Beer and craft brewing oral history interviews

About this collection

This collection contains a series of interviews conducted in 2015 and 2016 on the business of craft brewing in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. The collection includes interviews with brewers and brewery owners from Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. Additionally, interviews were conducted that cover packaging (canning), distribution, retail sales, and the politics around regulating the alcohol business.

    The project was developed by Gregory Hargreaves, Hagley's former Oral Historian. Mr Hargreaves also conducted the interviews for the project.
    Image: A page from a souvenir album for the F.A. Poth Brewing Company in Philadelphia, 1890. Learn more in our digital exhibit Beer & Brewing History at Hagley Museum & Library

Interview with Forrest "Al" Stewart, 2016 January 12
This interview took place in the lobby seating area of Stewart's Brewing Company in Bear, Delaware. Stewart offers perspective on over twenty years of craft brewing in Delaware, and the challenges of running a brewpub., Al Stewart (1965 - ) is Founder and Owner of Stewart's Brewing Company. A native of northern Delaware, Stewart studied at the University of Delaware before opening Stewart's Brewing Company, the first brewpub in New Castle County, in 1995., [Description and dates], [Hagley ID], Beer and craft brewing oral history interviews (Accession 2016.287), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department
Interview with Barry Holsten, 2016 January 29
This interview began in the employee break room, and shortly moved to the conference room of Flying Fish Brewing Company in Somerdale, New Jersey. Holsten offers perspective on the brewer's profession from a variety of positions within the industry., Barry Holsten (1972 - ) is Head Brewer at Flying Fish Brewing Company. A native of South Brunswick, New Jersey, Holsten grew up in an farming family and entered the brewing industry working in a brewing supply shop and using farm equipment to manufacture brewing components. Holsten has brewed in brewpubs, as a contract brewer, in production brewing settings, and, at the time of this interview, runs brewery operations for Flying Fish Brewing Company., [Description and dates], [Hagley ID], Beer and craft brewing oral history interviews (Accession 2016.287), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department
Interview with Ben Trumbo, 2016 January 9
This interview took place in the taproom of Pale Fire Brewing Company in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Trumbo offers perspective on the work and professional life of brewers, and how the beer industry looks from the brewer's point of view., Ben Trumbo (1983- ) is Lead Brewer at Pale Fire Brewing Company. A native of Botetourt County, Virginia, Trumbo studied religion at the University of Virginia before entering into the craft brewing industry at Six Row Brewing of St. Louis, Missouri. When looking for opportunities in Virginia, Trumbo learned of the opening at Pale Fire Brewing Company and was hired as their Lead Brewer., [Description and dates], [Hagley ID], Beer and craft brewing oral history interviews (Accession 2016.287), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department
Interview with Robert "Bob" Trostel, 2016 January 14
This interview took place in the conference room of BreakThru Beverage Group, lately United Distributors of Delaware, in New Castle, Delaware., Bob Trostel (1954 - ) is President of BreakThru Beverage Group of Delaware. A native of Philadelphia, Trostel gained initial experience in the alcohol industry working in fine dining. Trostel subsequently entered the alcohol distribution industry, where he played a key role in fostering the emergence of craft beer in Delaware., [Description and dates], [Hagley ID], Beer and craft brewing oral history interviews (Accession 2016.287), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department
Tour of Pale Fire Brewery with Ben Trumbo, 2016 February 11
This interview, conducted by Gregory Hargreaves, took place in the brewery of Pale Fire Brewing Company in Harrisonburg, Virginia, during a specially-arranged tour of the facility located at 217 South Liberty Street #105 Harrisonburg, Virginia 22801. Lead Brewer Ben Trumbo walks through the brewing process, discussing the equipment, ingredients, and processes involved in running a successful craft brewery., Ben Trumbo (1983- ) is Lead Brewer at Pale Fire Brewing Company. A native of Botetourt County, Virginia, Trumbo studied religion at the University of Virginia before entering into the craft brewing industry at Six Row Brewing of St. Louis, Missouri. When looking for opportunities in Virginia, Trumbo learned of the opening at Pale Fire Brewing Company and was hired as their Lead Brewer., [Description and dates], [Hagley ID], Beer and craft brewing oral history interviews (Accession 2016.287), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department
Interview with Eric Williams, 2015 December 29
This interview took place in the administrative office of Mispillion River Brewing Company in Milford, Delaware. Williams discusses his background and early career, his involvement in home brewing that inspired him to found Mispillion River Brewing Company, and the subsequent challanges and rewards of operating a medium-scale craft brewery. Williams offers perspective on the start up and early maturation phases of craft brewing business development, and the process of positioning a craft brewery in the marketplace., Eric Williams (1971 - ) is Founder and Co-Owner of Mispillion River Brewing Company. Williams, a native of Delaware, attended the University of Montana, and had an early career in paint sales. He decided to open Mispillion River Brewing Company after enjoying success as a home brewer., [Description and dates], [Hagley ID], Beer and craft brewing oral history interviews (Accession 2016.287), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department
Interview with Gene Muller, 2016 January 29
This interview took place in the conference room of Flying Fish Brewing Company in Somerdale, New Jersey. Muller discusses his experience in twenty years of craft brewing in New Jersey., Gene Muller (1954 - ) is Founder and Owner of Flying Fish Brewing Company. A native of Pinehill, New Jersey, Muller attended Rutgers before having an early career in as a writer and earning a Masters degree in communication at Drexel University. Muller combined interest in art and technology and founded Flying Fish as an online brewery in 1995. Flying Fish was the first craft brewery to open in New Jersey., [Description and dates], [Hagley ID], Beer and craft brewing oral history interviews (Accession 2016.287), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department
Interview with Hugh Sisson, 2016 February 3
This interview took place in the conference room of Heavy Seas Beer in Halethorpe, Maryland. Sisson offers perspective on the emergence and evolution of the craft brewing industry in the Mid-Atlantic, with particular emphasis placed on the challenges of the industry over time., Hugh Sisson (1954 - ) is Founder and Managing Partner of Heavy Seas Beer (Clipper City Brewing Company). A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Sisson has been involved in craft brewing since its earliest emergence on the East Coast, having operated a successful retail establishment selling specialty beers, and opening Maryland's first brewpub in the 1980s. Following the success of those ventures, Sisson founded Clipper City Brewing Company as production brewery. The business evolved over the years and is currently best known for brewing Heavy Seas Beer., [Description and dates], [Hagley ID], Beer and craft brewing oral history interviews (Accession 2016.287), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department
Interview with Jamie Long, 2016 January 9
This interview took place in the taproom of Pale Fire Brewing Company in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Long offers perspective on the process of designing and building a brewery., Jamie Long (1985 - ) is Co-Founder and Head Brewer at Pale Fire Brewing Company. A native of Culpepper, Virginia, Long studied political science at James Madison University before getting involved in craft beer via work in local fine dining. Long attended the Siebel Institute, and landed a job at Flying Dog Brewing, where he worked his way up to Head Brewer. He decided to open Pale Fire Brewing Company following talks with co-founder Tim Brady., [Description and dates], [Hagley ID], Beer and craft brewing oral history interviews (Accession 2016.287), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department
Interview with John "Jack" Cordrey, 2016 February 1
This interview took place in the Office of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commissioner (O.A.B.C.C.) of the State of Delaware, in Wilmington, Delaware. Cordrey offers perspective on the legal and regulatory aspects of the craft brewing industry, and of alcohol regulation more generally., Jack Cordrey (1955 - ) is Commissioner of Alcoholic Beverage Control for the State of Delaware. A native of Sussex County, Delaware, Cordrey studied business at Bridgewater College, and earned a law degree at the Delaware Law School Widener University. Cordrey worked as an attorney for the State Senate and chair of the Tax Appeal Board before becoming Commissioner in 2001., [Description and dates], [Hagley ID], Beer and craft brewing oral history interviews (Accession 2016.287), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department
Interview with Kevin Atticks, 2016 March 10
This interview, conducted by Gregory Hargreaves, took place in the office of Kevin Atticks at Grow + Fortify, LLC, located at 6247 Falls Road Baltimore, Maryland 21209, on the morning of March 10th, 2016. In the interview, Atticks briefly discusses his personal and professional background, education and early career, before moving on to an in-depth discussion of his career in organizing and advocating for the local, craft alcohol industries in Maryland. Atticks began his career writing a book on Maryland wineries, which lead to deepening engagement with that industry. Atticks enjoyed considerable success leading the Maryland Wineries Association, helping to organize the industry, and winning advantageous changes to the law. Observing opportunities to replicate this success, Atticks founded Grow + Fortify, LLC to serve the trade associations of Maryland craft brewers and distillers in addition to wineries. Atticks also discusses the wide array of factors influencing the development of the craft alcohol industries, including market conditions, consumer culture, the environment, and quality control., Kevin Atticks (1975 - ) is Executive Director of the Brewers' Association of Maryland, and Founder of Grow + Fortify, LLC. A native of Bowie, Maryland, Atticks studied journalism at Loyola University, and earned a Masters in enironmental journalism at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He had an early career teaching, and entered the alcohol industry writing about Maryland wine. This engagement lead him to work with and eventually lead the Maryland Wineries Association, and subsequently to lead the Brewers' Association of Maryland. Atticks founded Grow + Fortify to serve the trade associations of agriculture industries in Maryland., [Description and dates], [Hagley ID], Beer and craft brewing oral history interviews (Accession 2016.287), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department
Interview with Kevin Finn, 2016 February 2
This interview took place in the banquet room of the Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant location in Wilmington, Delaware. Finn offers perspective on the intersection of craft brewing and running a restaurant, drawing on his twenty years' experience in the industry., Kevin Finn (1961 - ) is Co-Founder and President of Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant (Chesapeake and Delaware Brewing Company). A native of Glassboro, New Jersey, Finn studied industrial manufacturing at Boston University, and had an early career in outdoor advertising. An interest in brewing and restaurant ownership led him to Mark Edelson and a third partner in founding Iron Hill, which has grown to a dozen locations throughout the region., [Description and dates], [Hagley ID], Beer and craft brewing oral history interviews (Accession 2016.287), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department
Interview with Lauren Bigelow, 2016 January 6
This interview took place in the administrative office of Mispillion River Brewing Company in Milford, Delaware. Bigelow discusses her background and early career and contrasts it with her experience working in the craft brewing industry. Bigelow offers perspective on breweries as workplaces, the process of selling beer, and the challenges of communicating a brewery's message in a crowded market., Lauren Bigelow (1987- ) is the Sales & Communications Manager at Mispillion River Brewing Company in Milford, DE. A native of Annapolis, Maryland, Bigelow grew up in Ontario, Canada, studied politics at Gordon College, and had an early career in public service work before entering the craft brewing industry with Fordham & Dominion Brewing Company in 2012. She joined Mispillion River Brewing Company in 2014 as head of sales and communications., [Description and dates], [Hagley ID], Beer and craft brewing oral history interviews (Accession 2016.287), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department
Interview with Lori Clough, 2016 February 4
This interview took place in the taproom of 3rd Wave Brewing Company in Delmar, Delaware. Clough offers perspective on the processes of opening and running a craft brewery in an increasingly crowded marketplace., Lori Clough (1963 - ) is Co-Founder and General Manager of 3rd Wave Brewing Company. A native of southern Delaware, Clough studied science and technology at Delaware Tech and Delaware State before having an early career in hospitality at the Delaware beaches and five years as a food technologist in Ireland. Returning to Delaware, Clough worked as a delivery driver for UPS before co-founding 3rd Wave Brewing Company, where she manages the brewery, tasting room, and sales force., [Description and dates], [Hagley ID], Beer and craft brewing oral history interviews (Accession 2016.287), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department
Interview with Mark Edelson, 2016 February 2
This interview took place in the banquet room of the Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant location in Wilmington, Delaware. Edelson offers perspective on the business and technology of craft brewing, with particular emphasis on the brewing process itself., Mark Edelson (1964 - ) is Co-Founder, and Director of Brewery Operations at Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant (Chesapeake and Delaware Brewing Company). A native of the Jersey Shore, Edelson studied chemical engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, and had an early career in pharmaceutical manufacturing. His background in manufacturing process, and an interest in brewing, led him to collaborate with Kevin Finn and a third partner to found Iron Hill, which has grown to a dozen locations around the region., [Description and dates], [Hagley ID], Beer and craft brewing oral history interviews (Accession 2016.287), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department
Interview with Matthew Farber, PhD, 2016 February 5
This interview took place in the office of Dr. Farber on the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania campus of the University of the Sciences. Farber offers perspective on the science of brewing, and how it relates to the business and technology of the craft brewing industry. An expert on yeast, Farber's interview illustrates the craft brewing industry from the point of view of the laboratory., Matthew Farber (1984 - ) is Director of the Brewing Sciences Program at the University of the Sciences. A native of Bloomsberg, Pennsylvania, Farber grew up in a family of science educators, studied biology at Seton Hall, and earned a doctorate in microbiology with a minor in teaching from the University of Pittsburgh. Following a postdoc at the University of the Sciences, Farber spearheaded the school's emergent program in Brewing Science., [Description and dates], [Hagley ID], Beer and craft brewing oral history interviews (Accession 2016.287), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department
Interview with Matthew Sebastionelli, 2016 March 11
This interview, conducted by Gregory Hargreaves, took place in the office of Matthew Sebastionelli at River City Cannery, located at 6660 Santa Barbara Road Elkridge, Maryland 21075. Sebastionelli discusses his background in a military family, and early career in firefighting. An injury on the job forced Sebastionelli to reconsider his career options, a process that led him into the craft brewing industry. Lacking sufficient capital and expertise to open a brewery, Sebastionelli decided to try an innovative business model providing mobile canning services for craft breweries. Sebastionelli discusses the challenges of getting his business off the ground, which involved skills development, industry networking, and extensive assistance from his wife and business partner Ashley Sebastionelli. Sebastionelli has enjoyed considerable success with his business, such that he has expanded its offerings to include packaging brokerage services and co-manufacturing, co-packaging services for alcoholic and non-alcoholic craft beverage industries., Matthew Sebastionelli (1984) is Founder and Co-Owner of River City Cannery and Lucky Clover Packaging. Born into a military family in Arizona, Sebastionelli grew up in a variety of locations, but considers Olympia, Washington his hometown. He enterd into firefighting out of high school, and served for thirteen years before an injury caused hiim to reconsider his career. An interest in home brewing lead him to the craft brewing industry, and the development of the mobile canning business River City Cannery, and its subsidary business lines Lucky Clover Packaging and Craft Pack contract manufacturing and packaging, based in Elkridge, Maryland., [Description and dates], [Hagley ID], Beer and craft brewing oral history interviews (Accession 2016.287), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department
Interview with Robert Murray, 2016 March 9
This interview took place surrounded by cases of beer stacked to the ceiling in a storage room at State Line Liquors in Elkton, Maryland. Murray offers perspective on the craft brewing industry from the point of view of the alcohol retailer, detailing the evolution of the beer retail space over several decades. The environment yeilded excellent recording conditions, with the exception of music and occasional announcements coming over the public address system., Robert Murray (1957 - ) is President and Beer Manager at State Line Liquors. A native of Elkton, Maryand, Murray grew up in a home atop the family business, a downtown grocery and liquor store. Murray studied at the University of Delaware, and his parents relocated the business to the projected location of Interstate 95. He entered the family business doing the books and eventually, along with his siblings, took the business over from his parents. Under his influence, State Line Liquors has become one of the premier retailers for craft beer in the Mid-Atlantic region., [Description and dates], [Hagley ID], Beer and craft brewing oral history interviews (Accession 2016.287), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department
Interview with Ryan Maloney, 2015 December 29
This interview took place in the administrative office of Mispillion River Brewing Company in Milford, Delaware. Maloney briefly discusses his background and early career before a more in-depth discussion of his education as a brewer and his experiences working in the brewery at Mispillion. The process of learning to brew is discussed, as are the technical aspects of the brewing process. Maloney offers perspective on the complexities of brewing as a science and a manufacturing process, and the business and marketing factors that brewers must consider in their work., Ryan Maloney (1986 - ) is Head Brewer at Mispillion River Brewing Company. Maloney, a native of Milford, Delaware, grew up in a farming family, and served in the United States Marine Corps, and briefly worked in government contracting. Maloney started as a part time helper in the brewery at Mispillion River Brewing Company, took an online course through the Siebel Institute, and worked his way up to Head Brewer., [Description and dates], [Hagley ID], Beer and craft brewing oral history interviews (Accession 2016.287), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department
Interview with Sam Calagione, 2016 January 21
This interview took place in the conference room of Dogfish Head Craft Brewing in Milton, Delaware. Calagione offers perspective on the importance of craft brewing as a cultural and business movement. The persistent hum in the background of the recording came from machinery in an adjacent utility room, with the apologies of the interview subject. , Sam Calagione (1969 - ) is Founder and President of Dogfish Head Brewery. A native of New York, Calagione grew up in Massachusetts before returning to New York to study English. During that time, Calagione took up home brewing, and began to develop the ideas for Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales. Calagione played an essential role in bringing craft brewing to Delaware through his activism to change the law to create opportunities for small brewers in the state. The creativity and vibrancy of the Mid-Atlantic craft brewing industry is in no small part a legacy of Calagione's career., [Description and dates], [Hagley ID], Beer and craft brewing oral history interviews (Accession 2016.287), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department
Interview with Taylor Smack, 2016 January 8
This interview took place on an enclosed porch adjacent to the dining balcony at Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton, Virginia. Smack offers perspective on the complicated ways in which regulation shapes business; and how major business decisions at Blue Mountain Brewery were informed by regulation., Taylor Smack (1975 - ) is Co-Founder and Co-Owner of Blue Mountain Brewery. A native of Central Virginia, Smack studied English at Hampton Sydney College, and worked writing ad copy before pursuing a career in brewing. Smack attended the Siebel Institute, and landed a job a Head Brewer for Goose Island Brewing before returning to Virginia to brew for South Street Brewing, and eventually opening Blue Mountain Brewery., [Description and dates], [Hagley ID], Beer and craft brewing oral history interviews (Accession 2016.287), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department
Interview with Tim Brady, 2016 January 10
This interview took place in the taproom of Pale Fire Brewing Company in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Brady offers perspective on multiple positions within the craft brewing industry including his role in brewpub operations, product distribution, and beer production., Tim Brady (1980) is Co-Founder and General Manager at Pale Fire Brewing Company. A native of Northern Virginia, Brady studied at James Madison University before entering the craft brewing industry at Calhoun's Brewery and Restaurant where he worked his way up to Head Brewer. Brady subsequently worked for a distributor of craft beer in the region, when he met Jamie Long, his subsequent co-founder of Pale Fire Brewing Company., [Description and dates], [Hagley ID], Beer and craft brewing oral history interviews (Accession 2016.287), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department