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107. Like Announcements? We Got Plenty Right Here.
Changes at Hugging the Bar, a beer science panel you don't want to miss, a whole darn beer tarot ZINE(!); plus the Lovibond Project announces its interns, and tarot for endings and new beginnings.
You may have noticed this here newsletter is hitting your inboxes less frequently than before. At first this was due to lots of travel, but it will now most likely be by design and ongoing. You see, my dear readers, when I was recently away for three weeks, I was still working a bit, but really pulled away from the daily grind—the whole lifestyle of not just working a lot, but of filling nearly every one of the actually free moments with thinking about work—for the first time and the longest time. And doing so allowed a real oof-magoof of an epiphany to hit: About half of my weekly workload generates no income. I think this is quite common for freelancers and creatives. We want to explore different projects, gain experience in new fields, and, of course, we need to promote our work. Our calendars start to fill with things in these areas that we at first see as all part of the big picture, even though we survive based on every hour we work or every project we work on being billable. It’s frankly untenable. Some flexing of creative muscles is good in every sense, and some level of promotion will never stop being essential for these lines of work, but they simply cannot eat up as many hours as I know they do for lots of us.
This newsletter, unfortunately, falls under this umbrella. I started it with the rosiest of rose-colored glasses, barely thinking about money. I wanted to write beer stories traditional media outlets wouldn’t run, I wanted to get personal, I wanted to be able to really keep DEI-related issues at the core, I wanted to foster community. I make my living writing, and this newsletter is writing, so I figured at some point, I’d find ways to monetize it to some extent. But over the months and then years, the time I put into this newsletter ballooned and the money, well, did not. A lot of that is my own doing—so much of what Hugging the Bar is about is accessibility and inclusivity, so I just can’t get behind the idea of putting more content behind a paywall. And I truly cannot express how much I appreciate the heck out of my OG Patreon patrons and more recent paid Substack subscribers, but it’s just not amounting to enough for me to actually be able to afford the current amount of time I’ve been putting in here.
I think, too, that my sense of burnout this newsletter has contributed to (because there are certainly other projects to blame!) has become apparent in more recent issues, and I, uh, don’t love that. I mean, I’ve written way too much about “how to fall back in love with craft beer.” It’s like, if you have to keep revisiting this topic, your methods are clearly not working, sweetie! I want to give you fun, interesting, conversation-starting, and hopefully frequently inclusion-fostering issues. I do not want to give you issues where I’m apparently trying to rally myself up to writing about beer in the first place.
The solution to both interwoven pain points, I believe, is cutting back. The thought of ending Hugging the Bar all together definitely lurks near the surface, especially as peers have made similar changes in their work in recent months. But it just always makes me sad to fully embrace the idea of pulling the plug. When I feel motivated, I truly love writing this damned thing. I love connecting with y’all. I love talking about beer and drinks and the culture and community around it. I’d truly miss this platform. So, to be able to sustain doing this, and honestly to give you better content, which you deserve, I’ll be sending issues out less frequently, probably every other week, and they’ll be shorter. I do want to note that if you are a paying subscriber and wish to cancel that, absolutely let me know. I’m changing the specifics of what you signed up for and I just want you to be happy with what you’re getting.
And so…idk, onward? Onward!
Come Geek Out on Beer Science!
I am beyond excited to announce that I’m hosting a panel for one of my all-time favorite annual events, the Chicago Brewseum’s Beer Culture Summit. On Friday, October 20, at 11am Central Time, join us for The Science Shaping Tomorrow’s Beer. I’ll be chatting with Laura Burns, Ph.D., Director of Research and Development at Omega Yeast; Hollie Stephens, a freelance writer who has written for outlets including Good Beer Hunting, Pellicle, Craft Beer & Brewing, and more; and Emily Tietje-Wang, founder, laboratory overlord, and TTB-certified brewing chemist of Fermly. We’ll discuss what they’re working on, potential impacts, why the science happening often behind the scenes in beer is so worthy of the spotlight, and more. See you there—and bring your questions about all things beer science!
Go All In on Beer Tarot
Holy hell, people, this one is so very exciting. David Nilsen and Melinda Guerra of Midnight Productions, LLC, creators and publishers of the fantastic Bean to Barstool and Final Gravity zines, have given me the opportunity to write an entire zine on craft beer + tarot. This was an absolute thrill, and I got to dive into this big passion of mine and find out just how many fascinating stories are indeed happening at this intersection. Not only are there of course a whole bunch of beer tarot readings—like you get in these newsletter issues but a bit deeper, and paired with beer experiences to seek out—but there’s a story on Belgium’s Brasserie l’Ermitage, a dive into TRVE Brewing’s tarot cards via a chat with co-owner and COO EJ Nunns and brewery graphic designer and artist Max Sherman (TRVE’s cards, beautiful photos of them, feature throughout the zine), a history of tarot, and a conversation with the brilliant Stephanie Grant that is so fun.
Of course, this was all not only made possible but brought just magically to life by the genius design and execution—true, blue, DIY zine-style—of David and Melinda. This zine looks so amazing, I just cannot wait for people to see it. It will officially release on October 18, but you can preorder now! It’s $10, and you can get it at Bean to Barstool here. Preorders get free shipping! Stay tuned here for lots more updates and info as we roll this out, promote it, and have fun with it.
Congratulations to the Lovibond Project’s Interns!
The Lovibond Project, an educational and vocational program geared at supporting and helping professionally develop BIPOC interested in craft beer careers, has announced its two interns who will kick the initiative’s mission off with their internships at Other Half Brewing this month. There were apparently lots of applicants for this program, so this is a huge accomplishment, and considering the impact this initiative stands to make, this is all obviously quite exciting! Big congrats to Anita Okoye (who is currently freelancing as a comic book editor, how absolutely cool is that?) and Travis Andrew Cameron. I can’t wait to see the rad things both do, and I of course can’t wait to keep watching the Lovibond Project do its incredible work. In fact, if you’re able, please support that work with a donation of any size!
Y’all. Y’ALL. I am gooped, I am gagged. To pull Death for this issue of all issues…let’s just say this is perfect. Because Death, you see, speaks to us of, yes, the end of a certain situation/phase/relationship, but one that leads then to a new stage, born of a new level of self-awareness. So, this really reflects the little journey I went on to decide to scale back on Hugging the Bar, and now, I feel confident in my choice and truly excited about how this will allow the newsletter to continue improving and accomplishing new things.
Think of this as a signal of transformation in your life. Maybe you’re already going through it—ending a job or relationship or project, feeling disconnected to an interest you once loved, etc.—or, maybe, you need to go through it. Maybe you’ve just been feeling off lately but haven’t zeroed in on why. It might be time to close a door in your life, of course to then open a new one. Death calls on you to end something that is no longer serving you and what you want for and from your life. In fact, this stage or relationship might be what’s holding you back, and you need to fully put it behind you in order to really digest all the exciting opportunities and options and potential out there just waiting for you. Reflect on what in your life may have run its course, and what moving on from that might mean in terms of positive next steps. Death: What a time to be alive!
NOLA Brewing has a pale ale called Rebirth, which is a great way to think of the Death tarot card—it really is more of a rebirth opportunity. And fittingly, it looks like NOLA uses Rebirth as the base for other brewing experiments, meaning it gets to take on new lives with new styles and new flavors.
This Week’s Boozy Media Rec
The most exciting news I saw all week was that the National Black Brewers Association had set October 10 as Black Brewers Day. The day is in honor of the Black trailblazers in beer history, and is also a powerful day of inspiration for present and future trailblazers. It has a specific significance, too, as it’s the anniversary of when Theodore A. Mack, Sr. acquired Oshkosh, Wisconsin’s People Brewing Company. Ted Mack became the first Black brewery president in the country, and the brewery was the first Black-owned brewery in the US. So, what better time to dive into Mack’s story? John Holl has a Drink Beer, Think Beer episode interviewing Clint Lanier, author of Ted Mack and America’s First Black Owned Brewery: The Rise and Fall of Peoples Beer, and you can also read a bit about the book and Mack here, on All About Beer.
Ex-BEER-ience of the Week
Fall’s not fall until I get to drink a pumpkin ale at Great Barn Brewery’s New Hope taproom. A little patio and green lawn tumble down to the canal, this patch of peacefulness right in the middle of New Hope’s charming bustle. This weekend’s pumpkin ale was just the right amount of sweet, without veering into too-heavy territory. Happy autumn, indeed.
Until next time, here’s Darby in her autumn element.