A few weeks ago, I had a post about O'Fallon Brewery and why it should locate its brewery downtown. I still think it's a good idea, if anyone from O'Fallon is reading this.
Anyway, writing that post got me thinking about St. Louis' role as a brewing center, especially in light of InBev's takeover of Anheuser-Busch. How can we maintain and build upon our reputation as a "beer city?"
My idea is to establish a microbrewery incubator in downtown St. Louis. The incubator would consist of:
-Bulk warehouse space for production, packaging and storage. The incubator's tenants would be able to rent brewing equipment, instead of having to provide an outlay of capital to purchase it themselves.
-A business office with in-house professionals to assist brewers with marketing, finance and other functions as well as the art of brewing itself. Professionals would help the tenants find their own space once they've outgrown the incubator.
-A restaurant/brewpub that will sell the tenants' beers and feature them in its menu items. The profits would help subsidize the facility and provide the tenants with income.
-An education center to teach homebrewing - to help encourage the next generation of brewing - sell supplies, offer a "beer school" for anyone interested in learning more about beer and brewing.
-A market to sell the tenants' beer and merchandise.
-Small museum to highlight St. Louis' brewing history - A-B, Lemp, Griesedieck, Falstaff, Schlafly, etc. Even though we want the emphasis to be on the FUTURE of St. Louis brewing, it's important to appreciate and honor past and present brewers.
-Maybe even a small agriculture center to learn more about growing hops, barley, grain, etc. to encourage local production of beer ingredients as well as to explore green/sustainable methods of production - perhaps the facility could have its own turbine or solar panels to help provide its own power.
I don't know enough about brewing to know if something like this is possible, but thought it just might be crazy enough to work.