Not five minutes before writing this, I got another one: a Facebook message from an eager homebrewer announcing his intent to open a commercial brewery. Instead of being happy for this gentleman (whose beers I admit are quite good), I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of annoyance. With all due admiration for ambition, entrepreneurial spirit and the desire to advance the cause of craft beer, I’m getting a little sick of hearing from everyone who’s ever unstuck a mash that he’s trying to be the next Ken Grossman.
Most of these projects will not (and in some cases, should not ) get off the drawing board, which is why I’m doubly impressed when I hear that some eager homebrewer who’s planning to open a brewery actually has a space, maybe a license and even a piece of equipment or two.
Enter Broken Goblet Brewing, a company run by four guys who are currently building out a section of a co-working space in a Bristol industrial park. They have four named beers, they have a real-life website, they have branded T-shirts and they have, by gum, a brewery and tasting room they’re hoping to open by the end of the year.
Perhaps contributing to its ability to progress, Broken Goblet started in an unusual way: as a club. Co-owners Mike LaCouture and Jay Grosse formed The Brewtal Beer Club as a way to generate support, test their beers and try out their marketing. Within six months the club grew to 30 “members,” hosted events with upwards of 100 and supplied the remaining two owner/brewers. They planned to open the Brewtal brewery and brewpub until fate intervened in the form of lawyers and a trademark infringement suit.
As LaCouture tells it in an email, “A certain west coast brewery with a good deal more disposable cash, who shall remain nameless, decided that they would fight us on the name … and so we were forced to scrap everything and start from scratch or go broke fighting it out in court. One of our brewers used to carry a goblet around with him with our logo on it, and the night he heard the news … he smashed the goblet on the ground. We all looked down, stared at the broken goblet, and realized we had found our new name.”
Broken Goblet or Brewtal: whatever name they end up with, maybe when they officially open, they’ll christen the space like a ship: by smashing a bottle – or in this case, a goblet – across its façade.
Broken Goblet Brewing [Facebook]