Hi! Thanks for checking out the new blog. In the almost two years of running BrewSRQ, I've never really been able to have conversations around brewing, winemaking, fermentation, or other foodie maker spaces that I've wanted to have all in one place.
Hopefully, this blog changes that. I read and consume a LOT of great information from very smart and successful people with oodles of experience who know what to do. I'm not a writer, but I'm actively dedicated to becoming better at it, so please bear with me.
My name is JW and I love to make things. I'm also a serial entrepreneur. Before we go further, I need to make one thing abundantly clear - I am not an expert, but I am a student of the craft. BrewSRQ started because our community needed a nucleus where people who like to brew could easily find a great selection of new and quality ingredients and chat over homebrews. We had an existing e-commerce business and felt supplementing a new "segment" would be perfect considering the infrastructure was already in place.
I thought it would be fairly straightforward. I really wanted to make it easy for our local homebrew club members to order. It caught on, worked well and we expanded to include the rest of Florida in our shop footprint. It takes a considerable amount of our time and energy but has been so fulfilling because of the relationships we've been able to make and grow in such a short time.
I have always been somewhat of a "foodie" and a technician - I loved to cook, bake, bbq, homebrew, etc. If you can attempt to make it at home, I've probably tried and failed multiple times. I did not know I would be going down a rabbit hole of how technology and the accessibility of shared spaces it brings allow for maker culture to thrive in any niche. Social media, forums, blogs, & boards connect us and have greatly accelerated the rate at which anyone can explore and improve their craft. Communities can encourage and greatly increase the satisfaction that comes from creating things you are proud to share with family & friends. It's powerful and therapeutic.
Where did my journey in fermentation begin? I started homebrewing in college with extract kits. The internet was brand new in the '90s. I had no idea where to go or who to listen to besides the homebrew shop staff and my other homebrewing friends. The problem was that there was no homebrew shop in my town at the time, so I would stop on my way through places that did. I rarely went through the same shop twice in a row. I had the latest version of Charlie's book - it could only do so much (probably because I didn't read ALL of it). I brewed 5 or 6 batches, none were amazing but most were drinkable, and some were even good! I wanted to be better but I knew I didn't know what was wrong with my beer or how to fix my brews, and upgraded equipment wasn't in this student's budget.
Eventually, life got in the way. After graduation and subsequent move to the city for a "career", I had no space to keep my gear and nowhere to brew. My dusty kettle, bottle capper, and carboys found a new home.
It would be 17 years before I'd brew again.
To say things had changed a bit would be a little bit of an understatement. I was awash in new information, techniques, equipment, and technologies. It was OVERWHELMING. I knew I wanted to brew all-grain, having had many great homebrewed beers from friends on their homemade 3-tier setups. I couldn't do that in the space I had, so I started with a PicoBrew, joined a bunch of Facebook groups, a local homebrew club, and the American Homebrewer's Association. I watched, read, asked questions, and listened to every bit of information I could before upgrading to a larger system, and 50+ batches later I am enjoying the hobby more than ever.
Of course, I have other interests as well and find them quite complimentary. Most involve fermentation of some kind - pickles, kombucha, sourdough, baking, and coffee (also fermented, on occasion) and you'll see that influence slowly coming over to the store. We plan to expand into a number of other areas in this space over the coming months as we are able. I know you creative-minded folks may like to try making other things. We will do our best to be a good resource for you and bring in interesting items to help you. COVID is still disrupting supply chains all over the world and we are doing our best to adapt. Bear with us, and let's have constructive conversations.
Be safe and be kind.
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