisha Rich: Pro or con.
Josh Deth: Yeah, so like hops, they’re a member of the cannabis EA family. They’re the closest botanica relative to marijuana, and –
Jon Amarilio: Okay, wait. Can I interrupt?
Josh Deth: Go, go for it. There is some law stuff going on about that too.
Jon Amarilio: So that, so marijuana, recreational marijuana.
Trisha Rich: Are we going to talk about marijuana? I have been –
Jon Amarilio: Just wait, just hold on. This is good question I promise.
Trisha Rich: Sorry. I have been waiting to ask– go, go, go.
Jon Amarilio: Okay. you want it then –
Trisha Rich: Well, I so —
Jon Amarilio: Okay, I will ask, anyway.
Trisha Rich: Okay.
Jon Amarilio: So recreational marijuana was just legalized.
Trisha Rich: Maybe you have heard?
Jon Amarilio: In Illinois, where we are sitting.
Josh Deth: Oh yeah.
Jon Amarilio: Do you expect that to affect your business at all?
Josh Deth: Sure.
Trisha Rich: Are you going to start selling it?
Josh Deth: No, no, it’s like not a business area that we’re looking to get into right now. It’s like — it’s not clear technically today as a federally permitted alcohol manufacturer.
Trisha Rich: Yeah.
Josh Deth: I don’t — there’s not currently a legal pathway forward for us to put it in our beer — it’s a risk to our business, we just about opened a storefront next door there. There’s a dispensary on the block down the street on opening day the line came all the way down here and we did.
Trisha Rich: Everybody stopping.
Jon Amarilio: It’s closed now so.
Josh Deth: The staff is over there. They’re going to laugh at maybe we did, we made a Stoner menu, we had a chimichanga with flaming hot Burrito dust on the top and, and it was like one of our busiest days in a long time right. It was cranking.
It was — we just had, we started to have fun with it, and that’s — a lot of things in the world happen and will change your business and this is one of them that’s obviously out of our control and you just try to adjust and change with it the best you can.
I think you can look at the Colorado experience that’s been studies, people and some people on the beer and the alcohol world are like genuinely concerned and worried about like share of — I don’t know.
Jon Amarilio: Intoxicants?
Josh Deth: Share of intoxicants.
Trisha Rich: I am leaving you marijuana.
Josh Deth: Let me say share of liver but it’s not longer share of liver. It’s yeah, it’s like share of good times really and people have options for good times and you can it’s hey, it’s January, thanks everybody coming to a brewery and not observing dryinaury, right?
Jon Amarilio: That guy right there is.
Trisha Rich: I tried that three years ago, never again.
Josh Deth: Who has got dryinaury, come on raise your hands, on the one. All right, those are like three or four people that brewery dealing it at school.
Jon Amarilio: Judgment.
Josh Deth: I don’t think at the brewery I’m allowed to have an HR policy that says you may not do dryinaury. It’s just part of the world and it’s changing and you adjust to it. We already have a rule like that’s like you can’t come to work drunk, you can’t come to work stoned.
Trisha Rich: Wait, wait, wait, wait.
Josh Deth: Someone is like do we need a new — a new HR policy, but we already have one you know, and guess what, all the employees already smoke weed. So great. Sorry mom, but it’s legal here mom you know. I didn’t become a lawyer, I’m sorry but –
Trisha Rich: Is your mom going to listen to this? Should I apologize to her too?
Josh Deth: It’s good time I think but you never know.
Jon Amarilio: All right, and with that awkward questions, it’s probably a good time for us to take our first break.
Trisha Rich: Perfect. Thank you.
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And we’re back. So Josh I was looking at your menu and realizing how little I know about beer. We have India Pale Ale, Ale, White Ale, Red Ale, Black Ale, Golden Ale, Imperial Ale, Border Stout, Rice stout, milk stout, Pilsner, Imperial Stout, Red.
For a ignoramus like me when it comes to beer what are — what’s the difference between all of these styles. Let’s just start with an education because I’m a whiskey and wine guy I’m going to admit that.
Josh Deth: Yeah.
Jon Amarilio: I just sensed from our prior conversation that again this is a safe space.
Trisha Rich: It’s not that safe.
Jon Amarilio: It’s not that safe. You are judging me so hard right now.
Trisha Rich: I know very much so.
Jon Amarilio: Yeah, okay so, but you’ve got ales, porters, stout, Pilsner, talk to me about the differences.
Josh Deth: Well style, you use the word style, there are styles, like in wine you have varietals right we talked about that a bit previously about the different varieties of hops from there, it’s like different DNA is affecting flavor that way. In beer we have style because we’re blending a bunch of ingredients together and a lot of the styles come from places.
You mentioned a bunch of colors like White, and red and black and golden, so some of these styles are referenced back to the color of the beer that people see, way back in the day all beer was dark because the malt that we used was kilns over like a cold fire or wood fire before they used gas kilns and back in the day people drink their beer in a ceramic mug, so it really didn’t matter what color your beer was.
Jon Amarilio: And you take that color up from the charcoal?
Josh Deth: Yeah, a little bit. It was a different. I’m talking like way back in the day here, but and then eventually the beer glass came around people cared about the way their beer looked, the head on their beer, the flavor of their beer and then different cultures and different places developed different beers and India Pale Ale tell the story of the ships for a minute and it’s like in England they made bitter and they made Pale Ales and porters and stouts these are all English styles.
And then they started sending boats to the East Indies to rape and pillage essentially, right.
Jon Amarilio: So you are anti-colonialism, anti-imperialism.
Josh Deth: Establish that —
Jon Amarilio: Yeah, okay.
Josh Deth: So how do you like, you want all the silks and the spices and how do you get people to go on that dangerous, fairly dangerous long journey on the ship is you put some beer on the ship for them to drink on the way over or you shanghaied them and they wake up on it on the ship. And, and the beer.
Trisha Rich: I could see myself getting caught up in that pretty easily.
Jon Amarilio: Now that was actually a thing, they would clear our presence.
Josh Deth: In all seriousness the beer had to last the journey and good old regular beer they were just getting into bottle beer. Beer was mostly at the beginning of thing he made it first at home and then you would drink at the local pub on tap and then eventually in bottles, cans came much later and they had to make the India Pale Ale stronger so it would last the journey.
So higher in alcohol and more hop bitterness to help preserve the beer, we talked about that earlier. And so fun fact, ready the Dutch East India Company was pretty much acknowledged as the first everybody corporation, yeah.
Trisha Rich: Wow, wow you guys.
Josh Deth: They were like telling the government –
Trisha Rich: So disappointing.
Josh Deth: We’re not going to hate government, you want us to be colonists, and go get the silks and spices like this is a dangerous business where we keep losing every third ship here you know. I’m sure it was all just about the dollars and so they said great. We will give you limited liability don’t worry about it, no one will sue you, just go ahead and do your business and there you go. That’s like and then the British or English East India Company — these are — this is where this idea came up that you can have a concept of someone who’s like not a person but can be treated like a person in the law so forth and so forth, but it’s all about beer everybody, right?
Trisha Rich: So about beer I noticed — so when you — when we first came up here you were drinking something out of a different beer out of a fancier glass and you have now switched to a secondary beer.
Josh Deth: I’m drinking a Fist City right now, I know we have some beer samples if you want to talk about Fist City.
Trisha Rich: Well, what was the first beer you came up with?
Josh Deth: I was drinking Legal-Hero, that was the special beer we made that came out on January 1st, it related to the earlier conversation we were having.
Jon Amarilio: In recognition of the fact that all lawyers are heroes.
Trisha Rich: Yeah. I can’t tell this is a drinking game because he just took a drink. So is this a drinking game? Lawyers are amazing.
Jon Amarilio: I’m not getting into a drinking contest with Josh.
Trisha Rich: And so and then which one if you are drinking Fist City?
Josh Deth: I have been drinking Fist City right now, people have samples of beer, is that what I heard? Is there some kind of program around these or it will be just drink them or —
Jon Amarilio: All right, so yeah, Fist City, so we’ve been passing some beers around, Fist City is the first one, tell us about this beer?
Josh Deth: Fist City, I actually had lunched some tacos today at Big Star in Wicker Park.
Trisha Rich: Okay, did you have the walking taco, that’s my favorite?
Josh Deth: I didn’t but rock and roll for the walking taco. I had a La Panza, a Pasteur and a Pescado, still with the Ps and you’re good to go there.
And this is a collaboration beer we made with Big Star and it’s still on top of Big Star Fist City Pale Ale and it was, man, it must be five-six years ago that we made this beer for the first time with them and Brewmaster Jim Cibak came up with a recipe for a beer that a nice sessionable Pale Ale we were selling our Anti-Hero IPA already back then, we wanted to do something that was a little lower in alcohol more sessionable. It actually has lower bitterness than an IPA but it actually uses more hops for aroma, more dry hops and it has a really nice kind of grapefruity citrus flavor from a combination of American hops.
And we did it with Big Star and then it grew from there and we eventually put it in cans and it’s Revolution’s big Pale Ale.
Trisha Rich: It’s great, I am a big fan of this, it’s not my favorite Revolution beer.
Josh Deth: What is your favorite?
Trisha Rich: Well, I will tell you in a minute but I am going to ask you —
Josh Deth: Who is asking the questions here?
Trisha Rich: Well, I feel bad asking this but I’m going in because I always do, this has to be the worst question you always get.
Josh Deth: You already asked what does the name Revolution mean?
Trisha Rich: Oh no, this is going to be worst.
Josh Deth: What’s my favorite beer? Okay.
Trisha Rich: Yeah, exactly.
Josh Deth: I am not going to answer that one.
Trisha Rich: Of your beers, which is your favorite?
Josh Deth: I ordered this at the bar of my own volition today in addition to the sample that was put out.
Trisha Rich: But you have several beers in front of you.
Josh Deth: And I know Fist City is a go-to kind of beer for me and this is just like, when in doubt go for a Fist City or a Rev Pils, that’s another beer in what we’re calling now our city series of beers and these again are sessionable beers, five, five-and-a-half percent ABV. Beers that you can have a couple of after a long hard day.
Trisha Rich: Couple 10, yep.
Josh Deth: Yeah, a couple two three and the Rev Pils is a German-style beer, it’s a lager beer it also has a nice aromatic hop quality from a different set of hops and so sometimes you want to go to Fist City, sometimes you want to go to Rev Pils and those are my go to kind of that are on all the time that a year-round we make a lot of seasonal special beers as well.
Trisha Rich: I have a follow-up question.
Josh Deth: Go for it.
Trisha Rich: Revolution doesn’t exist, your favorite Chicago beer including Lagunitas.
Jon Amarilio: Oh.
Trisha Rich: Yeah, because we’re going to pretend for this story problem.
Josh Deth: Sure, that’s a good one. There are lots of good beers out there.
Trisha Rich: Oh, I’m sorry, you love all your children, is that what you mean?
Josh Deth: That’s my answer to your other question, yeah. Not a Chicago beer.
Trisha Rich: And I also — and I know you’ve talked a lot about Goose Island and I haven’t —
Jon Amarilio: Wait, no, no, come on, you hit him on the spot, why you are letting him off?
Trisha Rich: I know. I think I have to exclude Goose Island.
Jon Amarilio: Because they got bought up?
Trisha Rich: Good, little bit.
Josh Deth: They are just a beer, you can talk about a brewery in who owns the brewery and that matters and I encourage everyone to support your locally owned independent breweries but —
Jon Amarilio: But separate the art from the artist.
Josh Deth: — anybody can make beers.
Trisha Rich: Okay, so including Lagunitas not including Revolution favorite Chicago beer, go.
Josh Deth: There are so many. Do you know that they’re within like a mile or so here, there are 10 breweries in planning or like open or in planning, right now it’s one of the highest like densities of breweries in this Logan Square area.
Trisha Rich: Wooh.
Josh Deth: All right, there are so many of them, obviously like for me that the 3 Floyds beers which are Northwest Indiana which I consider local in a different geographically extension I call them Chicago and half of the people that work there live in Chicago.
Trisha Rich: They call themselves Chicago.
Josh Deth: That’s where they sell most of their beer and so they make great beers and Half Acre, that may have been the brewery that we met with earlier today and talking about doing a collaboration and —
Jon Amarilio: Ooh, secrets.
Trisha Rich: Wait, we are all bound by confidentiality.
Josh Deth: Okay. I am not saying anything. Damn it, I have had too many beers. We have really paved the way with hops and the combination of hops and a lot of small batch beers it’s almost like not really just one beer, it’s like you go there and we do similar thing with Revolution but we’re definitely inspired by them, we just go there and try the latest creation that they’ve come up with and their artwork is freaking awesome.
Trisha Rich: Yeah, yeah, I am a big fan of Half Acre, they are in my neighborhood.
Josh Deth: And they are generation brewery with all these young upstarts and we’ll see, there’s too many beers, I don’t even — can’t even taste them all.
Trisha Rich: You try as hard as you can, right?
Josh Deth: We all try hard.
Jon Amarilio: So what’s this second beer that we have up here, A Little Crazy; tell us about that?
Josh Deth: Cool. So we’re sitting in the Revolution Brew Pub today for those on the Internets and all that and this is where we started almost ten years ago and then we have a big brewery on Kedzie in Avondale, Avondale pride baby up on Kedzie in —
Jon Amarilio: So it actually accidentally went there first so they are familiar with it.
Josh Deth: It happens like every day. So the neat thing about A Little Crazy is it’s made today at the big brewery, it’s our winter seasonal or kind of winter into spring New Year’s seasonal, but it actually it was created here at the Brew Pub a long time ago. On the can is one of our brewers and one of my great friends Matty Kemp who started out as a bartender here at Revolution we first opened, he actually worked with me at the Handlebar Restaurant before that and he also was my assistant brewer at Goose Island when I was working at the Clybourn Brewpub.
So, I have known Matty for a long time and he fits the bill a little bit for the name of the beer, but it was a beer that was created as a Second Runnings beer. Today we’re well-known for a beer called Straight Jacket, it’s a barrel-aged barley wine.
Jon Amarilio: Sounds crazy.
Josh Deth: Yeah, it’s really strong beer, we see some barrels, whiskey barrels. You said you like whiskey, so it’s a bourbon barrel-aged barley wine, a strong sweet beer like 12%, 13%, 14% and then you brew a beer like that and you have a lot of leftover sugar water the wort that you make and you would otherwise put it down the drain but you can just pause for an hour or so finish up the first beer then you can go ahead and make a second beer with the kind of the weaker strength sugar water and it ends up being a lower and alcohol beer, or we would call a Session beer today and we were making Straight Jacket I think for the second time not the first time that we made it, but this is back in like 2011 or so.
We were like let’s make a small beer, a Second Runnings beer and we were like let’s do something different with it not just make a regular old ale, it’s a primary kind of beer that we make and we use the different yeast. So we used our Belgian Wit Yeast, you mentioned that beer, we had that around and then we used the new hop at the time called Citra hops which are very popular today and we combine those ingredients and the beer we came we had, there’s Straight Jacket, which is before it’s barrel-aged it’s called Institutionalized. It was part of the ‘Repo Man’ movie soundtrack anybody.
Jon Amarilio: I’m sensing a theme here though.
Josh Deth: And yeah, we’ve got a fan out there for the ‘Repo Man’ soundtrack. We did a beer named after every song on the soundtrack that “Coup D’Etat” and “When The Shit Hits The Fan”, a brown ale by the way.
Jon Amarilio: Didn’t have a movie shot here?
Josh Deth: The movie was like the other brewery, yeah.
Jon Amarilio: Olivia Wilde.
Josh Deth: Drinking Buddies.
Trisha Rich: Oh yeah, I forgot about that.
Jon Amarilio: Like I’m not like a celebrity follower because I think social media is generally like an amusement park for clinical narcissists, but —
Jon Amarilio: It is also like Kardashians, Kardashians, Kardashians.
Jon Amarilio: I have this whole theory about how they’re like responsible for the downfall of American culture. We should do a pod on that.
Trisha Rich: They are terrible people.
Jon Amarilio: The worst people ever.
Trisha Rich: We can’t come up with a con opinion.
Jon Amarilio: Yeah, it’s a good point; no, my wife.
Trisha Rich: Yikes.
Jon Amarilio: Yeah.
Trisha Rich: I love your wife.
Jon Amarilio: Yeah, we know we’ll bring her on. Josh, I interrupted you, you were saying.
Josh Deth: It’s okay. A Little Crazy, it’s important to know it’s a hybrid beer so it’s kind of part Belgian ale part American pale ale, it’s a Belgo or Belgian American pale ale and it’s great it’s we’re like two styles come smashed together and you get the taste of a Belgian beer but a little bit of the hops from the Citra Hops.
Trisha Rich: So, this is the first time I have tried A Little Crazy.
Josh Deth: Cheers everybody, everyone have in the audience, let’s involve the audience, I know we’re going to do that soon, but cheers, enjoy the beer.
Jon Amarilio: Well, why don’t we do that now? Let’s go to a Q&A; we’ve been asking all the questions right there, come on up, we’ve got a microphone set up, we’ll cut out all the dead air and post out of it, so take your time.
Trisha Rich: This is why I should tell my hilarious jokes.
Megan: So you mentioned earlier that you felt that Goose Island had sold out.
Josh Deth: Did I use that word? Okay, they did sell. They sold.
Trisha Rich: This is Megan from New Jersey.
Josh Deth: Go ahead. Awesome.
Trisha Rich: I am not wearing my hoop earrings.
Josh Deth: There is an Anheuser-Busch brewery in Newark — Newark, New Jersey.
Megan: I know, growing up when we went to the airport you can always see they had this like rotating old-school neon sign, and I actually still associate the Anheuser-Busch logo with excitement because it was right outside the airport and it usually meant that we were going like on vacation.
Trisha Rich: This is better than what I thought you were going to say which was —
Megan: Oh no, it gets worse.
Trisha Rich: I think I associate the Anheuser-Busch —
Josh Deth: All right, keep going.
Trisha Rich: — logo with pilots flying planes. So better than I thought that was going.
Megan: No, my secondary association is actually you.
Trisha Rich: Okay, fair enough.
Megan: But so, I don’t actually know a whole lot about their arrangement, so they distribute like 3, 1, 2 and green line, but they also have some ownership over their local brewpub. Do you know — can you provide some information about that arrangement and then do you ever foresee revolution having something not similar but something that also allows you the opportunity to provide, for example, the State of New Jersey with the opportunity to purchase your beer commercially?
Jon Amarilio: Sir, are you going to sell out?
Megan: Everything is legal in Jersey.
Jon Amarilio: I think it’s a question.
Josh Deth: First off, it’s important to note that our beer is available in the fine State, the garden State of New Jersey. Yeah, it’s not like a big seller out there. We would like it to be a little bit bigger. You can get revolution today in nine states including New York City metro area and then we added on Jersey, as it kind of goes well with that. We’ve got a great beer distributor out there and where you can get it, it’s hard to find. And Jersey has lots of independent liquor stores, this is a cool feature of the liquor laws in Jersey.
Jon Amarilio: Dude, you are stalling, this was not the question.
Josh Deth: I will get to your question, but —
Trisha Rich: No, I am very interested in this.
Josh Deth: No, here is we are talking about laws for a minute.
Jon Amarilio: No one cares about New Jersey’s liquor laws.
Josh Deth: In Jersey you can’t own a lot of liquor stores, you have to have — you only allowed to own one or two liquor stores. See, they don’t have chain liquor stores, Binny’s, even the grocery store like a Jewel or a Mariano’s you can only have like total wine, there’s like a couple total wines like our Binny’s that they have out there.
Wegmans grocery stores is a couple of them, but if you want alcohol in Jersey to go you have to go to an independent package liquor store and that’s a feature of that State. Every State is different.
Trisha Rich: A feature or a bug?
Josh Deth: Yeah, there you go. There’s a quick thing on Jersey for a minute. We have a lovely woman named Brittany, shout out for Brittany if you ever hear is this, who is our sales personnel in New York and New Jersey and she does a great job.
So, the long and short story, I worked at Goose Island for three years and I talked about them earlier and obviously it’s an influence in my career and revolution of course too. It inspired me. I never really expected to compete necessarily in a big way, that wasn’t the goal, just wanted to open my own brewery. I thought it’d be kind of a small brewery at the beginning, and yeah, they have sold their entire company to Anheuser-Busch InBev, it’s wholly owned by them. I did it in a couple chunks along the way and there’s a book written by Josh Noel from the Chicago Tribune Barrel-Aged Beer and selling out or something like that that you can read and I’ve been on here and done a panel with him and we try not to comment a lot on other businesses, it’s a good practice, right?
Advise your clients not to like publicly talk on podcasts about their —
Jon Amarilio: No, no, no, it’s perfectly okay as long as you begin every sentence within my opinion.
Trisha Rich: Yeah, it’s true.
Josh Deth: Good.
Jon Amarilio: Then you’re safe.
Josh Deth: Today —
Trisha Rich: In my opinion they sold out because, fill in the blank.
Josh Deth: Today Revolution sells more beer in the State of Illinois than Goose Island does.
Trisha Rich: I can’t possibly —
Jon Amarilio: Revolution is also the number one independent brewery in Illinois, right?
Josh Deth: Actually, it’s funny that you mentioned that. There’s lots of ways to — yeah, number one independent, and we just actually — now we’re actually selling more craft beer than any other brewery. We just passed a couple of big other nationally owned brands that people consider craft, some of which have been mentioned on the stage before that you might have mentioned but it is competitive, they are competitor in the marketplace today and we are an independently owned craft beer company.
I’m not by the way the only owner of Revolution, I mentioned my friend Michael 00:44:23 who opened the Hop Farm and a bunch of investors. I am the managing member of a manager who managed LLC.
Trisha Rich: Yeah, we all know what that means. Yeah, thank you.
Josh Deth: And there are a lot of people early on put their money into Revolution to help make it is what it is today. And yeah, I value our independence highly and we all do at Revolution, and like I didn’t open this business to sell it, that was never like an objective from the beginning and I think it’s important that you set your business up well from the beginning. You have to contemplate not your exit strategy but you have to contemplate the future when you open up a business, a business like sucks your life. It sucks up your family’s life and your friends and everything else.
There are negatives, there’s lots of positives. So I’ve talked about just enjoying what you do but if you set it up right and then it’s like the business is good, we don’t have to sell.
Right now we’re coming up on ten years. We’re starting to pay off loans. We’re moving towards like financial security as like a company. We had like 12 banks who all said no, never gave us a loan in the first place and now they are knocking the door and ask for — to be our banker.
Jon Amarilio: That’s kind of feel-good.
Josh Deth: Yeah.
Jon Amarilio: All right.
Trisha Rich: Is there any of the actual same bankers, because I’m really imagining that Julie —
Josh Deth: Like now the bankers all changed.
Jon Amarilio: Big mistake.
Josh Deth: They go work at a different bank.
Jon Amarilio: Big mistake.
Trisha Rich: Big mistake.
Josh Deth: Yeah.
Jon Amarilio: All right. So other questions?
Josh Deth: The woman over there.
Jon Amarilio: Right there?
Male Speaker: So you’ve alluded to some of the competition you’ve talked about on the pod and also some of the different ingredients, but I guess my question is a hybrid of that, where do you see keeping Revolution out at the forefront, competitive, coming out with new stuff? Is it staying on top of ingredients like the Citra Hops you talked about, is it talented Brewmasters, how do you stay out ahead of competition?
Trisha Rich: Best lawyers.
Josh Deth: All of the above. It’s like there is not one thing there’s all those things, like you got it, you answered your own question, so you have to be innovating. The last panel I was sitting up here on was about like flavor trends in the new year and what’s coming up and you have to like, okay, let’s raise our hands, let’s be interactive, who has had a hard sell turn in the last month, raise your hand?
All right, more people than are doing dryinuary for the heck.
Trisha Rich: I do. I look for you.
Josh Deth: That’s the major trend in the alcohol world right now and in beer and for the most part it doesn’t tend to take away from like Anti-Hero business, our craft beer business, it’s taken away from light beers, taken away from wine and spirit occasions and yeah — no, but it’s pretty major, right? And Mike’s Hard Lemonade is based in Chicago and that’s who owns White Claw and they’re about —
Trisha Rich: White Claw, what’s that?
Josh Deth: And they don’t own any facilities, they’re about to build — they are building some massive facilities, one in the great garden State of —
Audience: New Jersey.
Josh Deth: Yeah, I hear it’s opening in April and I’m not going to say the next thing. Okay. But it’s a major influence and so innovating flavors, innovating beers, all the styles that you were talking about Jon, right?
Jon Amarilio: Yeah.
Josh Deth: Were always like — we look at the numbers and see like what’s selling, we just finished up another year here at the pub. The best-selling beer year-round was our Cross of Gold, like an easy drinking beer, it’s my dad’s favorite beer. We just refreshed the packaging on that beer. We added a CTA L Car going over the tracks, because we’re going all-in on Chicago. We put on the can and on the box of the beer proudly brewed only in Chicago. And some of our competitors they brew their beers not at the New Jersey bud plant by the way, they brew their beers at other bud plants, right? But it’s the truth and it’s like it’s out there and it hurts a little bit but people should know where their food comes from, where their beer comes from, where the apple is grown. You got to put on the apple like where it’s grown, right?
In beer you can get around that. You can put on the beer, the zip code of the multiple breweries that you have, not necessarily where it was exactly made. It could have been made of one of these three breweries by the way, possibly in Chicago or possibly in New York or Colorado, right?
And that’s a legal maneuver or a labeling requirement or a big part of beer in addition to the IEP, there’s like what goes into a recipe being truthful about, what goes into your beer, and so that kind of innovation piece where we’re always looking at new flavors, we’re reinventing some of our beers, that you get to be mature. It’s a ten year old brewery, you got to think about, hey man, we were brewing that beer ten years ago, does it need to stay the same?
Some beers do and then some beers need to change with the times. Right now better for you and healthier like implications of beer. It’s illegal to make a health statement on an alcoholic beer, wine or liquor package.
Jon Amarilio: Lawyers.
Josh Deth: Yeah.
Trisha Rich: What you need us to lobby for, just tell us?
Josh Deth: Well —
Trisha Rich: Everything.
Josh Deth: With all the things I went to lobby for it’s okay. And it’s like we have a good business.
Jon Amarilio: So your anti-colonialism, anti-imperialism, anti-capitalism, anti-lying, this is your platform, so I’m getting Pro beer.
Josh Deth: If the lying benefits me, fine.
Jon Amarilio: Well, all right.
Trisha Rich: I find if you just laugh at Jon’s jokes.
Jon Amarilio: No, yeah, we get along great. So we have time for one more question.
Josh Deth: Truth in every time.
Jon Amarilio: I think Jack, come on up.
Josh Deth: Is Anheuser-Busch going to listen to this thing or —
Jon Amarilio: I’m just sending it right to him.
Trisha Rich: No, your mom is totally going to listen.
Male Speaker: All right, I got one this is a — it’s a two-parter, a room full of lawyers and I think we can all agree, when you’re drinking beer there’s no exemptions for any laws or regulations that apply but why are there no laws when you’re drinking clause, and second part, why don’t you guys going to get in the Seltzer business?
Josh Deth: Yeah. That’s a related question. Yesterday or the day before I walked out of the front of the brewery and by the bike rack’s was a Black Cherry White Claw and I was just like, I like, I am in favor of lowering the drinking age. I’m in favor of drinking in public, these are like people ask me associated with marijuana legalized now what’s next, right? What are the things that can change, and there’s obviously like other things that could be legalized. Oh, we got to think about the constraints in your life and what is legal for all of us to do. We have like self-responsibility and do the right thing as well. So I think that’s important, and like in New Orleans, you can drink anywhere, but you want your city to be like New Orleans, right?
Trisha Rich: Yes, I do.
Josh Deth: I think, well, but like there are places there’s room for in Chicago, a big city like us to say that there are certain zones and places that are — people generally want entertainment but they don’t want it in their neighborhood, like who wants a club like to open up a block from that?
Jon Amarilio: No. I’m in River North, I get it.
Josh Deth: Like zoning, do you want to talk about zoning? Let’s not talk about zoning, but I got involved in zoning. Way before I opened a brewery when I was in urban planning I got a degree in Urban Planning and housing and did a lot of other community work and zoning work and another zoning code back and forth. I quit my job at Goose Island, did a bunch of other things, but it prepared me well, we get into zoning change here. We had a community meeting ten years ago and it was like 99 in favor one opposed to give Revolution a zoning change to open a brewery in Logan Square 10-12 years ago. And people were like, please bring it, I can’t even get, there’s very few choices of places to go. The neighborhood has changed a lot.
Trisha Rich: It’s incredible because you guys are now a gem of this neighborhood, right?
Josh Deth: Yeah, I am just talking about White Claw though, right?
Trisha Rich: Yeah.
Josh Deth: What’s worse to talking about Gentrification or talking about Seltzer? I don’t know.
Trisha Rich: Yes.
Jon Amarilio: It kind of the same thing.
Josh Deth: They are like both things that I can’t like directly control, that I’m a player in and involved in, and this is like what can do, we are not going to make a Seltzer, like we’re pretty out there on that point and I’ll reiterate it, we have some projects in mind that are like closer towards that that we still consider a beer. Seltzer is beer masquerading not as beer, it’s taxed as beer. That’s what makes Seltzer interesting versus like a wine cooler that’s actually made with fermented fruit and it’s taxed as wine. And so — or like those little Jack Daniels cocktails that I used to drink in high school if it’s liquor and it’s distilled, then it’s taxed as liquor.
Trisha Rich: I thought you didn’t drink in high school; I mean, your story is changing.
Josh Deth: Oh, yeah, I didn’t drink in high school. But I am in favor of lowering the drinking age because like —
Trisha Rich: So what would you lower the drinking age to?
Josh Deth: It’s my radical point of the day.
Trisha Rich: What would you lower it to?
Josh Deth: 18.
Trisha Rich: 18.
Josh Deth: 21 to 18. We just took cigarettes up from 18 to 21. And so it’s just fine and it’s like, it’s just the law and we’ll see what happens.
Trisha Rich: Yeah, it’s just a law.
Jon Amarilio: He says the room for lawyers.
Josh Deth: Is it going to — is it really going to change on 19 year old smoking habits? Maybe, like the public like smoking has come way down, a major public health initiative around that. We just legalized marijuana and we’re kind of encouraging smoking at least here locally, they don’t have to smoke it, and there’s positives and there’s definitely negatives around smoking things. And this is like I’m — I don’t want to be a legislator, I’ve got my hands full and if someone does so, someone has to be a Judge. My wife says, oh, stop judging me.
Trisha Rich: Wait a minute, am I all right?
Josh Deth: Well , I’m not going to go there but it’s like —
Trisha Rich: Smart, you are very smart.
Josh Deth: At the brewery we do taste panel every day, I did it today, we taste beers, we are critical of them.
Trisha Rich: How do I get invited to the taste panel?
Josh Deth: Yes, that’s one of the privileges, and today we were tasting barrel-aged beers. It’s a fun taste panel.
Trisha Rich: I am so qualified for that.
Josh Deth: Yeah, but it’s like you have to be critical, you have to judge. My opinion is my wife just might be, yeah, there’s been — it’s like we’re constantly judging all the time, that’s like giving your preferences saying what you like and dislike, and you got to keep it cool, you got to be respectful while you’re doing it and you all live in this world where there’s this thing called Judges that it’s like aspirational I guess or it’s the top of the pecking order or maybe someone wants to be a Judge in this room, are there judges in this room? Probably no, they don’t come out to things like this.
Trisha Rich: No, no.
Josh Deth: But it’s like — I don’t know, I think it’s like we should — I think we should clap for the judges, for the people who are willing to like say, okay, this is what I think is right at the end of the day. There aren’t many other elements of life that I see that where we appreciate people who make their critical decisions —
Jon Amarilio: Like that level of trust.
Josh Deth: Yeah.
Trisha Rich: So I think we are running short on time but I do want to ask you one final question. And that is so when you were in — you mentioned you went to school in Ann Arbor.
Josh Deth: Uh-huh.
Trisha Rich: And I believe that was the University of Michigan?
Josh Deth: It was my favorite bar in Ann Arbor, Dominick’s.
Trisha Rich: It’s obviously Dominick’s, that is the only right answer but that’s not my question. When you started home brewing in Ann Arbor you presumably made some beers —
Josh Deth: Hmm.
Trisha Rich: And my question to you is here at Revolution what is the beer that is closest to the beer you started making first in Ann Arbor?
Josh Deth: The very first beer I made was called Bodacious Bitter.
Trisha Rich: I love it already.
Josh Deth: And the Fist City that we’re tasting generally like one of the concepts like if you have it on tap, it’s a bitter; and if you have it in a bottle or a can, it’s a pale ale. There are closely linked styles of beer, so just the Fist City that we’re drinking. The idea here is just like a nice drinking beer but some hops in it. Hop forward but some malt character, that was the very first beer I made.
Trisha Rich: So are you here to 00:56:10 that Fist City is a Michigan beer?
Jon Amarilio: Don’t answer that. We’re going to take our next break and we’ll be right back with Stranger than Legal Fiction.
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Steve: I do.
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Jon Amarilio: And we’re back, so we close out every episode with a game that we call Stranger than Legal Fiction. The rules are very simple. Trisha and I have done a little research on the Internet. So we found a law that is still on the books or existent or should be, or really shouldn’t be, and then we’ve made another one up completely and we’re going to pull each other and Josh to see if we can distinguish strange legal fact from fiction. Everyone ready to play?
Jon Amarilio: All right, so we’re going to involve the audience since we have an audience this time. So we’re going to pull each other, Josh, and then the audience based on noise, I suppose. All right, Trisha, you want to lead us off?
Trisha Rich: Sure. Though with a disclaimer, number one, I’ve switched to the — what was that called a Legal Hazy Beer —
Josh Deth: Legal Hero.
Trisha Rich: Legal Hero, there you go. I switched to Legal Hero because we are, and then secondly, for the first time I have to say at the beginning of the podcast I saw our guest looking at the only notes I brought was it about my stranger than legal —
Josh Deth: I thought there were questions you were going to ask me and I was just trying to get —
Trisha Rich: Okay, yeah — no, I saw you sneaking a peek at my notes, and so all I’m going to say —
Josh Deth: I didn’t say I didn’t break laws.
Trisha Rich: I am not going to judge anybody, I’m not going to say anything except I will say I think some people on the stage have an unfair advantage right now from having —
Josh Deth: There weren’t any answers, it was just questions.
Trisha Rich: Yeah, there’s just questions but you’ve had a lot of time to think about it.
Jon Amarilio: Ask the question, Trisha.
Trisha Rich: Okay, good. So one of these is a true law and one of these is not a true law. Number one, in the State of Alaska it is legal for bartenders to give free drinks to patrons. Number two, in France all vehicles must contain breathalyzers. So —
Jon Amarilio: Josh, what do you think?
Josh Deth: The first one is legal. It’s legal to give alcohol.
Trisha Rich: Legal; legal.
Josh Deth: It’s illegal in Illinois I know to give away free alcohol, so we can’t advertise like free beer.
Trisha Rich: No, so it’s not advertising, it’s just like you had to wait too long I’m going to give you a free drink because I’ve had to wait many a time in a bar.
Josh Deth: Sure. I guess I’ll go with number one. That’s, number one is a real law, it’s legal in Alaska.
Trisha Rich: Okay. John?
Jon Amarilio: I’m going to wait, I’m going to actually phone a friend here and see what the audience thinks, guys. All right, by noise who thinks that the first one, the Alaska law is the real law?
Jon Amarilio: All right, who thinks that the French law is a real law?
Jon Amarilio: All right, I’m going to go with Alaska as the real law especially because I’ve driven cars in France and they didn’t have breathalyzers.
Trisha Rich: Okay, so I’m going to give a shout-out to my very good friend in the audience, Megan, who I went to France with earlier this year who bought us a travel breathalyzer for us to have in our car so we would be complying with French law.
Jon Amarilio: Get out of here. Was that new?
Trisha Rich: So it’s not new, it was enacted in 2012. So in France, you’re supposed to have a travel breathalyzer in your car at all times, and it’s actually going out, it’s been so unpopular and so poorly enforced that it is going out of law largely if it will be — there’s a bill right now that’s been approved that if it’s enacted, it will be removed from the law in October of this year.
Alaska is one of the few states where it is illegal for bartenders to give people free drinks, no matter how pretty they are is my burden in life or how long they’ve waited for a drink.
Jon Amarilio: There you go. All right.
Trisha Rich: So —
Jon Amarilio: Round two, are you ready, Josh?
Josh Deth: I am ready.
Jon Amarilio: All right. Option one, in Rhode Island it is illegal for a bartender or other server to mix beer with any spirit in the same drink although they may be simultaneously served in separate glasses to the same customer. That’s option number one, no mixing.
Josh Deth: Yeah, I like that one.
Jon Amarilio: All right, option number two.
Josh Deth: That was like a dumb law.
Jon Amarilio: In Utah, it is illegal to visibly mix or pour drinks which must be mixed or poured behind.
Josh Deth: Yeah, number two.
Trisha Rich: Yeah, it’s number two.
Josh Deth: What do they call it, there’s something curtain? There’s a name for it.
Trisha Rich: Wait, in Utah, there’s an alcohol law, yeah, that’s it.
Jon Amarilio: That’s the real law, Trish?
Trisha Rich: Yeah.
Jon Amarilio: Josh, what do you think?
Josh Deth: It’s number two, man.
Jon Amarilio: Number two is the real law?
Josh Deth: Oh yeah.
Trisha Rich: Oh, he is nailing us down.
Josh Deth: Actually we talked about this in the office.
Jon Amarilio: This is the expertise coming out.
Josh Deth: Seriously, we talked about in the office today, there’s something curtain, I forget what it is like if you — you can have a bar, you can have a drink, a cocktail, but they cannot make the cocktail in front of you. A lot of these states are just switching out of like low ABV beer only.
Colorado, we were looking at the data today for the year because the year-end data is in, I’m a data geek, and Colorado and grocery stores never could sell more than like 3.2 beer and beer sales and Colorado grocery stores were up 883% in calendar year 2019.
Trisha Rich: It was just me.
Jon Amarilio: All right that expertise aside. Let’s see what the audience thinks. Who thinks the Utah law is real?
Jon Amarilio: All right, who thinks the Rhode Island law is real?
Jon Amarilio: All right, it’s the Utah law per Josh’s expertise and Trisha’s prejudices against more minis. The law was intended to keep children from seeing alcohol essentially; although it was recently — I cheated on this one — it was recently appealed — repealed.
Trisha Rich: You are such a cheater, you always do this.
Jon Amarilio: Yeah, well, I learned that move from you.
Trisha Rich: No, no, that’s not true.
Jon Amarilio: And that very unfortunately is our show for today. I want to thank our guest, Josh Deth of Revolution Brewery.
Josh Deth: Thank you.
Jon Amarilio: Not only for coming on the pod, teaching us about beer and sharing his beer, which was delicious, with us but for hosting us at his brewpub. For anyone who hasn’t been, you really should get on that. The Brewpub is at 2323 North Milwaukee and the Brewery + Taproom is at 3340 North Kedzie, they’re both fantastic and if you’re feeling a little FOMO, you should — I think that’s the appropriate reaction, you’re definitely missing out for not being here. I question your life choices.
I also want to thank my co-host, Trisha Rich, our executive producer, Jen Byrne, Ricardo Islas on sound, and everyone at the Legal Talk Network.
Remember, you can follow us and send us your comments, questions, episode ideas or just troll us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, @CBAatthebar.
Please also rate us and leave us your feedback on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify or wherever you download your podcast, it helps us get the word out.
Until next time for everyone here at the CBA and Revolution Brewery, thank you for joining us and we will see you soon at the Bar.
Trisha Rich: Thank you.
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