Given the ongoing pandemic, and other horsemen of the apocalypse that came trotting by during 2020, it feels a little off key to be writing a piece about gratitude, but that’s my plan. Yes, this was a tough year for us all, and of course it added to the normal challenges of starting up a business; I’d venture to guess that the number of sleepless nights that is customary for a business start-up roughly doubled this year. Our particular business – a new brewery where the primary source of income is a taproom full of happy beer drinkers – went from what seemed like a great idea to somewhere between inadvisable and illegal, depending on the date and municipality. Quite the gut check.
That being said, it’s been a great year for us in many ways. We had the good fortune of having a lot of outdoor space to turn into beer garden, and friends willing to help in this endeavor. While it was challenging to get all the money raised and equipment and supplies assembled with things seemingly falling apart this spring, both the brewery and taproom came together beautifully. And finally – thankfully! – beer fans came to the taproom to try our beers and the response has been great to the beers we’ve been making and the space we put together. So I find myself at the end of 2020 feeling extremely lucky, and extremely grateful for where I am, what I am doing and how it is going. Wendy and I love Eureka Springs and Northwest Arkansas, and we decided to move here about 3 years ago with the goal of starting a brewery. So this really is a dream come true for us. We are living in the place we really want to be, and doing the thing we really want to do.
I’m happier brewing now than I can ever remember being. Running a bigger brewery that distributes over a wide area was great, but I am having so much more fun now than I did back then. Bringing the beers from the idea stage through the brewhouse and to completion is rewarding in itself, but since we actually see and talk to the majority of the people who drink our beer, it’s also much more intimate. I get to create a recipe, brew the wort and taste it as the yeast works it magic, decide when it is done, and then hear directly from people what they think about it. I love it!
So yeah, we’re happy and I’m grateful for this opportunity, and aim to shake it for all its worth. I’m so excited about the brewing opportunities for 2021; we’ve already got some exciting barrel-aged sours in the works, and I have so many things in mind to brew that I’m getting all fired up just thinking about it. And we’re also really grateful. This couldn’t have happened without so many others who have helped us in ways large and small. There’s no way I can thank them all or repay it, I figure the best I can do is continue making great beer, and help others when the chance arrives.
We wouldn’t have gotten far without the love and support of friends and family, who gave us the courage to take the leap and do this. We are so grateful for the many friends we’ve made; Eureka really made us feel not just welcome, but made us feel like we are home here. Our investors, who were willing to take the leap and invest their money to help us build the brewery have my eternal gratitude. There are many people who put work into the construction of the building and brewery, some as professional contractors and others as helping hands. I’m grateful for all of them, the skills and care that went into the construction were amazing. There are some folks without whom Gotahold wouldn’t exist: Sean and Heather, who introduced us to Eureka and were our earliest supporters, Terry, Steve, Belen, Jeff, Kyle, and others I’ll wish I remembered. And finally, my amazing wife Wendy, who has taken on running the business and taproom, all the marketing and merchandise while running her own business. She’s a wonder and a whirlwind and I’m constantly impressed and inspired by her. She does it all and the brewery would not be possible without her. With love and gratitude for a great year and hopes for an even better 2021, I wish everyone joyful holidays. Cheers!