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Maine Beer Co.’s Dan Kleban is a ardent independent with a knack for hops and a company-wide commitment to treading lightly on the planet. In this conversation with Jamie Bogner, he discusses how to make sustainability a driving value for the business and not just lip service, the way a brewery’s values may even impact the flavor of their beer, growing in a smart and purposeful way, their decision to stick with an iconic glass package despite a market shift to cans, the challenge of meeting customer demands for their most limited beers while not overplaying their hand, developing brewhouse techniques and designing beers based on the intended sales format, building strong relationships with hops growers, and the thriving optimism of craft beer making in the United States.
“We’re not robots, we’re human beings, and we experience things on many different levels,” said Kleban. “The objective flavor of a beer… is important, but there are things that are more important. And that’s the unquantifiable quality to the products that we buy, that we drink, that we eat, that we put on our bodies that resonates with people on a deeper level. I can go from good beer to good beer—if I don’t have an allegiance to a brewery other than the fact that they make good beer, I’m just just going to keep going to different breweries, right? What keeps me going back time and again to the same thing? It’s more than just what I’m drinking, or wearing, or eating—it’s that my values align. I want to support somebody whose values align with mine. And I think that’s a very common human trait. We don’t want to support things we don’t believe in, and we do want to support things we do believe in. And that kind of support has very little to do with the objective quality of the product.”
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This podcast is sponsored by the Brewers Retreat.