It’s that time of year again, when people take a few moments to look back over their shoulders at the year that is coming to its end and reflect on the events that unfolded in the past 12 months.
For me 2013 has, in many ways, been the most eventful and exhilarating yet painful and bruising year of my life.
It was the year that – finally – I managed to build start my own craft brewery and, together with brewer Leif, we made our first commercial beer. In doing so I realised a dream I’ve had for many years now. Of everything I’ve done in 2013 that singular moment I saw a bottle of my own beer sitting in a bar for the very first time was the one I am most proud of.
To get to that moment however has given me high blood pressure and a brutal insight into what it takes to own a craft brewery.
I can now honestly say I know what ‘joining the craft beer revolution’ is all about. Or rather what it’s not about. It’s not about spending your working days in a creatively-filled haze brewing all the kind of crazy you can imagine, or hanging out with brew-stars, or drifting from bar to bar launching new creations, high-fiving your customers and drowning in admiration.
It’s actually more about pumps, valves, cleaning, malt orders, hop ratios, more cleaning, stacking bottles, C02, O-rings, 16-hour shifts, even more cleaning, label regulations, skatteverket and….cleaning.
2013 has made me realise just how driven the crazy community of people that start breweries really are. Trust me – the work that goes into getting your next beer into that bottle of yours is immense. It’s so much more than a liquid union of hops, malt, yeast and water. It symbolises passion, hope, skill, anxiety, fear, overcoming adversity and often a little bit of luck.
It’s what makes craft beer so unpredictable and so amazing, and it’s what makes me so proud to play a small part in it.
2013 was a very strange year for me right here at BeerSweden. Because of my involvement in the brewery I have really struggled to find the time and energy to write anywhere near as much as I would have liked to.
Which leads me to my second highlight of the year – the help of others. It’s when you stumble that you need others to pick you up again and this year I have had so much help from so many people who have given so much of their time and energy to keep BeerSweden going.
Firstly I need to thank Joel Linderoth, who started 2013 as the Editor of BeerSweden and ended it in his exciting new position at national newspaper Expressen. For several months it was Joel that drove this site forwards when I could not, working behind the scenes to keep links active, lists updated and our Facebook page current. It was a Herculean effort and I want to publicly thank you Joel for everything you’ve done here. I’m sure 2014 is going to be your year!
I also want to thank Fredrik, who, before but particularly since Joel’s departure has stepped up to the plate and under his own initiative posted a string of insightful and entertaining articles. His knowledge and passion for beer is evident in every sentence he writes. I’m proud that you continue to share your thoughts we us right here Fredrik. Thank you.
And let’s not forget the BeerSweden Forum, which always seemed to ‘fall between my stools’ in 2013. Simply put without the massive and tireless efforts of Manker, Gosatta, Joel and Christer the forum would now be overrun with spambots spewing out posts about erection pills and Russian brides. Instead it remains the best place on the web to discuss and debate beer in this country.
This group of guys really represent to me what the grassroots of today’s beer movement is all about. Every day they devote their time to keep us informed, provoke debate, share knowledge and connect people. You’re all true beer heroes – thank you!
And lastly (this post in turning into something of an Oscar acceptance speech isn’t it….) I want to thank you – yes you – for your patience during 2013 and for coming back here time and again to read what we publish.
So as 2013 draws to a close I find myself looking back on another great year for beer in Sweden. More Swedish craft breweries than ever before, more great beers available in the monopoly than I can ever recall and more people waking up to the fact that beer is so much more than a stor stark.
What will 2014 hold for BeerSweden? For that we need to look forward. There’s some exciting projects in the pipeline and one in particular I’m going to announce tomorrow after the excesses of tonight have worn away.
Until then have an amazing New Years eve. Remember to fill your glass with great beer tonight to see in 2014 in style and I’ll see you back here tomorrow – undoubtedly tired but definitely optimistic about the year ahead.
(ps: I know I missed out lots of people who also deserve a mention for their kind words and help during 2013. But you know who you are – thank you!)