Guys Drinking Beer began innocently enough; three guys sitting around a handful of cellared beers, tasting glasses being poured, when one of us wondered aloud – “maybe we should start a craft beer website?”
One hosting package, one URL, a bunch of potential site designs and a whole bunch of potential site names later (after a flurry of emails where one of us broke down and said “why don’t we just call the damn thing ‘we’re guys and we like to drink beer and this is us drinking beer and writing about it dot-com‘”) GuysDrinkingBeer.com was born.
That was the spring of 2010. Our little corner of the web grew from a simple beginning; if we drank it, then we wrote about it. Hard to find beers, seasonal beers, beers sitting in the back of our fridge – you name it and we probably reviewed it.
After a year of relentless, and sometimes tiring, beer reviews we shifted – somewhat by choice and somewhat by accident – into advocacy. 2011 was the year of “Save The Craft,” the grassroots movement we launched from the ground up to support self-distribution rights for small craft brewers in Illinois. The months-long campaign included almost daily coverage of the legislation’s movement in Springfield, outreach to fellow beer bloggers and a full-on educational blitz about the issue. The end result was the passage of a compromise (read not perfect) piece of legislation that kept self-distribution rights intact in Illinois and extended the right to small brewers in other states.
In 2012 we decided to expand on the political coverage that began with “Save The Craft” to include legislation impacting the beverage industry in the state, litigation involving brewers and distributors and the bitter dispute before the Illinois Liquor Control Commission over whether Anheuser-Busch could hold a minority interest in an Illinois distributor.
We also teamed up with one of our favorite craft beer bars, The Green Lady, to sponsor our first Chicago Craft Beer Week Event in May of 2012. “South of 80,” highlighted established and up-and-coming craft brewers south of Chicago, or, south of Interstate 80. We handled everything from scouting out and securing the breweries to take part, marketing prior to the event and the logistics to get each breweries beers from point A to point B using a chain of distributors.
On the heels of “South of 80″ Six Row Brewing inked a distribution deal with the distributor we worked with for the event, Chicago Beverage Systems, making its beers available in Chicago full-time by the end of the year.
We still review beers but have toned down the frequency with a focus on quality over quantity. In fact, we have limited our reviews almost exclusively to new products entering the Illinois market and cellared beers from our personal cellar.
What’s in store here in 2013 and beyond?
That’s a great question, considering all we initially set out to do was review beer and essentially fell into the advocacy, news coverage and event planning that’s followed.
We suppose you should just grab a cold beer, sit back and enjoy the ride with us.
If you’d like to learn more about us individually, follow these links.