A local brewing philosophy
Published: Sunday, October 31, 2010
Updated: Sunday, October 31, 2010 22:10
In a world full of materialism and cynicism, it's refreshing to learn about a new product with a genuine message behind it. A message that hits home for young people and sparks both the feeling of nostalgia and optimism for the future. The product I'm talking about, of course, is beer. But not just any brewer's beer. I'm talking about the beer of Half Full Brewery.
Last week, I caught up with Conor Horrigan, an MBA candidate here at UConn. We discussed his life journey through beer and how he began the process of drafting a business plan for the Connecticut-based microbrewery. Conor graduated from Notre Dame in 2004, majoring in finance with a minor in beer, prompted by his trip to study abroad in London and his penchant for traveling internationally.
After spending some time on Wall Street, Horrigan decided he needed to be elsewhere – a place where he could apply his business knowledge and be passionate about a new career. After brainstorming with close friends, the idea of a brewery was born. Horrigan's experience traveling abroad in Europe, South America and, most recently, Australia, has exposed him to various styles and types of beer.
But more important were the people he was with, the weather, the aromas and the entire aura around the experience. Half Full Brewery is founded on this philosophy of the inherent social connection of the beverage: a beer symbolizing both where you're from and where you're going. The slogan, "We craft the beer, you craft the moment," couldn't be more appropriate, aligning perfectly with Horrigan's reminder to always "look forward to more."
As if the upward battle of opening a business in this economy weren't enough, Horrigan is up against even more. Connecticut has some of the highest utility costs and beer taxes out of any state, resulting in higher production costs for the brewery. But Horrigan's motivation to keep his beer artisanal and cultural should persevere. He aims to launch with two flagship beers, an American Pale Ale hopped to 40 IBUs with Amarillo, Williamette, Centennial and Cascade hops. The second beer, the recipe not which formulated, was inspired by a beer he had while traveling in Australia, an Australian Blonde Ale, coming across as a more citrusy version of an American Blonde Ale.
Horrigan plans to produce approachable brews that young people can relate to and enjoy. Through the use of a small pilot system, more experimental beers will be produced and reviewed through a polling group composed of friends, family and beer geeks. Through the use of these focus groups, polls on his website (www.halffullbrewery.com), and the use of social networking on facebook (www.faceboook.com/halffullbrewery) and twitter (@halffullbrewery), Horrigan encourages people to get involved. He begins the fundraising stage over winter break, and in the meantime hopes to get friends and family interested and excited about this philosophy behind the product, to think more about the beer they drink and get behind a product with a unique message.
This very philosophy is what sets Half Full apart from other breweries – great beer with a great message. With craft beer on the rise in Connecticut, the passion and drive behind Half Full are sure to result in a great product for beer drinkers statewide. For more information and to learn about how to get involved, check out Horrigan's website, Facebook, or send him an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, be sure to take his advice to "wake up, seize the day, and grab a beer and talk about how you plan to do so again tomorrow." Cheers!