Craft Beer Goes to Washington

By Kirby Bennett

Deb Carey, founder and president of New Glarus Brewing Company (NGBC), joined 15 other small business owners at a meeting of the White House Business Council on Tuesday, Nov. 27. Carey says this was her “fourth meeting with the Council, but it is the first time [she] got to meet Vice President Biden and President Obama.” She found them to be “very sharp, focused and funny.” 

Senior Financial Advisors and White House staff met with small business ownersto continue discussions on economic recovery. Carey brought up health care costs and skilled labor education, and felt the group was “receptive and thoughtful in their responses.”

Carey is an advocate of universal healthcare and NGBC provides their employees with healthcare coverage. Carey believes “it is the responsibility of companies to provide care for the employees who may very well spend their entire lives helping to make that business successful, and paying for healthcare is a very small price to pay in the grand scheme of things.”

Deb and her husband Dan founded NGBC in 1993, and the business has been growing ever since. The brewery has a economic impact of about $40 million a year according to the Green County, Wis., Economic Development Corporation. NGBC has 50 full-time employees and is currently Wisconsin’s second highest-selling regional brewery, producing 108,000 barrels in 2011.

Of course the question on everybody’s mind is did she get to try the White House homebrew? Carey said, “Obama gave me some of his White House beer and said he wants to hear back on my opinion.” No word yet on what that opinion is.

Kirby BennettKirby Bennett’s love of craft beer started in 2002 when she was living in Amsterdam and discovered an amazing bottleshop called De Bierkoning. A long ways now from sipping La Trappe on the canals, she is currently the Craft Beer Program intern for the Brewers Association. She is a Cicerone® Certified Beer Server, holds a BA in English, dabbles in homebrewing, and makes a mean quinoa salad. She hopes to continue her career somewhere in the distribution world, then someday open a sustainable beer bar in whatever city she decides to settle in!