Brewer Bytes with Cape Ann Brewing Co.
An Interview with Jeremy Goldberg, Owner
Posted on 1/21/2015 by Chops
Opening a craft brewery in the tiny state of Massachusetts comes with its own unique set of hurdles. Perhaps the most prominent hurdle is the fact that most people associate the state with one, maybe two breweries. It's a daunting hill to climb, one that did not faze brewer Jeremy Goldberg. A former Wall St. professional, Jeremy craved a life change and found his calling in craft beer. He opened the Cape Ann Brewing Company in Gloucester, MA and never looked back. Cape Ann has since become a staple of the New England craft beer scene. We recently caught up with Jeremy, who happily offered up some Brewer Bytes.

What inspired you to get into brewing?

I used to work on Wall St. Was downtown during 9/11 and was one of those people you saw on the news covered in soot, walking home across the Williamsburg bridge in a daze. Figured I wanted to do something different with my life then just push money around, had a minor mid-life crisis at 26 and basically became a beach bum in Miami for a year. At the time, my best friend, now the owner of the renowned Barcade franchise, Paul Kermizian was about to begin a documentary on Craft Beer in the US and asked me to come along as the "on screen talent" of sorts. We visited 38 breweries in 40 days across the US. I met the best and brightest of the brewing world and was immediately smitten.

Do you have a fond memory about building your brewery?

Unfortunately, not too much to be fond about. We had a tough experience with the folks who we purchased our equipment from. That said, I do remember two things. First is the day the equipment first began to arrive. I can't even begin to express the exultation you feel when those first tanks are being lifted into place. The other memory was of driving down to North Carolina to pick up my bottling line with my mentor Neill Acer. The road trip, the best sandwich of my life in Richmond, VA, and just the overall experience of actively searching out equipment made it feel really special.

Do you have a not-so-fond memory about building your brewery?

The vertical tanks arriving with a Danish stuffed in a port, and metal clamps thrown inside to scratch the living shit out of the inside of the vessels. The equipment arriving months late, at different times, with threats of never arriving at all, the added cost of having to pay for a welder, and other equipment despite it being in the purchase price because our supplier didn't deliver the way they should have, the supposedly brand new equipment arriving in clearly used condition and in some cases uncleaned from the last batch they brewed... yeah, a few "not-so-fond memories".

What is something surprising you learned about brewing?

What every new professional brewer learns, eventually it becomes just a job. It's a job you love more then most people feel about their jobs, but it's still a job.

How do you feel about beer reviewing and its impact on the industry?

Personally, I'm tired of seeing list after list of "best beer in *name the place*" and have never liked reviews in general. I have resisted sending my beer out to be judged, though the hypocrite that I am I will probably start soon as my employees really want me too, because that's not why I brew beer. I do think that it's been a way for people to talk about beer and I love people talking about beer, but I think of beer reviews just as I think about yelp and restaurant reviews. Want to tell me you love something or some place, I love to hear it. To go online and shit on someone's hard work and passion is sad, and make no mistake, for 95% of us in this industry our beer is our passion. I make 30 odd beers throughout the year because people like different things. There are now thousands of breweries in America and throughout the world because people like different flavor profiles of different styles of beers. Tell me which beers you love, and let me discover on my own which beers I won't like.

What is the best thing about being part of the beer industry?

This is 100% a David vs. Goliath industry, except our David won't be able to knock Goliath out with a single blow. Because of this, we in this industry are very strong supporters of each other. We share ideas, we share methods, we share discoveries; even today when competition from other craft brewers is getting stronger and stronger. I can still call Harpoon Brewery in Boston and get advice from their QC guy. I can still call Ipswich Brewing and get yeast or hops if I'm in tight situation and in need. Out there in the field we're all fighting for shelf space and tap lines, but in the brewhouse we're all working towards one goal and that's good beer. I love that. It's what I saw on that cross country trip 12 years ago that made me say "This is the industry I want to spend the rest of my life in".

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Jeremy Goldberg, Owner of the Cape Ann Brewing Company
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