Beer Society turns 3, records 100th episode of radio show
In August 2017, a group of craft beer enthusiasts gathered at the old Proof Brewing location in Railroad Square and discussed this newly formed coalition called the "Tallahassee Beer Society."
And the questions flew:
"So what IS the Tallahassee Beer Society?" and "What's the next move?" and "What is the end goal?"
Those questions were asked while we were sharing many, many, MANY beers. So while those were all valid inquiries, none of them were fully answered that night — nor did anyone honestly know what this upstart collection of craft beer fans would amount to.
But we were able to take away three things about the direction of TLHBS from that night:
1. Tallahassee's craft beer scene, with the addition of Ology Brewing opening one month earlier at the time, was still relatively small — but it was definitely mighty. And since all 5 Tallahassee breweries were in their own lane — doing their own thing -- it felt like we needed a "Beer Society" to help aggregate all the haps and news into one place. We'd seen it work in other cities like Jacksonville and Tampa, so why not Tallahassee?
3. We wanted to see "Tallahassee win." And that meant we wanted our awesome craft beer scene to give those living here a sense of pride, and those who had moved away something exciting to come home to. But maybe most of all, we wanted Tallahassee to be known for more than politics and football; we wanted it to become a craft beer destination.
Fast forward three years later, and we've accomplished all of those goals — and then some.
In January 2018, we approached the Tallahassee Democrat about writing a bi-weekly craft beer column that covered all the happenings on our local scene — and the answer from Editor William Hatfield was immediate: "OK, let's do it." Some 130+ columns — and tens of thousands of words later — our twice-a-month "Around The Brew Bend" articles have become a staple in the Limelight section.
And as of last week, we're proud to say we just hosted our milestone 100th show!
On it, we interviewed Marcus Baskerville, the owner of Weathered Souls Brewing in Texas and the architect of the worldwide "Black is Beautiful" movement, which saw over 1,000 breweries across the globe join together to brew an imperial stout and donate the profits to local organizations in their communities that tackle issues like racial inequality and social injustice.
And to give you an idea just how big a deal it was for us to interview Marcus, just days before our show, he sat down with the New York Times for a front-page profile piece that's due out soon.
Three years ago, we never imagined something like this was possible. But thanks to some hard-earned craft beer street cred around the state and country, and assistance from friends in the beer community we've helped build, we were now able to attract huge guests like Marcus. Yet, at the same time, we stayed true to our roots for Show #100 by still tying it all back to Tallahassee.
Paul Woodward, co-owner of Ology Brewing — our only local brewery participating in the B.I.B. initiative — also joined us to discuss their decision to get involved in the collaboration and what he hoped it would accomplish right here at home.
"All of us at Ology follow what's going on in the world broadly, and obviously the Black Lives Matter movement was happening. We also follow what's happening in the craft beer world. We saw this Black Is Beautiful collab, contacted them, and said, 'We want to do this, and we support you,' " Woodward told us on the show. "We also wanted to get the community involved because when you buy the beer, the money goes to the Village Square's 'Local Color' program, which has been around and working on these issues for years. So we wanted to support them in hopes it will make our local community better, and take a step in the right direction (in Tallahassee) to do our part globally."
- Supported numerous local organizations through bottle share fundraisers, raising over $25,000 for area charities.
- Become the official craft beer arm of tourism giant Visit Tallahassee, which included us in their recent "2020 Visitor's Guide" as the local experts on our craft beer scene.
- Partnered with local food truck turned restaurant, Tally Mac Shack, for "Road Shows" at breweries across Florida to promote our local scene.
- Partnered with the Tallahassee-Leon County Office of Economic Vitality and Deep Brewing to highlight the 25th Anniversary of Tallahassee's National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (MagLab) and remind folks that Tallahassee is The Magnetic Capital of the World.
- Collaborated on specialty beers with our local breweries.
- Helped organize beer festivals, including gathering all 12 of the area breweries we cover from North Florida and South Georgia under one roof for the first time ever during last year's Elder Care Services Oktoberfest
- Provided internship opportunities to FSU students for college credit, and
- Purchased the Tallahassee Brew Bus, which — due to the coronavirus — has been grounded (like most everything else) since March. But fear not: The bus will be back!
So here we are, three years after that gathering at Proof, where we sought to define WHAT the Tallahassee Beer Society is. And while we may not have a definitive answer to that question yet, we now have a clearer idea of our purpose and role in this great community. We're proud of all we've been able to accomplish to help raise the visibility of our local breweries, our craft beer scene, and, ultimately, see Tallahassee win.
But we are no longer THE Tallahassee Beer Society; we are now YOUR Tallahassee Beer Society.
And the best news of all is this: Thanks to your support, we're just getting warmed up.
Danny Aller is the co-founder, along with Matthew Crumbaker, of the TLH Beer Society, a group of avid craft beer lovers. Reach the Beer Society on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or email: email@example.com.