#1: From the Beginning... thus far, anyway.

The Sherman Potter Expedition, ca. March 1983, Lookout Mountain, Ralls County Missouri.  L to R: Barry Sieh, Joel Owen, me, Fahren Green.  Not pictured: Mark Dierking, Photographer.  We nearly died- or killed ourselves- depending upon your perspective.

The Sherman Potter Expedition, ca. March 1983, Lookout Mountain, Ralls County Missouri.  L to R: Barry Sieh, Joel Owen, me, Fahren Green.  Not pictured: Mark Dierking, Photographer.  We nearly died- or killed ourselves- depending upon your perspective.

Three things that I have always had an affinity for; Traveling, Camping, and Beer.  I always enjoyed seeing new places, perusing over maps, imagining the scenery, the vegetation, the topography of the land.  From a young age, going on family trips across the United States, mostly to the Rocky Mountain West and the Gulf Coastal South, but occasionally my dad would venture farther afield; we went to California, once.  Oh, and Mexico-  well if you count Juarez and Tijuana as really being in Mexico.  I became very familiar over the years with our nearest "vacation" area; The Ozarks of southern Missouri.  Short getaways to the hills were easily done on a moments notice.  Dad would finish a job (he was a Union Ironworker), he'd go rent a camper for the truck then come home and throw our stuff in and head off to Bagnell Dam, or Branson, neither of which I learned as the years went on are 'really' the Ozarks... but I digress.

Finishing high school, my feet began to itch-  I worked on the towboats on the Ohio and Mississippi for awhile, I took off for two summers and the year in between to Lubbock Texas where I played baseball and delivered pizzas (okay, let's call a spade a spade and not a shovel- I was bum.  A well groomed bum, but a bum nonetheless.)  I drank a lot of cheap Lone Star Beer and Don Julio tequila.  We didn't have craft beer yet, but one of the guys that I worked with at Pizza Express was a home brewer, and when we'd get off work and head over to his apartment he shared some brown ales and stouts with me, and I liked it, but the only thing available commercially that compared were imports, and pizza delivering baseball bums couldn't afford to buy imported beer at the drive up liquor stores sitting on the edge of the Lubbock city limits.

After Lubbock, I decided it was probably best to think about what I was going to do for the rest of my life.  I went to college.  While at Northwest Missouri State and the University of Missouri I tended to hang with like minded people; that is beer drinkers who liked to dream about traveling. I studied History and English, thought I wanted to be a college professor but in grad school I realized that I hated teaching college students who really only wanted one or two things: a high GPA or just pass the class- learning something from the class wasn't even a thought.  Also, to be honest, I didn't meet too many people in my graduate school experience who were happy.  Maybe it was just the school and program I chose, but it wasn't for me.  It was just kind of a bummer and I was happy to leave it.

A job in marketing and sales for a Fortune 500 company fell into my lap.  I did that for awhile and yes I did get to travel some, but never got to "see" anything.  A hotel room in Parsippany looks pretty much the same as a hotel room in El Paso.  I did that for a few years. Had my first Boulevard Beer in 1989, my true introduction to craft beer, and I liked it.   I returned to my hometown for two years, tried to get my first bar going- oh, I forgot to mention, starting in Texas I began waiting on tables and bartending, did it through college, a couple of summers when I was home- so I partnered up with a couple of guys, and we started a bar, did that for a couple of years, wasn't going where I hoped, and then went to the work for the State of Missouri in the historic preservation program, started home brewing beer, I kind of sucked at it.  Then an old bar in Jefferson City became available for purchase.  Bought the business, wanted to feature imports and craft beers on tap.  Was told by one distributer who represented A B-ig national brewery that "you'll never make it in this town selling all of those funny beers." (That is a direct quote).  I met my wife. She fell in love with the pub first, then I guess I kinda grew on here. I've had the pub for 18 years, Marilee's started helping me 17 years ago. She and I bought the building 15 years ago.  We got married 13 years ago.  She came to work full time at the pub 12 years ago. I've worked for a corporation, I've worked for the government, and I've worked for my wife.  She is, by far, the best Boss I have ever had.  And that pretty much brings you up to speed.  

The Boss and Me

The Boss and Me

But that doesn't explain how we got to here with The Brews Traveler.  In 2016 I convinced the Boss that we should rent an RV Motorhome and we would take 10 days and go out to Wyoming and South Dakota.  While in the Black Hills we came across the Miners Brewing Company in Hill City and I proposed an idea; what if we got our own RV and go visit Craft Breweries all over the country?  She liked the idea, but didn't really know how we could justify doing such- both monetarily and regarding taking the time away from the pub.  So, I put the idea on the back burner.

Then last October I was watching Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" on TV.  And it hit me; was anyone doing anything like Bourdain, but about craft breweries?  I got up and jumped on the computer and began to do searches.  AND to my surprise the answer was 'No.'  And then a bigger surprise, no one had The Brews Traveler web domain, nor was the name trademarked or copyrighted.  I went in gear and got those things done.  I let some friends know what I was doing and some said let them know what they could do to help.  So, we began to assemble a team. 

But, we still didn't have an RV. Kind of hard to travel across the country in an RV discovering craft breweries if you don't have an RV.  In February I became very sick with a respiratory ailment, and I convinced Marilee that it was time to pull the trigger, get the RV and start visiting all of those places we wanted to see, and all the craft breweries where we wanted to drink before the day came when we couldn't.  We got a small RV in March, in April we loaded up, and took of toward the west with Kodi, and The Brews Traveler's was off and onto it's maiden voyage.

Las Cruces NM, April 2018

Las Cruces NM, April 2018

And that was, as Emerson Lake and Palmer once said, "From the beginning..."