67: Lake Erie Has Really Good Brewing Water

Stuart and Carolyn speak with Mike Williams of the Great Lakes Brewing Company about beer, their triple bottom line philosophy, and whether or not Hazard is the best middle name. Plus, Great Lakes News with Great Lakes Now's Sandra Svoboda!

This is an automated transcript; we apologize for any errors. If you notice any problems, please email the show at teachmeaboutthegreatlakes@gmail.com. Thank you.

Stuart Carlton 0:00
teach me about the Great Lakes. Teach me about the Great Lakes. John, welcome back to teach me about the Great Lakes a twice monthly podcast in which I A Great Lakes novice, as people are smarter and harder working than I am to teach me all about the Great Lakes. My name is Stuart Carlton, I work with Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant. And I know a whole lot about the very specific differences between several different beers that have great lakes names. But they don't actually know a lot about the Great Lakes. And that's what the point of this here show is. And I'm joined today by the one the only the special Carolyn Foley Carolyn, what's up?

Carolyn Foley 0:34
Not much. It is lovely. It is fall. Yeah, that time of the year, in my opinion.

Stuart Carlton 0:40
It is it is. It is lovely fall best having the year, I completely agree, we are reminded of our mortality, which is always interesting to do. And we celebrate that by slowly increasing the number of layers before the inevitable months of misery. But that's good. No,

Carolyn Foley 0:57
it's not Anyway, yes, that is can be a point at which we, you can be wrong. I was gonna say we can agree to disagree, but you can just be wrong.

Stuart Carlton 1:03
That's I agree to nothing. I agree. That's good. One thing I'm sorry, before we get going, so we're recording this. So this is going to be scary episode. We're super excited about it. But we actually we just got back a few days ago from secret week in Cleveland. And we're gonna play an interview that Carolyn and I recorded there. But as we're recording this, now, it's September 28. And the hurricane Yin is in Florida right now. And we're not gonna focus on that, because this, it'll hopefully be through, of course, by 10 steps was released. But one thing that really occurred to me as I'm watching this is the value of all of the different sources of data that are out there, right. And so when I wrote through Hurricane Harvey, we lived in Houston, Texas, area, like we really relied heavily on all the different government data sources are out there to try to help us understand what was going to happen, what was happening, and make a lot of decisions. And so I see it's even even since then, since Harvey, and just the last five years or whatever the the amount of stuff that's out there is even more amazing. And when I compare that to like Hurricane Charley, which I was in Florida for in 2004, just the amount of stuff that third is really great. And so one of our themes in the show very consistently is the importance of datasets, and making them available, and a lot of times that the only people are going to do it or the government. And so, you know, I've been thinking about a lot that a lot today. And we talk a lot about long term datasets, but these instantaneous things are really important to Yes. And yes. And so your heart goes out to everybody. As we go through the rebuilding process, I've been through that before with multiple hurricanes. And it's it's, it's horrible. And so we appreciate that. And we do appreciate the data that's out there. But you know, data is actually really important in journalism, isn't it? That's your cue

Sandra Svoboda 2:47
that my cue journalism journalism, journalism.

Stuart Carlton 2:51
You hear that voice you hear is the one the only Sandra Sobota with Great Lakes now, but before we can talk to Sandra, we all know what it's time for. Time for Stuart to thumb through his There we go. We all we all know what it's time for.

Now it's time for the Great Lakes news. Here's your host, Stuart Carlton. So that sounds nice. That's right. It's time for the Great Lakes know center Swoboda of Great Lakes now, news about the lakes you love. How are you today?

Sandra Svoboda 3:25
I'm great. How are you? Stuart? I am also good. Thank you. And Carolyn, good to see you and hear you on the podcast. Yeah.

Carolyn Foley 3:33
Nice to see you and chat with you again. What do you have for us today?

Stuart Carlton 3:38
Yeah, so So my understanding is so great lakes news. The way this works for people who are new to the news, we call them new Newsies Newsies Newsies. The way that this works is Senator comes with some number, undetermined number of news stories, I guess the number of news stories, and then we should read some news stories and we talk about them. And that's how it goes. Alright, so I'm thinking today, Sandra, that you brought three stories.

Sandra Svoboda 4:00
Oh, Stuart, you are so smart. Look at you the most intelligent podcast that's titled teach me about the Great Lakes.

Stuart Carlton 4:11
Lead host and executive producer. All right. Okay,

Sandra Svoboda 4:16
great. Okay, I bring you three stories today that all kinds of represent different aspects and important ones of the Great Lakes. And I'm sorry, Stewart I'm Carolyn. They are not all science, but standby there is there is science is it good science,

Stuart Carlton 4:31
good body for science. Let me just say that before the NASA thing launches like it's like the countdown three standby for science three to one rocket up in the air. That'd be awesome.

Sandra Svoboda 4:40
I'm gonna remember that. You might see that as a title on Great Lakes now one of these days for science. Okay. Anyway, what we're really here for teed up is shipping there is a new freighter on the Great Lakes. It is built by the Interlake company out of Cleveland and Stewart I'm gonna give you one guess of what was the last time I know that a cargo ship was built in the United States in the Great Lakes region to work on the Great Lakes. Oh, I

Stuart Carlton 5:07
actually know this. So that's an affair. It was four weeks ago. I saw this in the news

Sandra Svoboda 5:12
for that one, before that one.

Stuart Carlton 5:15
It was two years, two years. Wrong.

Sandra Svoboda 5:18
No, multiply that by 18. And you would have it it's been six years since there was a new American made ship. So this one is small everybody, you know, freighter, I see what I know you're new to the Great Lakes. So I'm going to indulge you for a moment here. If you want to be a cool Great Lakes kid. One of the hobbies to hit is freighter watching. There are actually live cams all around the region. We're actually Oh, I hadn't even thought of this. But this is my shameless self promotion out of the way right away. We are having a watch party about free to rewatching and you can come back to Great Lakes now to figure out we'll help you figure out some of the great places to do it. But you know, you can a lot of places off shore you can see them out on the lakes, but there are cities like Duluth and the locks at the zoo where you can get right up close and watch the freighters go through so this idea of hold on

Stuart Carlton 6:06
hold on. So freighter watching I just want to get this straight. freighter watching you go to like the lake shore, or the law

Sandra Svoboda 6:16
cases where the freight or the boats tend to be in the water. They do

Stuart Carlton 6:19
tend to be in the water well, unless they're being built. And so then, then then you watch the freight or go through the locks.

Carolyn Foley 6:27
Yes, or you watch them go by down the river or you just you just watch them go. It's awesome.

Sandra Svoboda 6:33
To see see Carolyn's boat nerd

Stuart Carlton 6:39
I'm not look I'm presenting without comment. I'm just trying to understand what the hobby is. The hobby is you watch boats move slowly.

Carolyn Foley 6:45
But then you see for you know, which ones which boat is it. What are they carrying? Like? Yeah,

Stuart Carlton 6:50
no, no. How are they? Right? Can you see the paint to see a loaded they are? Right or can you see the paint drying? If it's wet? Yeah, gotcha. Okay. Anyway. So that's good. No, I mean, I'm afraid are watching. Actually, I'm not even kidding. I'm totally an unfree to watch him. Because when I went to the SU, which I know that it's pronounced as the zoo and not Sault Sainte Marie, because that would be what you hear. Right? Right, right. I mean, I learned when I got there, or whatever. Alright. So I went to the zoo, and they had these locks. And there was a boat, and I spent, you know, rather than go to the session are supposed to be in I watched the boat move through the lock. So it's very exciting. Very exciting

Sandra Svoboda 7:25
today. Yeah, that's cool. I've actually been through the locks on a sailboat and that was almost as cool. Yeah, we went through east to west so rose up however many feet like I was like, I felt like the animal at the zoo with all the people watching a little bit because they're on the deck. And they were all of us on these boats before we did the train superior race. But yeah, there are actually a series of webcams live webcams that you can view all different places around the lakes. Duluth, the lake walk down there. On the in the canal Park, has the lift bridge at the freighters come through, people line up they time their visits, you know, freight or track it. I actually have friends who are doing a freighter ride right now. So I've been stalking them. I mean, following their progress on on marine traffic. But yeah, I mean, the ships are not only a huge deal for the multibillion dollar Great Lakes economy, but also kind of a tourism to the zoo has a great Visitor Center. It's a it's yeah, that you can get up close and get towards the museum and the other cities and of course, you know some of the smaller ports like Cleveland, which brings me back to my actual story about the mark Barker, which see what I did there, which is a about a 600 636 foot freighter that is actually super maneuverable. So while a lot of people really like to see the big 1000 footers out on the horizon, they also it's more practical for these ships to be a little bit smaller and be able to get into more ports and participate more in the economy and the trade of the region. So the mark Barker, we've got we've got footage of it. We've got our Lake Erie correspondent was on board there in Cleveland and a lot of information about that freighter. So that's kind of big news around the lakes and a lot of levels.

Stuart Carlton 9:06
You have a Lake Erie correspondent, that's cool. So it's a big deal. It's a big deal that it's that it's American made or that it what or is it you know, the size of the ship? What is kind of the big innovation here? That's so exciting. It's new, you know, I called Great Lakes olds. Right. Right. I mean, you

Sandra Svoboda 9:25
know, we're here to talk about news. So that's kind of one of the elements of news is that you know, things are new. There's also you know, they're I think it ties in like I said, a lot of the the culture of the region in terms of shipping I mean, we have a really old fleet in the Great Lakes. We have saltwater we have a saltwater we have

Stuart Carlton 9:44
freshwater Oh Sandy, primary deals I've seen you know,

Sandra Svoboda 9:48
the freshwater seas and so there's a big difference and how ships are impacted by saltwater versus freshwater stuff in the Great Lakes lasts a lot longer. You know when friends are shot Pay for sailboats, they always look for boats that have been in freshwater and saltwater because it's so much easier on the boats, for example, and same thing with freighter. So we actually have a really old fleet there's actually a ship that's over 100 years old that's still in operation on the Great Lakes, so to have, you know, new shiny objects, and then also there's just there's kind of a lot of improvements in kind of the greenness of it. It's a tier four certified from the EPA. That sounds really fancy. I don't know, don't ask me any more questions about that. But it has a lot of energy efficiencies built in and should be a little less of an impact on the ecosystem here in the lakes. So there it is, why ships name again, Mark W. Barker, which is named after the president of the shipping company. So we are all in the wrong business. If you ever want to ship named after you get to be the president of a company that builds a new one like in or like just did,

Stuart Carlton 10:49
yeah. Just like buy a kayak or whatever.

Carolyn Foley 10:52
Yeah, yeah, I'm not gonna start talking about Boaty McBoatface. Because that would totally derail you from Yeah,

Stuart Carlton 10:57
we also talked about when I worked in Florida research vote. And so all we tried to do is try to sneak you know, goofy names past the administration, that was a deal. And so like, the one that they got by was the miasma Dragon, which nobody noticed. So my dragon Story number two, Story number two.

Sandra Svoboda 11:22
Alright, Story number two brings us back to science. So this should make you happy Stewart. We've actually had a one of our correspondents. That's a really fancy name, I'm going to but I'm going to call her that. So her name is Kathy Johnson. And she writes a column called, I speak for the fish, which is a whole other topic, but one of the things she did was went behind the scenes at the Royal Ontario Museum, looked at the fish collection, and it kind of got her thinking about all of the kind of specialties within fish science. And the difference is fish biologists and geologists and museum curation versus being in the field. And so she did a really fun piece, she interviewed four different people around the region that work in that field, what it took to be a fish scientists kind of what the parts of their jobs are. And I gotta say, I'm thinking about switching careers, they get to just sounds like they just drive boats and go to cool places. And so we're thinking maybe this story will maybe you know, you never know you like to dream about your impact in journalism, because we so rarely know what it actually is. So if any of you out there read that story, and 20 years from now your children go on to be Nobel winning fish scientists because of what you read on Great Lakes now let us know about it. So yeah, look into inspire and explain a little bit and kind of give you a another view of fish science, I guess.

Carolyn Foley 12:41
Cool. The slightly less glamorous side is that sometimes your hands wind up smelling like fish because you have to grab them and you have to dissect them and I once went to a wedding where I yeah, like everyone was the night before everyone's showing off their manicures. And I'm like hiding my hands because I'm like, I'm pretty sure mine still smelled like fish but I really I really loved it.

Stuart Carlton 13:06
So yeah, that is that is cool. And there are ton of different types of fish sites out there and I love those stories. And I think I happen to see this one when it originally got posted and so that is super cool. I'm glad to see it out there. You should go check it out everybody

Sandra Svoboda 13:20
yeah, hope it inspires some youngsters to it seems like every fish scientist I meet started fishing off a dock or pulling critters out of a creek or something like that. So it's nice to see where they all end up with fancy degrees and actual jobs.

Stuart Carlton 13:33
Cool. Yeah, you know what's more exciting about that though, or an exciting you know, what else is exciting about that would be another way to phrase that more smoothly, perhaps. Is we work very closely with to fish scientist and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant are in the Great Lakes secret network, I suppose. And they are our own doctors, fish, doctors, fishes. Titus, Alzheimer, and Katy O'Reilly. Do you know them? Senator?

Sandra Svoboda 14:00
I do. Dr. Cat is kind of my hero, Katie O'Reilly and her Twitter handle.

Stuart Carlton 14:05
Yeah, they're both a lot. Actually. Titus is my hero, because as far as I can tell, all he does is walk around different lakes and take videos. And if somehow gets paid, you should put them in your your story. Anyway, I

Sandra Svoboda 14:14
think we've shared some of his things on Twitter. He's shared our content and commented, so yeah, I think you know, they both have kind of perfect jobs. They're just out there like making Twitter all this time and winning stuff or

Stuart Carlton 14:25
making Twitter and winning. If we didn't already have a title that could be our title for this episode. But the way that says that about a year ago, we did a live streaming thing with Titus and Katie called Ask Dr. Fish, and we had so much fun doing it. So we've decided that we're gonna make it its own thing. And so we are excited as part of the the second show, the second show from the Gobi dog, Media Network, which is what we call the overarching deal here. And so it's gonna be asked Dr. fish this is going to be live streaming. It's going to be the second Monday of every even month, the second Monday of every even month. Does that make sense? Every month, a lot of Dr. Fish have a lot of questions, but every other month seems probably about right. And so you can look down and look for a link in the show notes for the first one, which is gonna be on October 10. Yep, October 10. At 11am Eastern, we're gonna be live streaming, and it'll be released as a podcast The following week, and so it's gonna have its own podcast feed, will will will will give you the deal with that later it hasn't been created yet. And we're also going to create like a main feed a firehose feed for all of the Gobi dot media network content. So if you just want to subscribe to one place and get it all that's fine, too. And so I do look, but if you have questions, this is the main reason I'm pointing if you have questions, use the Twitter hashtag ask Dr. Fish, or send an email as sacrificial gmail.com. And we don't you know, we want fish questions. We want science questions, and we want life questions. If you have those. Just go ahead and ask Dr. Fish.

Sandra Svoboda 15:46
Sorry, I was typing. I'm already typing my questions to questions doctors, fish, doctors, fish doctors, fishes,

Stuart Carlton 15:53
Dr. Seuss has been it's really complicated. So scientists tend theologists, which is what I studied under IQ theologist. They tend to use fish, as you know, es to refer to multiple fish of different species, right? So the challenge is, is that Titus and Katie are the same species. But we don't know. Anyway, doctors fishes. That's where we go with. Ask them questions.

Sandra Svoboda 16:16
Got it? I'm gonna check that out.

Stuart Carlton 16:20
You should give a third story, Senator before I just keep digging this hole.

Sandra Svoboda 16:24
I do. And this one is going to distract all of us, because it is about beer.

Stuart Carlton 16:36
Well, anyway, um, what about beer,

Sandra Svoboda 16:40
not just beer, but Great Lakes, beer, and more specifically, mostly like superior beer. So this is a new story on our website. It's written by again, one of our contributors, name's Capri, Cafaro. She's in Ohio. But she's done a little bit traveling around the region. And she's part of a podcast and other podcasts podcasting day, but she often writes about food and beverages around the region. And so when I was doing my vacation lap of Lake Superior earlier this summer, I guess It's fall now during the summer, you know, we stopped at a few breweries

Stuart Carlton 17:17
and out there, right,

Sandra Svoboda 17:18
they're out there, and they're fun to go and the beer is good. And you get the backstory of the people. And so a couple of them told me about the Ontario government investing in them through various grants program and Capri, checked it all out and wrote a story about the ale trail and other kinds of the ale trail. I know it makes me

Stuart Carlton 17:38
nervous as you keep going. That was I was gonna lay that under you for emphasis without distracting so the audience the listeners would really be like, Ooh, yeah, Hill trail.

Sandra Svoboda 17:46
I'm fully distracted by this entire topic of beer right now store, I don't even know Great Lakes oceans. What are we talking about? Anyway,

Stuart Carlton 17:53
yield true. Yeah. So what is the alternative? Go and there's like a number of establishments that you can go have a beer

Sandra Svoboda 18:04
at i So beer ponds, beer ponds. Yes. You know, the so in a practical sense that, you know, there are a lot of other tourism and beer thing, right? This is not like revolution. I'm not pretending this is news that beer and tourism are related or that beer is fun, or that people like to drink beer or visit local breweries as well. Ontario has had a little bit of a challenge, because I don't know, Stuart, you're the newcomer to the lakes region. So when you look at a map of the Great Lakes, it is a long way from Thunder Bay, Ontario on the North Shore Lake Superior to say the zoo as we were talking about a few minutes ago. So you gotta be pretty committed if you do in the Lake Superior beer trail. But yeah. Very small, very small steps. Yes, stops only and so they're trying to do a little bit better job connecting those breweries and fat with festivals and other materials around tourism, similar to what's been done with foods. So nice to see the smaller breweries come along. And I can personally attest that lead Island is dog friendly. And maybe I'll tweet this podcast, post a picture of my ill behaved dog in the breeding facility.

Carolyn Foley 19:13
Perfect. Animals era context is always good.

Stuart Carlton 19:20
Well, that's great. Well, then, so we're gonna have to go check that out. So Carolyn, I have a question. We're going to be doing a live show in May probably right. This is not an official announcement from Toronto. Right. And so he said you want to come from anywhere different sorry. And so it's like this ale trail is this near? I don't know anything about Canada and like how close all these different places are. So can we start the ale trail from Toronto?

Carolyn Foley 19:47
I doubt it. I mean, it's pretty far from Toronto to Thunder Bay to this suit.

Sandra Svoboda 19:57
Take a long way to Toronto, from Chicago's Sorry, you could get all the way around.

Carolyn Foley 20:02
You could sample both sides and things like that. But there are definitely spots in Toronto that we could go to as well.

Stuart Carlton 20:10
All right, well, we'll have to well,

Carolyn Foley 20:13
maybe there is I haven't looked at. Please don't quote me on that.

Stuart Carlton 20:17
All right. I mean, it just got recorded for a podcast that we're going to release. It's going to be listened to by people throughout the Great Lakes, but that's fine. They can, they will,

Sandra Svoboda 20:26
they'll come back to the sequel to follow up on what Carolyn has learned about beer.

Carolyn Foley 20:30
So all three of those stories really fit with the the episode that we recorded a couple of weeks ago, right with beer, and Cleveland, and science and economics and all of that. But before we go to that episode, you had something you wanted to share.

Stuart Carlton 20:47
That's right before I do what we're announcing. That's right, the 2022 Lake ease Nominations are open. The lake is for those of you who don't remember, it's quite possibly not the least prestigious, Great Lakes based award ceremony that there is this is our big end of the year wrap up in which we are going to give out awards we're gonna have Leakey awards and you know categories like science communication of the year, Great Lakes research of the year, Great Lakes, news of the year Great Lakes animal of the year, Great Lakes sandwich of the year, all these really important words and what we need those we need some nominations. So if you look in your show notes, you'll find a link and it's a bitly.com/leakey 22 That's linkys Capital Lake ease 22 I believe, and you could go nominate things for Lake ease, and then we will record that and release it towards the end of the year but nominate really great work really great sandwiches, nominated donut. And so yeah, we're looking forward to it. Yeah. If your team donut or if you're not, I mean, you can still like a donut. The whole point of the question is yeah, you

Carolyn Foley 21:41
can you can like a donut and recognize that it's maybe not as awesome as a sandwich.

Stuart Carlton 21:45
Yeah, you're right, Carolyn, that's a totally true but first center. Where can people go to find more news news about the lakes, they love?

Sandra Svoboda 21:53
Great Lakes now.or You can link to all our social and our YouTube channel from there. Thanks, Stuart. Thanks, Carolyn. Yeah, that's

Stuart Carlton 21:59
fantastic. And then it takes us out here is the Great Lakes now theme song written by the inimitable so don't bother imitating him, Clint carpenter.

Our guest today is Mike Williams. He's the brand coordinator and marketing, brain coordinator marketing. He's also a company educator in his story in the Great Lakes Brewing Company in downtown Cleveland know what part of Cleveland we're pretty

Mike Williams 22:35
close to downtown. And we're in Ohio city, Ohio, just on the west side of the Cuyahoga River,

Stuart Carlton 22:40
west side of the Cuyahoga River, we're just not on fire.

Mike Williams 22:43
On fire. We fix that fix. Yes. Thanks for talking about that. Thanks

Stuart Carlton 22:46
to the Clean Water Act we learned today anyway. Great. So yeah, we're really excited to talk to Mike actually, Carolyn and I were talking on the way over here. We when we started this podcast, three years ago, I guess. We had about three or four, like must hit guests or interviews or whatever. And number one and two were Great Lakes Brewing Company. I mean, largely, yeah. Like in the original document, and three years in the making, yeah, three years in the making three years one pandemic, and so we're glad to be here at the cool Education Center was beautiful.

Mike Williams 23:20
Yeah. Beautiful. Beer symposium, as we call it. Yes. The beer

Stuart Carlton 23:23
symposium love it. Well, so what's let's just start deep background, how to how to Great Lakes Brewing Company start.

Mike Williams 23:29
So we actually we just had our 34th birthday. It was last week. It was one week ago today. So September 6, we opened up thank you. Yes, I am 35. So I'm just I'm one year older than the just outpacing the brewery. So we got our start. In September 88. We were founded by two guys, their local guys, Pat and Dan Conway, big Irish family from the west side of town. And they kind of have a classic story like a lot of the other brewers that opened up in the 80s, which, you know, in the 80s, there was very little of what we call a craft beer today, we call them micro breweries back then. They're actually no burr is operating in the city of Cleveland, there's pretty much no beer being brewed in the entire state of Ohio. So then Dan got this crazy idea for opening up a brewery from their travels in Europe. So you know, to get good beer, nothing wrong with Light Lager and stuff like that, but it's not super exciting. So to get that kind of area to go overseas, and they both did like a study abroad program while they were at Loyola, Chicago, then went to the Rome campus and of course, traveled the continent, really just struck by these beers that were being brewed there, you know, like Belgian beers, the TRAPPIST ales have a vise and check Pilsner and just fresh full flavor beer and they wanted to bring that experience to their hometown to the city of Cleveland, they both were starting to get the entrepreneurial itch after a couple of different professions, so they, they went for it, they open up Great Lakes. And we're very proud to be approaching that 35th anniversary next year. So we're pretty stoked about that. It's gonna be a really big year for us next year. So it's really thanks to those guys that we got our start. When we started, of course, everything was different in our industry. As it just mentioned, craft beer was not really a thing yet. So it was, you know, I'd say it's never easy to open small business. And it certainly takes a good amount of capital to open a brewery today, but it's probably banks are a little bit more, you know, willing to write large loans for stainless steel and stuff today than they were in the 80s. So he addressed for the Conway's obviously that paid off. We were very proud to be the 19th largest craft brewer in the country last year. That's out of 9000. So pretty cool. Holy cow. And point 2% We love I can't do math. I can't. Philosophy. Yeah, no,

Stuart Carlton 26:08
actually, you know what, we're gonna go ahead and go. No, nevermind. We'll do it later. Right. Great. Keep going. Yeah. That could be a factoid. That's all I'm saying.

Mike Williams 26:16
I like it. Even it's yes. That factoids will figure one out for sure. I like my factoid from earlier. We'll see. We might go. That's

Stuart Carlton 26:23
what I realized. He refactored is better. So Great Lakes, Great Lakes. Great Lakes. All right. It's a great lakes factoids, a Great Lakes factoid, it's a great factoid about the Great Lakes.

Mike Williams 26:37
The general factoid specifically for Great Lakes as well as that you do not need a beard. And to wear flannel to be a brewer. It is totally okay. I happen to have a beard. These two you can see me nobody else can I have a beard, but I'm not wearing flannel? No. I'm also not a brewer. But

Stuart Carlton 26:54
so it goes in Colorado, though that's actually not true. That's why you didn't

Mike Williams 26:57
need my uncle. It's a state by state thing.

Carolyn Foley 27:01
I wanted to ask one question. So you mentioned that it started out as a family. That was And then before the interview, we were talking sorry for my bed. We were talking a little bit about how big your staff is, and who sort of works at the brewery now. So I wonder if you could share, like your story of how you came up? And oh,

Mike Williams 27:21
really? Yeah. Yeah. So I'm really excited. It'll be my 10th anniversary at the brewery on October 1. So that's just a couple actually. Well, when this airs, I think it'll just been my 10th anniversary. So. And I actually got my start here, as many of my coworkers did, I got my start on the floor in our brew pub restaurant. So so when the Conway has founded the company, they founded it as a brewery restaurant where that the beer didn't leave the premises to go to bars and restaurants and stores, it was just brewed and served right there. So that's where I got my start. And I always wanted to be a teacher. And I had just kind of come out of school and all that and was waiting for an opportunity. And then realize that, oh, I work at Great Lakes. So I can probably figure out something really cool here. And I became a server and then a public tour guide. And then in 2017, I took over all of our training The training efforts for the company. So staff training, working with some business partners, offering classes for the public and all that. So what's really cool is we're still a an independent, family owned also an employee owned company. So you guys are hanging out with the co owner right now. Pretty cool, right? So right, mind was blown, right? Their minds were willing. So it's pretty cool that, you know, there's so much opportunity at a company like that. There's so much room for flexibility and mobility. So I'm I am, I'm happy to say that I am not the exception to the rule that a lot of other people who have developed really great careers here. Starting off in a spot, they might not have initially thought they would have had that. So it's pretty cool.

Carolyn Foley 29:03
That's really, really cool. So, um, why the Great Lakes name?

Mike Williams 29:08
Sure. So we did have the advantage, you know, in 1988 Is there were only like 100 breweries. So it wasn't, man, they took all the names already. It was a little easier back then. But we didn't use Great Lakes for no reason. I believe that the brothers had a couple other potential names floating around their heads. But they wanted to go with Great Lakes Brewing Company, in part because they had a pie in the sky notion that one day they would be able to distribute their beer all throughout the Great Lakes. Truly for them at that time. They're like, if we get there, we'll have accomplished something we we never would have dreamed we could do. Just based on how everything was at the time. So now we're in 14 states where in every state that's configured As to a great lake, we obviously have some of the East Coast and all that too. We're in Indiana, which is also contiguous to Great Lakes. That much of

Stuart Carlton 30:12
Florida. I used to my first round of podcasting was I back in 2008 910, I had a New Orleans Saints podcast. And and I wrote for New Orleans Saints fan blog, and I'd read through Friday afternoon game preview column, and we would do beer of the week. And that's where I found and so whatever, they're just trying to do a beer the weekend from whatever state they were playing. And so we're playing probably the browns. Yeah. So that was good. And yeah, and I went and found I don't remember.

Mike Williams 30:44
Yeah, well, we've won game since that.

Stuart Carlton 30:47
Actually, the first game the Browns won when they came back was against the saints. Oh, God, because the saints are what I was like, oh, there's no way the Browns came in. Oh, one seven, or whatever was on 11. It was like there's no way the saints win this game. And the Browns like made this amazing comeback. like kind of a like, I mean, this is 25 years ago, but you know, like, last minute kind of playing. Yeah, that was completely expected anyway, so Florida, too.

Mike Williams 31:08
So yeah, we've done a couple of shipments down to Florida. We Florida is our bait. We're not in Florida all the time. Oh, really. But you should we've done a couple of special shipments down there. And everyone is just just look at our Facebook page and look at any post and you will see someone say Florida on it has nothing to do with Florida.

Carolyn Foley 31:25
Cool. So you have some really awesome beer names. So for example, right now, am I allowed to say that we're sampling it? Yeah.

Stuart Carlton 31:36
ASMR institchu recording after but yeah.

Carolyn Foley 31:42
So we are sampling. Thank you, Mike. Commodore Perry. Yeah. And it's, it's, it's really nice. And it has connection to locally to Lake theory. So how do y'all pick your names? Like what's the

Mike Williams 31:58
so we've kind of had two approaches to our beer names throughout the years. And like if anyone listening to this is a longtime fan, you can kind of see like, I think about them in two big buckets. There's like our classics, or legacy beers. These are beers that have been with us, like many of them from day one, or from the first couple of years, Commodore Perry is in the early 90s brew. And a lot of those beers, they're rooted in traditional, like European inspired beer styles. So this is an English style IPA, based more on the ones that would come from, of course from England where the style originated. And a lot of those classic beers would also have names and like storytelling behind them that related to a famous person in our region, often from Cleveland specifically, but sometimes a little bit more broadly. And those stories really like to help those viewers come alive for a lot of people so you've got the commoner period you guys are I'm sipping on the haze craft the hazy IPA you guys have Commodore Perry

Stuart Carlton 33:03
you're younger and hipper than I know right?

Mike Williams 33:05
Yeah my hands Yeah. Yeah, I can't Yeah, standard clear Vir.

Stuart Carlton 33:12
Justice podcast is and it's true. We didn't do the full intro with you but you'll hear it is I don't really know a lot about the Great Lakes and so I never heard of Commodore Perry so there's a great lakes connect a GLC if you will.

Mike Williams 33:25
This guy has the he has the most awesome middle name ever. His full name is Oliver hazard Perry.

Stuart Carlton 33:33
That's pretty awesome.

Mike Williams 33:34
That can be the factoid too. All right, hold

Stuart Carlton 33:37
on. It's a great lakes factoids, a Great Lakes factoid it's a great factoid about the Great Lakes.

Mike Williams 33:47
Hazard Perry hazards the best middle name ever

Carolyn Foley 33:51
naming a little baby like I know. Yeah. Anyway,

Mike Williams 33:55
it was late 1700s There's

Stuart Carlton 33:58
not a lot different thing. So yeah.

Mike Williams 34:05
So he's famous for he was very pivotal in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812. And that was fat flat out like the islands which is near Sandusky, you know, Cedar Point all that stuff. He has been to Cedar Point.

Stuart Carlton 34:20
Yeah, here we go up there. My wife is from just north of Dayton. So she has told me about

Mike Williams 34:25
Cedar Point. Yes, the the glories of Cedar Point. Right. So that's where the battle is fought in that general area. Just an impactful there's like a bajillion things along the north coast here the the shore of Lake Erie named Perry so it was kind of a no brainer.

Stuart Carlton 34:42
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant all that stuff. So

Mike Williams 34:43
he was yeah, he was basically a big hero. And if you ever see a can you know if this were a visual thing, you could see him triumphantly standing on a ship of the sword and our favorite thing is his his motto is don't give up the ship and you'll see flags of that everywhere but we modified then don't give up the CIP waste waste not want not, but

Stuart Carlton 35:06
you got to be careful with these 18th century slogans. Right, Texas and everybody had flags with cannons on them. They say come and take it. Which we're not going to get into because we're Yeah, exactly. But don't give up the sip. I prefer. Yeah, I prefer don't give up the sip. Coming take So okay, so

Carolyn Foley 35:27
no, wait. So one second. This is the point of the podcast where I have to remind everyone that Carolyn's from Canada and actually from the other side of the

Stuart Carlton 35:36
Commodore Perry, let's pretend that I don't know anything about the War of 1812. Other than the song in 1814. We took a little trip. We took a little beatings and fought a mighty battle in town in New Orleans. You know, that's all I know about. So what else about the War of 1812? I mean, we could talk were you the enemy. Were you the enemy? We

Sandra Svoboda 35:53
were? Yes.

Carolyn Foley 35:55
I mean, things. You

Stuart Carlton 35:58
tune in? Yeah, nevermind on that.

Carolyn Foley 36:00
But you know, the history. One of the coolest like kind of bizarre stories is like that, like the lake Western Lake Erie froze and people like walked across to try to go against each other and stuff like that. So what oh, sorry.

Stuart Carlton 36:15
We purchased your microphone. Yeah.

Carolyn Foley 36:19
Worried but yeah. Anyway, so so that's cool, but it didn't have connections.

Mike Williams 36:22
Totally cool. And a lot of you know, a lot of others. Classic beards have those cool stories behind them,

Stuart Carlton 36:26
too. Alright, let's get one more. One more.

Carolyn Foley 36:28
We're gonna go to the Indiana connection. Sure. Yeah,

Mike Williams 36:31
actually, you know, you got to fill me in too, because I didn't know the NES Indiana connection. I know Chicago. Yeah.

Stuart Carlton 36:39
Yeah. I'll fill you in. First you fill me in on who else?

Mike Williams 36:43
Was Eliot Ness? He was. He's famous for Boston. A lot of bootleggers like Al Capone and all that. So big, big time stuff. The Untouchables the movie.

Stuart Carlton 36:55
Costner Yes, yes.

Mike Williams 36:57
Yes, right. For me answer. I'm not a movie buff.

Stuart Carlton 37:01
But I'm aware of covering.

Mike Williams 37:02
I've told that story a million times about the untouchables, but she probably will rewatch it once. So he then after he kind of got famous in Chicago, he came to Cleveland, which remember that time Cleveland was one of the biggest cities in the country. Yeah. It's like top five population wise. So

Stuart Carlton 37:19
it's a great lakes back to back toward it's a great factoids about the Great Lakes. Solid, Alright, anyway, so yeah, they typically,

Mike Williams 37:31
and he was our public safety director, so kind of a high level, high visibility position, and all that he ran for mayor a couple of times ran on the road tickets, so he had no chance of winning, but he ran. That's how big of a presidency was. And part of what's really cool is, he drank at the bar, that is now our main tap room. Let's ride around, we're in the beer symposium. If you go out of here, hanging left hanging over left, about 20 seconds stumble, there is our main bar, which goes the building goes back to the 1860s. The bar itself goes back to about 1901. And it's a really, really cool old school space that of course, you know, has some modern touch of modern sleekness added to it, but it's maintained a lot of the integral structure from back then. So nest was known to be a frequent consumer at that bar. He has on like stool and all that kind of stuff. And there are some bullet holes that are lodged in the walls of the bar space, are rumored to be attached to nests in some way. So the second cool connection that we have them is that the CO owners, their mother, was nurses stenographer. So that's, that's like one degree of separation. Right? Right.

Stuart Carlton 38:48
But how does that work with history? History is weird. So when was this nice situation?

Mike Williams 38:53
This is like 30 Yeah, not that long ago. And Danner? I mean, you know, we're talking 50s 60s. Yeah, right. It seems like a long time ago, but it's really not.

Stuart Carlton 39:04
I wouldn't know. I totally remember I was at the University of Florida getting one of my too many degrees. And there's a guy in like, one of the chemistry department I was talking to her like on it and attended a lecture by Einstein. Yeah, right. I mean, that was a thing, like a literal Einstein lecture. He was he was, I mean, I'm not joking, but like 100 a literal 100 years old, but it happens quickly. Yeah. Cool. Well, what are we will put, we will take some pictures of these bullet holes, and we will put them on our show notes, which you can find a teaspoon about the great lakes.com/six Seven, if I'm doing my math, right, because this is episode number 67. Believe. Good number

Carolyn Foley 39:44
pletely. Bonkers. Okay, so we're right near Lake Erie. And beer is mostly water plus some good stuff. So there is a connection. Is there sorry, there is no Is there a connection between what happens here and the water that's in Leakey Are you?

Mike Williams 40:00
Yeah, absolutely. So we're using Cleveland city water here, which, you know, we're what like a mile, I think from the from from the lake. So It completely makes sense that we're drawn or water from from Lake Erie. And you know, we're we're lucky, it's not the case everywhere, but we actually do we have really, Lake Erie has really good brewing water as it is pretty much we treat it obviously first of all, of course the city does their own treatment and stuff like that. For sanitation, when we bring it into the brewery, what we'll do is we'll do a charcoal filtration, that's to strip out chlorine. Obviously, you need that so that the water is not making us sick and all that. But throughout the brewing and fermentation process. Chlorine reacting with certain compounds during fermentation would create this kind of like medicinal or smoky flavor. So we don't want that. So strip out the chlorine. And then stuff like so stuff that's important for brewing. Brewing water is the pH and pH is like just a touch alkaline. We want a little bit of acidity through the brew house. So it's actually great. We don't have to modify it too much. We boost the calcium a little bit, which helps basically fermentation process and all that helps with like stability of the beer. And then it's pretty much ready to go. So we're lucky that we do have some really great water for brewing right here in our backyard. Yeah.

Stuart Carlton 41:30
And so so then I was thinking about it. I was doing some research on the way over, which means conversing in the car with our director. And sometimes the water like Cleveland has water problems like when the water like when there's Harmful Algal Blooms going on, or whatever. They might even have to epoxy epoxy. Amazing. Yeah, yeah. They have to even shut down the water or something like that. Does that affect y'all? Or what do y'all do about that? Or do you have like, Oh, you have a water reservoir?

Mike Williams 41:53
We do. We have a water tower. It's not too far away. That may be a backup for that specific situation. I am not 100% familiar the algal blooms and stuff I think is more a little bit. That's happened like I can think of like one or two times, right. That's more like Toledo, though. So a little bit further to the west, like closer to the Maumee and all that right, because like Erie of course, is the shallowest of the Great Lakes. Yeah, if I'm not mistaken, the deep part is further east. And then the further west you go, it gets more and more shallow. So I think it's more of a problem out west because of that. Yeah. So you guys haven't had to deal with that. Thanks, Thomas. We've had pink water and stuff sometimes. Hold on. No. No, it was it was totally it was this, this city told us it was something totally harmless. Something involved with with sanitation, stuff like that.

Carolyn Foley 42:51
So you're totally fine. Nope. You also have something called the Great Lakes burning River Fest. Can you tell us about that? You do.

Mike Williams 43:00
Yeah. So in part because we have this extremely valuable resource right here a mile away. And because of it's also very much because of how patent and operate you know, water stewardship in particular, but also general environmental stewardship is something that's very important for the company overall. So the Conway's the triple bottom line philosophy is something that of course, other companies have used to, we're able to take particular advantage of it and have little waves on our logo for a number of years, we've streamlined that, but it is something that matters very deeply personally to the Conway's is yes, of course, having a profitable business where you're able to give a lot of people meaningful work and all that stuff, but at the same time, also doing your part to protect the environment. And of course, also to support your local community and socials structure and stuff like that. So one of the biggest ways that we have given back to specifically water stewardship is through the burning river festival. So that started in 2001. It was actually held in the brewery itself. We're pretty much just a city block, but that at that time, we had just opened that facility and there's still a lot of room. We make a lot more beer now. So there's a lot more, a lot more things. And so we moved. I believe the festival has been in a couple of different locations, but in my memory it's been on at the historic coastguard station, which is right at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River of course, also an essential water resource for us here in Cleveland. And it's a really stunning steam so obviously we have not been able to host that the past three years, man crazy 2019 was the last one which was kind of cool because it was the the 50th anniversary of that whole you know the river fire stuff. Oh yeah, we get Yeah, well, it's We're talking about Behringer offense right so the river caught on fire. And I'm sure that listeners on here may know Yes,

Stuart Carlton 45:04
right. In fact, if listeners listened to last week's episode, which we've totally already recorded, and are not about to record tonight at rest had breweries in Cleveland, I bet we will have talked with Dr. Chris Winslow about the river.

Carolyn Foley 45:17
Yep. Now you're building what we have to talk about. Anyway, go ahead.

Mike Williams 45:23
So I don't need to tell the burning river stories.

Stuart Carlton 45:24
Oh, tell tell. So the river River was angry that the river,

Mike Williams 45:32
the river caught on fire a number of times, we have a kind of rivers caught on fire anywhere there was industrialization because this is before we had a lot of regulations for dumping of waste and things like that. And, of course, with advances in electricity and snow trains running at higher speeds across bridges over oil slicks, you know, river fires could happen. And I, my knowledge is there, like probably 12 or 13. That happened in Cleveland, but this was not. Again, we're just talking history, right? This is 50 years. This is like barely 50 years ago, and this was common, right? That my my parents or my parents are 20 by that?

Stuart Carlton 46:10
Yeah, no, that's how I found out Yeah, I used to hear about the Cuyahoga River. I thought it caught on fire once but no, no it. Yeah,

Mike Williams 46:16
it's number of times. And again, it's happen all over the place. We got particularly we got particular notoriety. The way we've, the way I've learned about is like it was featured in Time Magazine and the lunar landing edition or something like that. So of course, that's Cleveland's look right there. Oh, yeah. They showed a picture of like a fire that from years ago, that was much worse. But the reason why so we like to take bad bad stuff and make good out of it. Clevelanders were very essential under believed Carl Stokes, the mayor at the time were very influential in pushing, like, pressuring federal government to get the Clean Water Act passed, and kind of modernizing the EPA. And then we've taken that theme for the burning river beer generally, but also specifically for the festival. So it's a cool fast, crossing fingers that 2023 is the year we'll see. We'll wait. But things seem to be we're in a pretty solid place. So we're hopeful it can happen next year, but it's basically music, local vendors food, a bunch of our beer, beautiful setting, and we've raised something like almost 700 grand for water stewardship and other local nonprofit classes.

Stuart Carlton 47:32
That is awesome. Pretty cool. Yeah, I think about that a lot like the tension sort of between, you know, doing good and doing well, I guess. And I know people say you can do both, right, but But y'all think about that, like, this is something you're kind of passionate about? How do you kind of decide what I want to say? Like, how do you decide how much of your corporate weight to put behind these sorts of initiatives? I guess, yeah,

Mike Williams 47:51
it's tough, it's definitely tough. And you know, the those above my paygrade know more about this than I do and all that, right. But generally, you know,

Stuart Carlton 47:59
I don't say mail, so

Mike Williams 48:04
you gotta email that media account. And then to mine my knowledge, my experience with how we do balance, that triple bottom line,

Stuart Carlton 48:15
we say we get triple bottom line is no

Mike Williams 48:18
bottom line, I kind of like briefly kind of alluded to it, but it's having a an economically profitable business, while also maintaining environmental and like social stewardship, basically. So it's something that we, we, when we approach, whatever we do, let's say, like in the gift shop, we have a responsible purchasing policy. So we're going to sell T shirts, right? We're going to do as much as we can to make sure that our T shirts, the T shirts that are are the base design are made in a place where they're paying their workers, adjust wage and not working them 15 hours a day, and stuff like that. So when we approach any aspect of the business, we're going to keep those core principles in mind, you know, we still ultimately the most important resource for us as our people and stuff, so we have to be business comes first. But we're never we're not going to ignore those other aspects. Because yeah,

Stuart Carlton 49:20
when it can't be the kind of thing I I'm not asking you in any way to talk about like your bottom line, all that stuff. But there's a trillion brewers out there, right. So right and just basic capitalism is not a very it's not super profitable, at least on a mark because there's so many out there and so it's hard to do that. To think about how to balance those triple.

Mike Williams 49:40
Ultimate I think comes down to pat and Dan really dislike and since they're still the owners of the company, and they they care so much, which is great. There but really a drive that and other other other breweries also do their part in various ways too, but like, sometimes, sometimes it's bad that we are like you We have to like, come up with this new beer first before we can you know, before we can do X, Y, or Z, so shows you how to get a guy's there. This is

Stuart Carlton 50:06
what I have a question about. So I don't even know what this I'm, I'm transcribing here. So I have a neighbor named Steve. And Steve every now and again, what happens is I'll get a text to a garage beers tonight. And the answer to what garage beers is? Yes, I have my garage beers. And it's rhetorical. Yeah. And so we put the kids down. And then I'll waltz on over for garage beers. And, and so one night, we were sitting having garage beers, and sometimes garage single malt scotches. Naturally garage bourbons. You know, every now and again,

Mike Williams 50:37
yeah. So my witnesses are all normal. I don't

Stuart Carlton 50:45
garaging and I'm just like, Hey, Steve, I'm going to Great Lakes Brewing Company. Very excited to do this interview, we've got the interview, we cannot close down to putting out blah, blah, blah, right. And it seems like oh, this oyster stout. Alright, well, first of all, what is oysters out? And second of all, why doesn't it taste like oyster oyster?

Mike Williams 51:05
Yeah. So yes. Everyone said like, it's always fun when someone, again, like via social media, or like emailed our general inbox, naming X beer that I haven't thought about for like seven years. Oh, that beer? Yeah. I actually remember the oyster stout. So oyster Stout is a thing. It's in British pubs. So when Porter and stout became really popular, like in the 18 1700s, and 1800s, it was would be the beer of choice for people going to regular pubs and public houses. And these people would like work on the ships and carry stuff, arrow by the style guy named Porter, the whole Porter stout thing, we won't get into that, but a very common bar snack was oysters. And if you like, this voice, right, exactly, but you're right there by the dock some of water and stuff. And you know, like an oyster has got some salinity to it, of course. And then it's got maybe a certain kind of a mommy thing going on which you would find some resonance in the beer with like, the whole rosiness and all that of a stout. So apparently, I'm not entirely sure why. But some brewers got the idea that why don't we brew with the oyster? Oh, no, it's like a finding agent. That's why. So whatever. 30th anniversary, it's the pearl anniversary thing. So he said, Let's do an oyster stout. Oh, so we did the the oyster stout personally. Yeah, I didn't. Okay, it didn't taste exactly like an oyster, but I got the salinity. Okay, I got the salinity.

Stuart Carlton 52:49
So So then my next question is, why can't we get a West off yet? I guess because you haven't brewed it in like 20 years. Correct.

Mike Williams 52:55
We brewed it that was it was so it was 2018. We had just entered in Indiana, that point.

Stuart Carlton 53:02
Oh, so he must have gotten an oyster stout as that's probably

Mike Williams 53:04
how he had it. Right. But he Yeah. So there you go.

Stuart Carlton 53:10
So I'm curious. Like I think about this all the time. So when you all started and this when you were born? Essentially the company started they call it MicroBrute then micropro. Right, like right. And like and there was Sam Adams who it for my money is the most valuable brewer in America because you go to any small town and get a Sam Adams and you know that their Boston Lager is a solid beer and it's totally Yeah, but but since then it's really expanded. Right. And so you you served as this Commodore Perry, which is no wonder as to my palate. It's an older beer. You said Right. And so my beer tastes like my music tastes frozen about 2004 Why should I ever know hazy IPA? Well, I mean, it's fine. But I'm like,

Mike Williams 53:50
a nice well rounded whippersnapper. Like,

Stuart Carlton 53:53
yeah, exactly. But, um, so what kind of changes have you seen? Or if you could speak to this, as you know, it feels like it's really is it really cutthroat now compared to how it was? Or like, is it harder to do because you have to be more competitive or, or share?

Mike Williams 54:06
There's, there's definitely more competition. So, you know, I'm the history guy here, too. So we talked about this stuff all the time, especially with new staff trainings and stuff to give our employees or employee owners context about, you know, why we operate like we did before with a lot of those classic beers and why we're operating like we do today with the hazy and like, we have like the citrus we called Crush worthy, that's totally targeted towards somebody that we never would have thought of targeting before just because of how things have changed. So like 80s Again, very little beer out there most of those late loggers. If you came at them with an imperial IPA, people have been like, this is disgusting. It's so bitter and why does it smell like like grape fruit? At that time, people had no context for that and craft brewers over time. I mean, there's a revolutionary spirit in craft beer from the beginning, saying No to the large mass produced beer, we want to do something that's more flavorful. It's more interesting to us. And craft brewers have continued to push that envelope over the course of four decades.

Stuart Carlton 55:14
So have you have you all come up with something where it's like, oh, this is good, but the world isn't ready for this yet. Is that like a thing?

Mike Williams 55:22
Well, if I told you but we are not we have we? Yeah. So basically, where we're at now is like those beers, those classic beers are still extremely important to us Dortmunder biggest seller still, mmm Fitzgerald has such a red Eliot Ness to if you go outside of Cleveland, those beers are some of our bigger beers. But here in Cleveland, like, because of what you guys are brought up competition, there's, there's 10 breweries in the neighborhood we're in right now in Ohio city. And there are other people out there also making really good beer and that have cool packaging that really like wow catches people's eyes. So we've had to evolve and adapt as a brewery as well. And well, of course, we still have that that rock solid foundation of the classics that got us here. We've also adapted because of those circumstances. And because people James throughout time, you know, the people that those young kids those 23 year old, they want their seltzers and whatever else, right? You know, so like, we have to be thinking in that mindset of, we would never want to rest on our laurels anyways, right? We don't want to just say, Oh, well, Dortmunder is great. And it got us here. So why change you know, we want any good craft brewers gonna want to continue to push the envelope and do the hazy IPA or the tropical stuff, or imperial IPA is all that stuff that we've gotten into over the past couple of years. So it's more fun for us to like, I love the classics, but just want to do it right. Like, we're creators, like, we want to, like make the new stuff too and get excited about it.

Carolyn Foley 57:00
Right. And like, it's cool to be adaptive. changed.

Mike Williams 57:05
Yeah, the key for us is both right? Yeah, have both within reason within proper balance and all that. But like, we didn't ditch our paths, right? But we're still going to try to blaze the trail forward.

Stuart Carlton 57:16
Like, what's something that you'd like to think about this year? The historian, right. And again, all this will probably be it's fine. I know. I know that. But But, but something I was thinking about Carl and I were talking about this the other day, and she's like, I would really want to just like nerd out about the history stuff. So if I ask you to nerd out about the history stuff, or the one thing that you want to nerd out about what what is something you want to nerd out about? Like I'd like to nerd out about? Give me 30 seconds.

Mike Williams 57:43
Man. I mean, I could go so many different ways with this. Like I always loved hearing about sensory stuff, either different, or the way we perceive flavor and jelly beans for you guys.

Stuart Carlton 57:53
I mean, generally speaking, that's true. But tell me about this

Mike Williams 57:57
idea. This fun trick. Like we do this fun trick for pretty much any training. It always gets people. It's great, where we're demonstrating about how we taste. And of course, this is for everything, not just beer.

Stuart Carlton 58:09
But I mean, if you're tasting beer, right, right. I

Mike Williams 58:12
agree. I wholeheartedly agree or cheese cheese is also good. Yeah. But what we think we think we perceive flavor in the mouth, but it's almost entirely the nose. That's that's giving us we have five tastes or maybe six fat. I think that is that is officially a taste. But the entire national fat scientists, the people who decide the all the sensory stuff, fat is in there, too. So everything else that the rich, you know, wide range of experience is coming from the nose. So what I do is and it'd be so much better if we had jellybeans right now. But I have to plug it nose. And I'm going to talk to the microphone to find out my nose. Perfect. They take the Jelly Bean and chew and ask that to pay attention with a taste. And then after a couple of seconds like go the nose and people's faces just go like that, right? Because all they can taste is sweet. Or if it's the lemon lime Jelly Bean, they can taste a little bit of tart. And then once you like every note is like that. So marshmallow. That's cherry like so it's pretty cool. Yeah, that applies for everything. But that's why we always recommend, I've heard you guys beers in a cup rather than drinking from a cat or something like that. So you can really smell that beer. Right? That's the nerding Perfect, perfect.

Stuart Carlton 59:31
So we talked a minute and one thing we talked about, you know, thinking about water and your water usage and things like that. But I mean beer uses a lot, right? I mean, the production of beer, the drinking of beer, and now that everybody's moved to cans, you know, the aluminum and all that kind of stuff. You know, is there something I'll do so I but a lot of the beer companies are really forward thinking too, right? And so we've talked before the tension between like profits and doing good, but in other places like the profit potential between wanting to produce awesome beer, but that uses a keg load of resources. Right? And so yeah, I don't know. So what do y'all do to like, try to reduce that. Is there anything you do?

Carolyn Foley 1:00:13
Is there anything that you're sort of particularly proud of? Sure.

Mike Williams 1:00:16
Yeah, yeah, there's a lot we do around the brewery. And some of this stuff has been going on for some time with a kind of a mentality to preserve that, that precious resource that we have just a mile away. So it's, there's some stuff in the pub, as simple as some restaurants I'm actually bringing water out and stuff like you can't usually wait for upon request, we have a rain barrel outside collects rain that's used for watering the plants, there's a lot of use, if you go over a beer or anything after they still see there's a lot of plants over there. But it's the brewery across the street that you know produces like just hundreds and 1000s of barrels of beer every year where the actual brewing production facility production facilities buts the restaurant place, because obviously, there's a lot of liquid involved with brewing the beer, each batch is 75 barrels 31 gallons to a barrel. So it's a lot of water. But like we do 10 times as much cleaning as we do brewing. So that's a lot of if anyone out there is listening to this, and they think they want to get into brewing, right, I hope you like cleaning. That is most of what it is. So obviously, from many perspectives, we want to reduce our water usage as much as possible. So some state some ways we do that. I was just talking with our maintenance and engineering director earlier today. And I had to give him the shout for this because it kind of blew my mind. So we were able to we made a change in the filtration system that I guess is saving us like a million gallons. Up put six zeros on there. So it seems like a lot of water, right? It's simply because by replacing like, city water cooled piece of equipment with like, a closed loop cooling system, something like that some of the stuff is almost like, like laughably small tweaks you have to make and we're like, Oh, my goodness, we're saving literally a million gallons of water. So. But some of the other stuff we've done for a while is like sanitation, again being huge, what we rinsed each bottle out before we fill it, why let that water just go down the drain, when it's perfectly usable again. So we take that, pressurize it, and then use it to cool the vacuum pump, which helps out with filtration. Something that's probably a little more common for other breweries is there's a part in the brewing process where we go from hot to cold very quickly. So when you're brewing it, there's heating up to like 150 degrees, and then there's boiling. And then after the boil, we start to let the beer cool, and then very rapidly chill it. do that through a counter flow mechanism where we're shooting cold water one way. And of course, that intersection right there is going to take the heat from the eventual beer and transfer it to that colder water. So it shows the what becomes the beer. That water that then got heated up, goes back to the brew house in his reuse. So we're definitely mindful as much as we can be of reusing those resources as much as we can. tons of other stuff we do for reducing and reusing too. We've already we've covered a lot of stuff so I don't have to get too deep or too nerdy about this, but I'll just say we were pretty

Carolyn Foley 1:03:42
sure all right, so you're

Mike Williams 1:03:43
composting. You know the switch to Kansas kind of helps with reducing carbon footprint spent grain we go through

Stuart Carlton 1:03:49
the cans have a lower carbon footprint than glass. Well, in

Mike Williams 1:03:53
the sense that there's so much lighter. Should we can Yep, that kind of stuff yet. I was brushing up on the difference of on recyclability. I know that glass does have certain advantages for recyclability and all that but cans also are made from recycled, whatever the two big ones are spent grain we have about 150,000 pounds of grain after we're done brewing every week that goes to like a local cattle farmer. So you know helps us not have to dispose of it somewhere that obviously goes to his cattle. We then in the past we've procured beef from that particular farmer and then served in the pub, so a little circular thing going on there. And then the best part there will be low filled bottles and cans and we cannot sell those of course for multiple reasons legal business reputation. So my favorite conservation effort is employees taking local bottles and enjoying them, but also using them to make mustards barbecue sauce

Stuart Carlton 1:05:00
That's fantastic. That's cool. So which store is the secret hidden door where all the low fill bottles are? Right here?

Mike Williams 1:05:05
That one, right? barn doors,

Stuart Carlton 1:05:08
go to the bathroom, let me know. Super cool. No, actually, Mike. So this is really interesting. And I love hearing about the history of Great Lakes brewing and the good work that you're doing and thinking about, you know, how do you the three, little wave profit three? The triple bottom line, right, it's not enough that you have to triple a triple I agree. Oh, I got a triple bottom and anyway, the point is, is that's actually not why we invited you here on teach me about the Great Lakes this week. The reason that we invited you here and teach me about the Great Lakes ask you two questions. The first of which is this and I normally can say that faster and enunciate more. First of which is first of which is this has not happened. Thank you, Commodore. If you could choose to have a great donut for breakfast or a great sandwich for lunch which would you choose?

Mike Williams 1:06:00
is unequivocally the sandwich unequivocally sandwich all the way? My brother's the donut guy and I'm the sandwich. Oh, can I love thinking about sandwich construction? Very important. Hold on. All right. All right. Well, you know like, you just can't throw this stuff on there willy nilly like it's it. Let's layer let's layer on meat and then a cheese and you know, depending on what kind of sandwich it is the lettuce and tomato can be on the

Stuart Carlton 1:06:30
bottom. This is my question. No, no, I'm dead serious. I'm thinking about this a lot. Because, you know, I went it's tomato season, right? And so we have a garden and the rabbits eat everything in the garden and I'm not going to fight rabbits like Pomona administrator and I'm tend to fight rabbits. But but so they don't eat the tomatoes. So I've got the tomatoes and there's nothing better than a garden fresh tomato. It's the best. And so I'm gonna make a sandwich. And I never know should it go under the cheese or over the cheese? So do you have a thought I'd like just a friendly kind of like a normal turkey sandwich or

Mike Williams 1:07:01
Yeah, I do over over that, you know, breads you gotta chatter or Swiss or is it a you know, a more mild cheese stuff like that. So mild? Somebody could go on top, maybe in the bottom? So you can Yeah, it's all about like, I think of impact of what's actually going on my palate and stuff. Some more intense you know, alright.

Stuart Carlton 1:07:26
The rest of the podcast no deleted, so,

Carolyn Foley 1:07:29
no, we aren't you're gonna ask. We're actually including

Stuart Carlton 1:07:34
a question that I'm still trying to build my

Carolyn Foley 1:07:36
brain you in, man.

Stuart Carlton 1:07:37
I know. You're trying to. I can't do it. You gotta last me to a master bedroom. Fitzgerald. Okay, fine.

Carolyn Foley 1:07:43
Well, I'm not connecting with that. So

Stuart Carlton 1:07:45
we'll talk soon, which is later. So the thing is, is that we're in Cleveland right now, as Carolyn has pointed out, if that made it into a thing, Quinn, I would ask you to think carefully. But the point is this. Tomorrow, I'm gonna have to leave Sea Grant week. Very sad. Early. Carolyn has already expressed dismay. Yeah. Anyway, before I go, I'm gonna get a sandwich. Right? Okay, yeah, I'm gonna get a sandwich. Where should I go? And what sandwich?

Mike Williams 1:08:15
Okay. So like one of the famous sandwich places is Sleiman Deli. And it's, you know, it's classic corned beef, all that kind of stuff. So I would just, I mean, they're like this big. Go to

Stuart Carlton 1:08:27
slide mints. Alright, alright, he's holding up his hands and they're good. 686 to eight. Yeah, that's Yeah, yeah, the size of a pint of beer.

Mike Williams 1:08:35
A lot of good sandwiches in Cleveland. But that's alright. So I'm steadily going to get the corner near you said not to actually pretty close to where you guys would be gone. 30th like 30th in superior or something like that. Okay, pretty good. Or Froot Loops or mac and cheese? No, no.

Carolyn Foley 1:08:51
He's giving grief about what we versus

Stuart Carlton 1:08:55
last night. I was looking at him. I was all fired up. And then I saw Froot Loops as an ingredient.

Mike Williams 1:09:03
It's fun. It's different. Yeah, it is different. With brown mustard. Yellow mustard. Yeah,

Stuart Carlton 1:09:10
I didn't realize that was a thing until I park specific or is that the ball?

Mike Williams 1:09:13
We didn't make? We make mustard with the local mustard company. Local beer. Yeah. Okay,

Carolyn Foley 1:09:19
cool. Okay, so, Mike, what is a special place in the Great Lakes that you'd like to share with our audience and what makes it special

Mike Williams 1:09:29
and thinking about this place in particular lately, so my parents have a house up on Marblehead and this little like Lakeside called Lakeside community, nice little spot. And one of my favorite things to do is my wife and I will go up this time of year so they charge a good fee during the year or like this the summer season. And that's totally worth it to but we love coming in the fall when it's just a little bit cooler leaves might be starting to turn soon. Don't have to pay the gate fee or anything like that. And we just go out there and it's like a little mini retreat for us. And it's right by the water. And it's you know, it's like a five, seven minute walk from the little cottage down to, they have this nice big pier and we like to go and sit on the pier and just kind of taken Lake Erie. And hopefully it's clear out and get a nice sunset and all that stuff. So I love going up to that little retreat like place and we're we're planning our weekend right now. So yeah, that's, that's my spot. That's my spot.

Stuart Carlton 1:10:29
Maybe I'll skip the rest of my responsibilities and do that. Thomas says, anyway, Mike Williams spraying coordinator and company educator and historian for the wonderful Great Lakes Brewing Company in Cleveland. Thank you so much for coming on and teaching us all about the Great Lakes

Mike Williams 1:10:44
share thing You're welcome. Cheers guys.

Stuart Carlton 1:11:07
What a fascinating conversation and I'm so glad to finally finally after three years nail, the one interview that we wanted to get the not the entire reason I started the podcast, of course. But the tertiary reason maybe like you're talking about your triple bottom line, or whatever, right? This is one of our bottom lines was we just want to go to real like this. I mean, it's fun. It's fun. And one of the things we talk about a lot is the need for like, we want a culture of the Great Lakes being an amazing resource. And so this is, in addition to the good beer, the cultural resource aspect of it, I think it's good,

Carolyn Foley 1:11:37
right? And I'm gonna go ahead and say like, we still got to nerd out, and we

Stuart Carlton 1:11:42
were wondering if we'd get to nerd out? We're certainly Yeah. Oh, Carolyn, my goodness. Yeah, we are recording the outro right in line, as we always do. And I just realized we didn't pick up the Elliot Ness connection. So

Carolyn Foley 1:12:02
So realistically, I sort of made a like, assumption that I should look up and if I find something, we'll put it in the shownotes at teach me about the Great Lakes lab.com/ 67 Is that what we said? Yes. So I mean, there's a huge connection to from like, the mob activity in Chicago and people who would kind of head downstate to like Terre Haute in Indiana, or over to, I'm not going to get it right. It's like either green bush or green field where people would go in they would hide out and stuff like that. So I sort of assumed that there was an Indiana connection that Eliot Ness was was

Stuart Carlton 1:12:39
gonna be so you know what this sounds like? What fodder for a future episode? Potentially, until then. teach people about the Great Lakes is brought to you by the fine people of Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, we encourage you to check out the great work we do at AI sea grant.org and i l i n Sea Grant on Facebook, Twitter and other social media. Teaching about the Great Lakes is produced by hope charters, Carolyn Foley Meghan Gunn, and reading miles. You can choose ourselves producer and our fixer are super fun podcast artwork by Joel Davenport. The show is edited by the awesome Queen Rose. Thank you, Quinn, and I encourage you to check out her work at aspiring robot.com Wonderful. If you have a question or comment on the show, please email it to teach me about the great lakes@gmail.com or leave a message or Hotline at 765496 IESG for Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant. You can also follow the show on Twitter at Teach Great Lakes. Hey, thanks for listening. Keep Great Lakes

Carolyn Foley 1:13:40
did you do did you do doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo. That's me trying to get the timing. So, Mike, we totally forgot because we do this periodically. We've got to ask Where can people learn more about what's happening at Great Lakes brewing?

Mike Williams 1:13:56
Well, you can lose

Stuart Carlton 1:13:57
credits. It's gonna be so long. Oh my god because we normally like if something is way off topic, but it's still kind of fun. We'll put it after the credits. Or if we totally botch something Well, that's fine. So anyway, but now it's okay to two thirds of the podcast will be after the credits. True.

Carolyn Foley 1:14:12
That's not true. Just

Stuart Carlton 1:14:16
to learn more about the awesome stuff that y'all are doing.

Mike Williams 1:14:18
Our website is lovely. www dot Great Lakes brewing.com We are on all of the socials, Facebook and Twitter. Facebook is Great Lakes Brewing Co just put us in the search. Yeah. Instagram Twitter would be GLVC underscore Cleveland, and a few are on the tiktoks we are on that too.

Stuart Carlton 1:14:45
Oh no. That's for snapper.

Mike Williams 1:14:50
You like hazy IPAs, then you're on tictac

Carolyn Foley 1:15:00
Yes New sisters we can actually hear it but that's okay because it's recording on yours no but I'm just doing this I'm doing it so

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