This is something I wanted to put up last week during the 20th anniversary of Schlafly Beer, but unfortunately sometimes life gets in the way. But, it almost seems like perfect timing to put this post up now as Schlafly has announced that they’ve found some local investors to purchase a 60% share of the company.
To be clear, the timing on this post doesn’t mean that I think the old days are now going to be some sort of distant memory. In fact, I was pretty clear from the start of this news that I thought the Schlafly sale was going to be a good thing. Instead of not having some sort of succession plan in place, now Schlafly employees and Schlafly fans can feel a bit more confident in the future of the company.
But in this new era of Schlafly, it’s absolutely important to look back at some of the stories that people have of the company and how their love-affair with Schlafly got started. Here are a few posts from the STL Hops forums that I thought should be shared:
vyvvy: Through the years there have been great memories. Braving the snow with Eric (ejd715) and having cask non-oaked dry-hopped barleywine and being blown away (still my favorite Schlafly beer). Going by after work many Thursdays and chatting with Paul. Having my introduction to cask beer. The surreal time of going to Hop in the City the Saturday after 9/11. Getting to hear some fantastic stories at the bar from Dan Kopman. All of the times of meeting up with friends. Almost all of my memories with Schlafly (and especially The Tap Room) are very positive.
Spartan: My first memory of Schlafly was actually before there was even a brewpub. It was 1990 and I was looking for a new job. I had an interview with a company located at 21st and Olive. After the interview as I was going to my car, I looked at the building to the west, and having recently been to Goose Island, thought “that would be a great building for a brewpub!”
A couple of months later, I was at a St. Louis Brews meeting and Dave Miller (the first brewmaster at Schlafly) was describing the building they had selected for the brewpub and I knew exactly where he was talking about.
I also remember going to the brewpub the first week they were open. My late father and I went down there one afternoon. We sat by the windows along 21st street. The handmade arch behind the bar was being carved while we were there. Sitting in there that day felt like something I had dreamed had come true.
dbsdelight: I turned 21 in 1991 and made it to Schlafly not long after they opened. I thank Dan Kopman to the link that helped me clear up my memory of the old Christmas ale. I swore there was one early on and now I have proof. Saw many concerts, events, friends, foods, and quality beers during 20 years. Being a patron over the life of the brewery, I continue to be impressed with the willingness of Schlafly to grow and stay with the current scene of brewing while still respecting that which came before. Thanks for continuing to bring us new beers that bring me back again and again for years. A patron then, now and looking forward to the future with you.
Beer_NCO: I discovered the Tap Room back in 2006, and went to Bottleworks for the first time this year. I think I’ve stopped off at the Tap Room more this year than I have in the previous 4, and I’m having a blast. I’ve been able to stop off with my former National Guard unit, my wife a few times, a few coworkers, and several of you guys. Schlafly is without question helping me get my wife into the world of craft beer and away from macro.
realale: I think it was in the Spring of 1992 when I was down checking out Wash U as a potential grad school site. If not, it was shortly after I arrived in St. Louis in the Summer of ’93. Regardless, as someone from Michigan who was drinking a lot of Bell’s by that point, it was nice to know there would be at least SOME craft beer in St. Louis.
Ericstl6: I went to The Tap Room for the first time sometime in the mid-90’s and was pretty much a noob when it came to beer that wasn’t yellow and fizzy. But in ’98, Schlafly the organization really helped kick off my craftbeer renaissance. I was running a bar (first in South County and then on the South Side) and Schlafly rep (Mitch Turner) came in to talk to me about their beers.
What made them different was they wanted me to have the full experience. They had me try all of their beers and took me to the brewery to show me what they did. I’ve been hooked ever since and have gotten to know many of the Schlafly employees (past and present) very well over the years despite leaving the bar business in 2000. From top to bottom, brewery, office, sales force, and restaurant, they are a class organization that has been an anchor in not just the beer scene within the community, but also the commmunity itself.
There is a really cool thread in the forums with a bunch of people talking about their Schlafly memories.
As for me, Schlafly holds a very special place in my heart as the Bottleworks was the place where the “STL Hops” name and concept was conceived and the Hop in the City was the first big event that STL Hops kind of blossomed.
It’s really impossible to explain just how much Schlafly has done for craft beer in St. Louis. It’s easy to say, “Well, someone had to be first.” But it’s important to remember just how well they’ve done it. How great of a partner they’ve been to St. Louis and to their customer.
I’m excited about this next era of Schlafly and look forward to lifting many pints of Schlafly beer to come.