Exclusive: Lagunitas Founder Tony Magee Addresses Beer Bigwigs

By Andy Sparhawk

CraftBeer.com has been given the exclusive opportunity to share the content of a presentation by Tony Magee, founder of Lagunitas Brewing Company, originally given at the 2012 Beer Marketer’s Insights Seminar in New York City.

For those who are familiar with Tony (Twitter: @LagunitasT) or his craft-brewed beers—including IPA, Pils, Pale, A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale, Hop Stoopid and WTF (short for Wilco Tango Foxtrot)—you already know that he’s progressive, creative, passionate and a free and open thinker.

Read Tony Magee’s Full Presentation

This talk was presented to an estimated 300 beer business professionals including distributors, investors and employees of both large and small breweries. In what was referred to on Twitter by one attendee as: “poetry from the podium,” here some highlights of his speech:

“I could talk on any business and brew-related topic for hours, but this is a unique chance to not only talk to a group of my peers in the craft beer business, but also to share something meaningful with the large-scale leaders of the larger beer industry. I really didn’t think that you’d want to hear about our special feeling about a particular hop, or yet another cute brewery expansion tale. What could I say that would be of some interest, maybe even of some use, to both of these contingents? We are connected by raw materials, stainless steel, trucks and jargon, yet we seem to work in completely different venues. And then it dawned on me…we have nothing in common.”

“As we sit today in New York City, LA, Chicago and other markets across the nation, they [consumers] are all waking from the same long, contented slumber and they are waking to the flavor, and community and passion of craft-brewed beer.”

“Craft is subversive, it’s counter-cultural. Craft goes to market in an unselfconsciously, asymmetrical manner, like freedom-fighters, like the minute men of 1774, like any disruptive technology.”

“To beer-lovers craft [beer] is a liquid shaman. It brings the news, it lights a path, it inspires action, it builds community, it incites controversy. Craft is an accidentally asymmetrical competitor created BY and FOR beer-lovers! Craft represents a sort of generational hope in a sea of fear, of a pending cultural hopelessness. Consumers nurture craft because of what craft provides, not what it sells, not what it delivers…because of what it provides, not what it sells, not what it delivers. To borrow a phrase: ‘This revolution will not be televised.'”

“I’ll say again that the very best thing about being an American beer-lover today is not just the variety and innovation alive within the ethos of American craft brewing. Those things themselves are only artifacts of something far more interesting.”

Read Tony Magee’s Full Presentation

Andy Sparhawk, the Brewers Association's craft beer program coordinator, is a Certified Cicerone® and BJCP Beer Judge. He lives in Arvada, Colorado where he is a homebrewer and avid craft beer enthusiast. On occasion, Andy is inspired to write on his experiences with craft beer, and if they are not too ridiculous, you might see the results here on CraftBeer.com.

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