This Week in Beer: August 14 – 20, 2017

Check out our Better Beer Happy Hours, Etc. page for regularly scheduled events and specials. We are only list events here that are unique for this coming week in beer. Remember to check our Events Calendar throughout the week to see events that are added after our Monday morning publication time.

Monday, August 14th from 5:00-8:00 pm – Rare Beer Monday at Braxton Labs

Wednesday, August 16th at 6:00 pm – Woodburn Beer Dinner at Moerlein Lager House

Thursday, August 17th from 5:00-9:00 pm – 3rd Annual Stein Hoisting Competition at Taft’s Ale House

Thursday, August 17th at 7:00 pm – Elysian Pint Night at Hebron Brew Haus

Friday, August 18th from 5:00-9:00 pm – Belgian Blonde Tapping at Braxton Labs

Friday, August 18th from 5:00-9:00 pm – Rhinegeist Pint Night at Jungle Jim’s Eastgate

Friday, August 18th from 5:00-9:00 pm – Christian Moerlein Pint Night at Jungle Jim’s Fairfield

Friday, August 18th from 5:00-10:00 pm – Founders Birthday Celebration/Green Zebra Release at Cappy’s Wine and Spirits

Friday, August 18th from 5:30-7:00 pm – Friday Night Flights at Party Town

Friday, August 18th at 8:00 pm – Molly’s 10 Year Anniversary Party at Molly Malone’s Covington

Saturday, August 19th from 11:00 am-5:00 pm – Bacon, Beer, Bourbon and Blues Fest at Mecklenburg Gardens

Saturday, August 19th from noon to midnight – One Year Anniversary Party at The Woodburn Brewery

Saturday, August 19th from noon to midnight – Oktoberfest Biergarten in the Taproom at Braxton Brewing

Saturday, August 19th from 7:00-11:00 pm – Buckeye Beer Bash at Jungle Jim’s

Saturday, August 19th from 7:00-11:30 pm – Newport Baseball Bar Crawl

Sunday, August 20th from noon to 8:00 pm – New England IPA #001 Taproom Release at Braxton Brewing

Hoperatives: This Week In Beer

Blank Slate Brewing Company closes

Blank Slate Brewing Company
#RIP June 2012 – August 2017

This one hurts. A lot.

Blank Slate Brewing Company has closed, effective immediately. Tom Aguero1 and Jesse Folk over at Brew Minds posted this to the Facebook page earlier today:

We have received multiple confirmations that Blank Slate Brewing Co. has ceased operations effective immediately. As one of the original, and best, local breweries – this is truly a loss for the whole region. Please keep Scott and his employees in your thoughts today, as this is surely a hard moment for him and his team.

They wouldn’t put something like that out there unless they were sure, so I started checking around with more than a little bit of dread. And damnit, it checks out. You couldn’t have screwed this one up, guys?

It’s like a death in the family. I’m way too familiar with what that feels like so I know exactly what I’m saying when I say that. I can’t imagine what Scott and everyone else is going through.

Blank Slate is the brewery I’d name if someone asked me to name a favorite brewery. I hate that question because I really don’t have a favorite per se. I spend way more time than is healthy hanging out at breweries and when I do there’s a beer there that, at that moment, is the greatest beer in the world. And I probably went there FOR that beer. So when people won’t let it go, I’d interpret the question as “What brewery are you most in awe of?” And then it was easy: Blank Slate. No question. Scott bootstrapped that place from Day One. You didn’t have to talk to him very long to know the place ran on a razor’s edge financially. He made it work.

Until, apparently, it didn’t.

I don’t know the details. They aren’t any of my business. I know owner Scott LaFollette well enough to know that the decision wasn’t made quickly or impulsively. I’ve never asked him a question where there wasn’t a beat or two while he thought it over before he answered. I know there are things he’d never compromise on. If this is what he thought he had to do, then that’s it. Everybody is going to want to second-guess this. It’s human nature. I get it. But no one had more skin in the game than Scott. I’m not going to insult him by thinking I’m somehow smarter than he is. I will think less of you if you do. I trust he couldn’t come up with a way to make the business work and put out the product he wanted to put out. Scott has integrity. I mourn with him. I don’t criticize him.

I speak of the brewery as if Scott were the only one there. That’s not at all true. The people he hired are top-notch. They made the place what it is … er … was. (Oh, I don’t like this. I don’t like this at all.)

When he had time Scott blogged about the brewery. Just after he opened he wrote this:

The success of Blank Slate Brewing Company is defined by the following (in no particular order):

1. Make the best quality beer that we possibly can.
2. Always be approachable to our customers and never forget where we came from.
3. Further the local beer industry as best we can through our words and actions.
4. Make enough money to pay the bills with enough left over to keep a roof over my family’s head, food on the table, and take my wife on a vacation somewhere farther than 10 miles away sometime in the next 5 years!

The first three were accomplished many, many, many times over. I’m guessing it was that last one that did it. It’s been five years.

So Blank Slate Brewing  is apparently no more. That’s a damned shame. The people who made Blank Slate are still with us.  Thank them. Support them how you can.

There’s a lesson here, as there is in any tragedy. This is what happens when chasing the new and the distant and the rare becomes more important than who’s making it.  You want local?  Support local.  You want great local?  Then support the places that are making great beer. Not the trendy. Not the newest. Not the flavor of the month.

Not everybody is going to make it. The choice of who does is up to you.


1 I’ve been dealing with some medical stuff and missed that Jesse was working with Tom over at Brew Minds now. My apologies for the misattribution.

This Week in Beer: August 7 – 13, 2017

Check out our Better Beer Happy Hours, Etc. page for regularly scheduled events and specials. We are only list events here that are unique for this coming week in beer. Remember to check our Events Calendar throughout the week to see events that are added after our Monday morning publication time.

Monday, August 7th at 5:00 pm – Rare Beer Monday at Braxton Labs

Tuesday, August 8th at 7:00 pm – Tennessee Brew Works Trivia at Hebron Brew Haus

Wednesday, August 9th at 6:00 pm – Braxton Tap Takeover at Goodfella’s OTR

Thursday, August 10th at 6:30 pm – Braxton Tap Takeover at Crafts and Vines

Thursday, August 10th at 7:00 pm – Golden Road Pint Night at Hebron Brew Haus

Friday, August 11th from 5:00-9:00 pm – Weyerbacher Pint Night at Jungle Jim’s Eastgate

Friday, August 11th from 5:00-9:00 pm – Erie Brewing Pint Night at Jungle Jim’s Fairfield

Friday, August 11th at 5:00 pm – Braxton Patio Takeover at Strong’s Brick Oven Pizzeria (Newport)

Friday, August 11th from 5:30-7:00 pm – Friday Night Flights at Party Town

Friday, August 11th at 7:00 pm – Hoots and Hops at Cincinnati Nature Center

Saturday, August 12th at 10:00 am – Team Fiona #3 and Team Bifi Release at Listermann Brewing

Saturday, August 12th at 12:00 noon – Get Funked Up! at Cappy’s Wines and Spirits

Saturday, August 12th at 1:00 pm – Anniversary Party at Darkness Brewing

Saturday, August 12th at 2:00 pm – Rhinegeist Astro Dwarf at Lucky Turtle

Hoperatives: This Week In Beer

This Week in Beer: July 31 – August 6, 2017

Check out our Better Beer Happy Hours, Etc. page for regularly scheduled events and specials. We are only list events here that are unique for this coming week in beer. Remember to check our Events Calendar throughout the week to see events that are added after our Monday morning publication time.

Tuesday, August 1st at 5:00 pm – Rare Beer Monday (ON TUESDAY) at Braxton Labs

Tuesday, August 1st at 6:00 pm – Rhinegeist/Pipeworks Collaboration Launch: Astro Dwarf at The Gas Light Café

Wednesday, August 2nd at 6:00 pm – Summer of Sculpin at Flipdaddy’s Union

Wednesday, August 2nd at 6:00 pm – Fifty West Carolina Gold Kölsch Tapping Party at The Eagle OTR

Thursday, August 3rd from 5:00-10:00 pm – Brew Kettle Pint Night at Cappy’s Wines and Spirits

Thursday, August 3rd at 6:00-9:00 pm – Great Lakes Tasting at BC’s Bottle Lodge

Thursday, August 3rd at 6:00-10:00 pm – Pint Night at Cock & Bull Main Strasse

Thursday, August 3rd at 6:00-10:00 pm – Pint Night at Cock & Bull Glendale

Thursday, August 3rd at 6:00-10:00 pm – Pint Night at Cock & Bull Hyde Park

Thursday, August 3rd at 6:00-10:00 pm – Pint Night at Cock & Bull Clifton

Thursday, August 3rd at 7:00 pm – Sweetwater Pint Night at Hebron Brew Haus

Friday, August 4th from 5:00-9:00 pm – Jackie O’s Pint Night at Jungle Jim’s Eastgate

Friday, August 4th from 5:00-9:00 pm – Fat Head’s Pint Night at Jungle Jim’s Fairfield

Friday, August 4th from 5:30-7:00 pm – Friday Night Flights at Party Town

Friday, August 4th at 6:00 pm – Hazy River NE IPA tapping at Bad Tom Smith Brewing

Friday, August 4th at 6:00 pm – Astro Dwarf Pre Launch Party at BC’s Bottle Lodge

Saturday, August 5th from 5:00-11:30 pm – 5th Annual Made in Cincy Beerfest at Marty’s Hops and Vines

Sunday, August 6th at 6:00 pm – Listermann Brewery Food/Beer Pairing at Delicio Coal Fired Pizza

Hoperatives: This Week In Beer

Quarter Barrel Brewery’s Crowdfunding Campaign

Quarter Barrel Hamilton image
Clicking the image opens the GoFundMe page.
Oxford, OH brewpub Quarter Barrel Brewing announced a $40,000 crowdfunding campaign on July 12. The GoFundMe-based campaign is intended to support the construction of a second, larger, location in Hamilton, OH. Construction at the corner of Main and B streets has begun with plans including a five-barrel brewery, a restaurant with a farm-to-table menu similar to the Oxford location, and a rooftop deck overlooking the Great Miami River and downtown Hamilton. Plans are for the location to open sometime in Fall.

It’s not news that a local brewery is launching a crowdfunding campaign. It would be news, in fact, if a month went by where one of them wasn’t. Besides the familiar Kickstarter and GoFundMe sites, there is at least one crowdfunding platform (CrowdBrewed) specifically dedicated to raising money for breweries.  One analysis of 587 campaigns found that barely half of those efforts succeeded with an average of a just over  $21,000 raised. Play your cards right and  you can await death and taxes in a taproom that was part of an inevitable crowdfunding effort.

How to talk about crowdfunding is also a problem.  We’ve written about efforts here in the past and have reposted  announcements for others on Facebook and Twitter. Carla and I have both contributed to different ones under our own names in the past. We disclose that fact if we write about the campaigns while they’re active.  This particular campaign falls in that category.   We were only asked to publicize the campaign and were not offered (nor would we accept) anything other than whatever is included in our chosen pledge level. But there are so many campaigns. We could never write about — much less contribute to — all of them.

So why talk about any crowdfunding effort at all? Part of what I think sets small, local, breweries apart from their much, much larger kin is the community-building that happens as a result. I’m not aware of any business that wouldn’t be thrilled to have people just send them money. Heck, you can send me money.1 I’m pretty sure I can dig up a sticker somewhere. But that’s not really what these appeals are about. They’re about forging a connection between a brewery and someone who lives in that community.2

Quarter Barrel’s owner and brewer Brandon Ney has captured that sentiment perfectly in his appeal:

If you’ve never opened a restaurant before, then allow us to applaud your life choices. It isn’t cheap. A brewpub, even less so. Taken as a whole, including the build-out and property, the capital outlay for this project is over a million dollars. We are seeking to crowd fund under four percent of the total budget, or about forty thousand dollars.

Crowd funding is like your cousin asking to borrow money that you both know you’ll never see again. But we sincerely reject the idea of asking for something for nothing. So we are offering several considerations in return for your generous donation. This way we all ultimately come away with something: the best restaurant and brewpub in Butler County.

Carla and I have known Brandon through our involvement with the U.S. Open Beer Championships. The only reason we don’t stop at Quarter Barrel when we’re in Oxford is if they’re closed. The beers brewed there are outstanding. The Lavosh flatbreads are the healthiest thing with which I have an unhealthy relationship. There are other things on the menu. I’m sure they’re delicious, but I always get the Lavosh. Oxford technically falls outside the Hoperatives coverage area, but the Hamilton/Middletown/Monroe corridor is becoming a very important part of the Cincinnati beer scene. Quarter Barrel will join Municipal Brew Works in making sure each end of the Main Street bridge is close to a brewery.

Later this week we’ll be featuring a crowdfunding appeal that is equally dear to our hearts. Stay tuned.


1 But if you’re liking the idea of sending us money, remember you can always leave a tip over there in the right sidebar. Just saying.
2Please don’t misunderstand me. We have breweries here in town that serve large regions and still make community-building central to their efforts. Crowdfunding is one way to build a personal connection. It’s not the only way.

 

This Week in Beer: July 24 – 30, 2017

Check out our Better Beer Happy Hours, Etc. page for regularly scheduled events and specials. We are only list events here that are unique for this coming week in beer. Remember to check our Events Calendar throughout the week to see events that are added after our Monday morning publication time.

Tuesday, July 25th at 4:00 pm – Keylime Pie and Vanilla Keypunch Bottle Release at Urban Artifact

Tuesday, July 25th at 7:00 pm – Braxton Trivia Night at Hebron Brew Haus

Wednesday, July 26th at 4:15 pm – Woltermelon Blonde Release at Municipal Brew Works

Wednesday, July 26th from 6:00-9:00 pm – Terrapin Tasting at Marty’s Hops and Vines

Wednesday, July 26th from 6:00-9:00 pm – Braxton Pint Night at Habits Café

Wednesday, July 26th from 6:00-10:00 pm – Ballast Point Sour Wench Tapping at Pies and Pints at the Banks

Wednesday, July 26th at 6:30 pm – Summer Beer Dinner with The Jaded Fork at Streetside Brewery

Wednesday, July 26th at 7:00 pm – Monthly Keg Tapping at Hofbräuhaus Newport

Thursday, July 27th-Saturday, July 29th – Sixpoint Tap Takeover at Cappy’s Wines and Spirits

Thursday, July 27th at 6:00-9:00 pm – Latitude 42 Tasting at BC’s Bottle Lodge

Thursday, July 27th at 6:00-10:00 pm – Wooden Cask 7th St Run Off Pint Night at Cock & Bull Main Strasse

Thursday, July 27th at 6:00-10:00 pm – Taft’s :0027 Lager Pint Night at Cock & Bull Glendale

Thursday, July 27th at 6:00-10:00 pm – Great Divide White Water Pint Night at Cock & Bull Main Hyde Park

Thursday, July 27th at 7:00 pm – Urban Artifact Beer Dinner at Coppin’s

Thursday, July 27th at 7:00 pm – Shiner Toast Our Troops Pint Night at Hebron Brew Haus

Thursday, July 27th at 7:00 pm – Fifty West Golden Ticket Beer Dinner at Arnold’s Bar and Grill

Friday, July 28th from 5:00-9:00 pm – ? Pint Night at Jungle Jim’s Eastgate

Friday, July 28th from 5:00-9:00 pm – Founders Pint Night at Jungle Jim’s Fairfield

Friday, July 28th from 5:30-7:00 pm – Friday Night Flights at Party Town

Friday, July 28th from 6:00-11:00 pm – Little Kings Draftstravaganza at Arnold’s Bar and Grill

Friday, July 28th from 6:00pm-Midnight – Fat Head’s Tap Takeover at BC’s Bottle Lodge

Hoperatives: This Week In Beer

This Week in Beer: July 17 – 23, 2017

Check out our Better Beer Happy Hours, Etc. page for regularly scheduled events and specials. We are only list events here that are unique for this coming week in beer. Remember to check our Events Calendar throughout the week to see events that are added after our Monday morning publication time.

Tuesday, July 18th from 7:00-10 pm – New Belgium Taco Tuesday & Open Jam at Calle Cantina

Wednesday, July 19th-Tuesday, August 1st – MadTree Brewing Hump Day Hops at Dickmann’s Sports Cafe

Wednesday, July 19th from 5:00-8:00 pm – Brewing Heritage Trail Crowdfunding Launch Event at Christian Moerlein Malt House

Wednesday, July 19th at 6:30 pm – Braxton Trivia Night and Tap Takeover at The Gruff

Wednesday, July 19th at 8:00 pm – Dale’s Pale Ale 16oz. CAN Sessions at Cappy’s Wine and Spirits

Thursday, July 20th from 5:00-10:00 pm – New Holland Pint Night at Cappy’s Wines and Spirits

Thursday, July 20th from 5:30-7:30 pm – Bell’s Brewery Tasting at Cappy’s Norwood

Thursday, July 20th at 6:00-9:00 pm – Municipal Brew Works Pint Night at BC’s Bottle Lodge

Thursday, July 20th at 6:00-10:00 pm – Lagunitas A Little Sumpin’ Extra Pint Night at Cock & Bull Main Strasse

Thursday, July 20th at 6:00-10:00 pm – Southern Tier Nu Skool Pint Night at Cock & Bull Glendale

Thursday, July 20th at 6:00-10:00 pm – Two Brothers Able Weiss Pint Night at Cock & Bull Main Hyde Park

Thursday, July 20th at 7:00 pm – Leinenkugel’s Pint Night at Hebron Brew Haus

Thursday, July 20th at 7:00 pm – Braxton Pint Night at Longnecks (Wilder and Hebron)

Friday, July 21st at 5:00 pm – Local Friday Featuring Warped Wing at Cappy’s Wines and Spirits

Friday, July 21st from 5:30-7:00 pm – Friday Night Flights at Party Town

Saturday, July 22nd at 10:00 am – Chillin’ Can Release at Streetside Brewery

Saturday, July 22nd from 10:00 am-2:00 pm – OHGG 3rd Annual Statewide Hop Yard Open House

Saturday, July 22nd at 5:00 pm – Bell’s Summer Essentials Patio Party at Cappy’s Wines and Spirits

Hoperatives: This Week In Beer

This Week in Beer: July 10 – 16, 2017

Check out our Better Beer Happy Hours, Etc. page for regularly scheduled events and specials. We are only list events here that are unique for this coming week in beer. Remember to check our Events Calendar throughout the week to see events that are added after our Monday morning publication time.

Monday, July 10th – Happy anniversary to us! (Tom and Carla, not Hoperatives)

Tuesday, July 11th at 5:00 pm – Tart N’Tasty Tap Takeover at Lucky Dog Grille

Wednesday, July 12th at 6:00 pm – Moonlight Meadery Tasting at Marty’s Hops and Vines

Wednesday, July 12th at 6:00 pm – Clash of the Newbies Fig Leaf Brewing and Streetside Brewery at Habits Café

Wednesday, July 12th at 7:00 pm – Christmas in July Keg Tap at Hofbräuhaus Newport

Thursday, July 13th-Saturday, July 15th – Rhinegeist Tap Takeover at Cappy’s Wines and Spirits

Thursday, July 13th from 5:00-8:00 pm – Brewing Heritage Trail Crowdfunding Launch Event at OTR Biergarten

Thursday, July 13th at 6:00-9:00 pm – March First Brewing Tasting at BC’s Bottle Lodge

Thursday, July 13th at 6:00-10:00 pm – Tennessee Extra Dry Pint Night at Cock & Bull Main Strasse

Thursday, July 13th at 6:00-10:00 pm – Avery White Rascal Pint Night at Cock & Bull Glendale

Thursday, July 13th at 6:00-10:00 pm – Sixpoint Resin Pint Night at Cock & Bull Main Hyde Park

Thursday, July 13th at 7:00 pm – Upland Pint Night at Hebron Brew Haus

Friday, Month Day from 5:00-9:00 pm – Stone Pint Night at Jungle Jim’s Eastgate

Friday, Month Day from 5:30-7:00 pm – Friday Night Flights at Party Town

Hoperatives: This Week In Beer

This Week in Beer: July 3 – 9, 2017

Check out our Better Beer Happy Hours, Etc. page for regularly scheduled events and specials. We are only list events here that are unique for this coming week in beer. Remember to check our Events Calendar throughout the week to see events that are added after our Monday morning publication time.

Tuesday, July 4th – HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!

Tuesday, July 4th at noon – NSYC 4th Of July USA Beer & Burger Party Rhinegeist Tap Takeover at North Side Yacht Club

Thursday, July 6th from 3:00-11:00 pm – Tap & Screw Madisonville Grand Opening Party

Thursday, July 6th from 5:00-10:00 pm – Tröegs Pint Night at Cappy’s Wines and Spirits

Thursday, July 6th at 6:00-9:00 pm – Victory Brewing Tasting at BC’s Bottle Lodge

Thursday, July 6th at 6:00-10:00 pm – Pint Night at Cock & Bull Main Strasse

Thursday, July 6th at 6:00-10:00 pm – Pint Night at Cock & Bull Glendale

Thursday, July 6th at 6:00-10:00 pm – Pint Night at Cock & Bull Main Hyde Park

Thursday, July 6th at 7:00 pm – Sam Adams Pint Night at Hebron Brew Haus

Friday, July 7th from 5:00-9:00 pm – MadTree Pint Night at Jungle Jim’s Eastgate

Friday, July 7th from 5:00-9:00 pm – MadTree Pint Night at Jungle Jim’s Fairfield

Friday, July 7th from 5:30-7:00 pm – Friday Night Flights at Party Town

Saturday, July 8th at 10:00 am – Barrel-Aged Bottle Release at the Woodburn Brewery

Saturday, July 8th at 10:00 am – Team Fiona #2 NE IPA Release at Listermann Brewing

Saturday, July 8th from 2:00-10:00 pm – Weyerbacher/North High Collaboration Tapping at Cappy’s Wine and Spirits

Saturday, July 8th at 5:00 pm – Schutzenfest Kolsch Release Party at the Lucky Turtle

Hoperatives: This Week In Beer

Where Do We Go From Here?

“You’re the Hoperatives, right?”

I’m sitting at the bar having lunch with a friend the other day. It’s a  cozy place I like a lot and don’t get to often enough. We were actually on our way somewhere else when a fruitless attempt at avoiding holiday traffic put us out front. The point was to have lunch and catch up and my friend had never been there before. There was a convenient parking spot out front, so I called an audible and here we were.

We’d both ordered a beer and the owner overheard us talking about them. It’d been forever since I’d been there, but he remembered me. There was a thing he wanted to bend my ear about.  The three of us wound up talking about it and about a dozen other things on and off for the rest of the time we were there. We eventually decided we need to get back to other things. We paid our bill and we were on our way. It was a thoroughly pleasant experience.

The owner had frequently apologized for joining our conversation and we’d both assured him it was fine. The topic was interesting, but it’s not what this is about. The point of this story is that things like this happen all the time. The only thing a little unusual about the other day is that Carla wasn’t there. We’ve both noticed we’re more likely to be recognized when we’re together than when we’re solo. It’s become a part of our lives.

Yesterday was a bit of a milestone for Hoperatives. We turned eight-and-a-half. Anyone who’s ever been an eight-year-old knows it’s very important to recognize that half year. Carla and I will have been married 19 years in just over a week. Intellectually I understand that we’d been married more than 10 years before we ever started working on this, but I honestly don’t remember what it was like not having Hoperatives be part of our identity. I don’t know if that’s actually a good thing mental-health-wise, but mental health has never been my strong suit, so I’m OK with it.

I know this is sounding a little like a eulogy. Or maybe a lot like a eulogy. That’s not the point of this either. We’re not shutting down Hoperatives. Not today, anyway. What we are doing with it is an open question. That’s the point of this. Where do we go from here? (Hey!  I have a title!)

An occupational hazard of being human is that you develop these little scripts to get you across the social landscape from Point A to Point B. The one that applies here is the one about how there were only four breweries and one brewpub in Cincinnati when we started. When we told people what we were doing we got one of two questions (that we still get to this day): “Do you sell hops?” 1and “Do you home brew?”2. Carla has described Hoperatives as an informational website for several years now. When someone asks me what it is I freeze like a deer in the headlights. I never quite know what to say. Then again, that’s true of most things people ask me about.

The thing is, “Why Hoperatives?” has always been a little vague. Over the years we’ve done things and then stopped doing them when there didn’t seem to be a need for it anymore. We used to give out Hoperatives numbers. If you search for “Roll Call” in the search box over there to the right you can still find it. More than 400 folks have asked for a number over the years, but we never really had any plans for what to do with them other than thinking it was a fun idea. If you have a Hoperatives number you’ll be happy to know that there is no list of email addresses associated with it. There’s no danger of spam because we never got that organized.

Eight years ago today. An unplanned coincidence. Also:  6:36 AM?

We used to do Hoperatives Happenings as a way for people to gather and geek out about beer without having the overhead of a beer dinner. We introduced folks (and ourselves) to places that embraced better beer. We stopped doing them when it became too hard to schedule them because there were too many other events going on. There just wasn’t a need anymore. So we stopped.

We did a blogging conference in conjunction with the Cincy Winter Beerfest for a couple of years. By the end of the second one we knew there wasn’t a reason to have a third. It was pretty obvious “Peak Blogging”  had come and gone.

More than a dozen people have written for us at one time or another. “Traveling Tuesdays” came out of the fact that many of us sought out better beer locations when we were traveling for business or pleasure. But folks have lives. They move on. They have jobs and families. Loving beer and writing about beer are two different things. Most of the regular writers were friends before they wrote for us. Now they’re friends who used to write for us. The right thing remains.

We used to do previews of new local places and beer reviews.  The reviews stopped early on because it’s a rat hole you can never climb out of. People love the reviews they agree with and hate the ones they don’t.  Thus it was, is, and ever shall be. Since we weren’t trying to change anyone’s mind, it seemed like a lot of effort for no good end.  News faded out more slowly.  All of our major local print publications do a great job with beer as a beat, as do several of the broadcast outlets. By the time we quit doing news, we were pretty much just running press releases.

So what’s Hoperatives now? Here on the site, it’s mostly event listings. It’s incomplete because it relies on a very few people emailing us, but otherwise it’s an aggregation of events that Carla finds posted on Facebook. A weekly summary gets sent out to a mailing list. We have a Twitter account that I update on occasion and Carla handles the Facebook side. We’ve suspected for some time that the Facebook reach is much wider than the site. It definitely triggers more social interaction. Perhaps because that’s what it’s designed for? Facebook wasn’t close to being the media gatekeeper it is now when we launched, but now it is.

There’s really only one thing that’s been a constant with Hoperatives: We’ve never turned a profit doing it. That’s not a complaint. We never had a plan and we’ve executed it flawlessly.  There was a time we were part of the Cincinnati Enquirer‘s blog network and that mostly covered the hosting fees and a bit more. That ended a couple of years ago when they changed their strategy. We haven’t — and won’t — run the numbers but over its life there’s no way it’s been anything but a loss financially.  Then again, so are Bengals season tickets. I think we’re ahead on that.

I don’t think I’m exaggerating by saying Hoperatives has changed our lives for the better. You probably can’t say that. It would, be kind of weird if you could. Many, many, many of you have told us how much you appreciate what we do. That’s different.  I’m proud of the perch we’ve had watching the beer scene mature here. We’ve been welcomed by brewers, distributors, and fans. Once in a while, we’ve been able to be part of bringing the parts together. A small part. I can’t honestly say there’s anything that wouldn’t have happened in the beer scene had we not existed. And that’s as it should be. We’ve been more than fortunate.

I said earlier that this isn’t a eulogy, but it’s also not a “business-as-usual” post. Hoperatives has to evolve or go away. We’ve been close to hanging it up a couple of times but it seems we find something new to start doing and run with that. Maybe we will this time. Maybe we won’t. What I can say is that we have until Sunday, December 31, 2017 to figure it out. That will be nine years to the day since we put up our first test post to make sure I’d gotten WordPress installed correctly. By that date, we figure out what we can do to be a unique part of the Cincinnati beer scene, or we call it a whatever-you-call-nine-years. We don’t know what that will be. If we did, I’d be working on that instead of writing this. We like being a resource. We’re committed to the Cincinnati beer community. It has to be something that’s worth the time we invest. Beyond that, it’s just spit-balling at this point.

We’ll come up with something or we won’t. We’re always open to talking ideas over a beer.


1  No.
2  Not really. There are so many professionals out there willing to do it for me in exchange for small amounts of money.