PODCAST: To hear more from Nagrant’s conversation, click the Podcast above. (00.51:39)
MN: What is your first conscious beer memory?
GH: Well, everybody dabbles before they’re allowed to dabble, and usually you go to the nearest source, which is your refrigerator. My father was a Stroh’s guy, but he always had different stuff in the fridge. I’d get an Anchor Steam or a Hacker-Pschorr or a Bass. I didn’t care so much; it was just like, since he’s got more of these than anything else, I’ll take that so he won’t notice.
MN: You have two kids. Is there an appropriate age . . . ?
GH: Well, they’re five and seven. When they were old enough to stick fingers in my glass and suck the liquid off it they were doing that. Most little kids like sweetness, so they like sweet beers. But my son also liked bitterness. He’s a little hophead. They don’t drink beer at home, but they know the ingredients of beer-probably better than a lot of bartenders in town do.
MN: Right now the hot topic is distribution. With Bell’s and New Glarus out of the market, there’s obviously not a lot of local competition at the moment.
GH: I wish there were more brewpubs in Chicago; I wish there were more strong local craft brands in Chicago. You go out to the West Coast-there’s probably 12 craft brewers in Oregon and Washington and Alaska that are almost twice as big as Goose Island.
MN: Your distribution is with Widmer, which is affiliated with Anheuser-Busch. Do you get flack for that?
GH: When we signed this thing, we got a lot of crap from certain people, but I got zero from brewers. They’re all like, Good for you. If that’s getting more craft beer distribution to more parts of the country, there are more people drinking good beer: where’s the bad part of that?
Photograph: Serena Stucke