It’s a journey, this beer. Going backwards into the past and forwards towards something else at the same time. Already, I’ve felt a struggle to define what Sahalie is, what meaning can be placed upon this business, this quest. What does it stand for? What is sustainability? What is quality? What is beer?
Who am I, anyway?
Yikes. I’ll get back to you on that one… Now, there are typical behaviors in the production of malted beverages that occur in all sorts of other businesses. Behaviors that have to do with convenience, tradition, cost savings, etc. It is rare to see evidence of this business process in the advertising or literature surrounding the purchase item. For many items that we purchase, cost is the final decision-maker. Do we really care where our kitchen degreaser was manufactured, let alone how? Even with food, we are willing to buy fresh produce from far away with little to no thought concerning what actually went in to getting the stuff out of the field and transported continents away. This information, if made visible, might cause the consumer to reject the product. Bad for business? Or good for business practices?
Both, perhaps! Our ‘Sahalie as a microcosm’ is one way for us to look closely at this behavior to see if it really matters. Or, more specifically, where (and how) do we draw the line? There is an abundance of these lines to draw as we define this beer, this business. Quality vs. Local is a huge one. Initially, my thought was to produce Sahalie entirely from resources found within the state of Oregon. This is currently not possible (I am drawing these lines in pencil so they can hopefully be erased and moved at a later date…). As consumers, our ‘trust’ is a commodity to the businesses we support. Some manipulate that trust, others take it for granted. Great businesses honor it. Meanwhile, we are still left to determine “Is this product really what I think it is?”
In our timeline, looking back, I have a unique occurrence in my past. My grandfather and my great-grandfather (on my mother’s side) and my father all owned and operated small businesses. In fact, they all were pharmacists. This was just a coincidence until I came across an old German proverb that states, “The brewery is the best drugstore”. It got me thinking. Sure, the sedative effects of our friend alcohol was used as a painkiller, sleeping aid, health promoter, etc. back in the day, but what else is instilled in that phrase? Trust. These 3 men all based their business on trust. They were pillars of their communities, offering their time, knowledge, and services to those around them. Each one of them stayed in the same location for over a generation, witnessing the growth of families and communities. When their shops finally closed their doors, it was a day of mourning for many because they were losing a valuable and trusted ally in their daily life. In the end, it was these men who were their own product, taking the understanding and knowledge of their field and helping others sort through it. This is exactly what I am building this brewery and beer upon…I’m taking over the family business of trust and applying it to ale.
How authentic can we make it??! Pictures to come.