Why I Love Keeping Saint Arnold Independent

Brock Wagner

As we approach Independence Day, it reminds me how much I value our independence and the independent thinkers that make up the craft brewing community. Independence is why there is so much flavor and diversity in the world of beer today. We must keep independence alive to maintain the culture of craft beer going forward.

There have certainly been no shortages of offers from megabreweries and private equity groups to purchase Saint Arnold over the years. Saying no was always easy.

I love what I do. I love working with the team that makes Saint Arnold the brewery that it is. I love the community that we are a part of and striving to make our community even better. Independence means we choose who we support based on the causes that are important to our employees and our city.

I love sitting with our R&D team and tasting test brews, judging them solely on how much they excite all of us, not worrying about return on investment or if we are allowed to brew any particular kind of beer. Our independence means we can brew beers that we love, and we answer only to whether or not our customers love them as much as we do.

I love endeavors like building our Beer Garden & Restaurant, which was a passion project that a solely profit-driven corporate entity would never allow. Our independence allowed us to build an experience that we hope makes the beer community in Houston and Texas proud.

Being independent is also challenging in times like these. While we are able to adapt and evolve quickly to meet the realities we are faced with, we also don’t have the resources many larger companies have. Which brings me to my next thought – the people who have helped us grow Saint Arnold and craft beer through our 26 years in business.

I’m concerned about the independent retailers out there, many of whom were our earliest and most ardent supporters. Independent restaurants and bars like to give the little breweries nobody has heard of a chance. A lot of this comes down to relationships – because of the person-to-person relationship that occurs when the brewery owner or salesperson comes in and speaks with the owner or staff of the establishment. These places are struggling today. We all need to be doing what we can to support them.

Without independence, there isn’t craft beer as we know it. As I reflect on what has made our industry and company special, none of it happens without a spirit of independence. So, as we go into the 4th of July holiday weekend, I urge you to toast your quarantine circle with an independent, American-made-and-owned craft beer. Cheers and Happy Independence Day!

Published July 2, 2020