Get to know Modern Times Beer, straight from their CEO’s brain.
1) Where did your Brewery name come from? And what made you decide to open a brewery?
“Modern Times” was a utopian community built on Long Island in 1850 by a bunch of wild-eyed wingnuts who thought they could demonstrate to the world what a more perfect society might look like. They bartered, lived without a state, sometimes ignored the conventions of marriage (although probably not in the super hot way you’re imagining), and generally experimented with creating a less exploitative, more pleasurable world. Naturally, the whole thing eventually imploded when legit nut jobs from New York City found out about the “free love colony” just a train ride away and overran it. It’s now Brentwood, NY.
I chose to name the brewery after Modern Times because I’m fascinated by the colorful, ambitious little pockets of history that develop in the folds of progress, the forgotten little paradises that barely register in the onward rush of civilization. I also appreciate what the colonists were trying to achieve for themselves: to live, right now, in a world of enterprising, fulfilling hedonism. Hopefully, Modern Times Beer will be one of those little pockets too.
2) How do you decide on new beers to brew and how does that process happen?
It’s an extremely collaborative process; our brewing team clearly has the lion’s share of the input, but we keep the dialogue around new beers open to our entire staff. We focus (non-monogamously) on aroma-driven, complex, flavorful, often sessionish beers. We also brew lots of hybrid styles, combining the features we like from established categories to create new, Island-Of-Doctor-Moreau-style mash-ups.
3) Which beer made you fall in love with brewing/ what hooked you?
Three Floyd’s Gumballhead. I love sessionable beers with a ton of aroma and complexity, and this beer inspired me to see if I could make my own.
4) What are the biggest problems you run into producing beer?
There have been countless challenges along the way. It’s been more or less an endless series of gut-checks. Probably the single biggest struggle has been managing our growth. We exceeded my 5th-year projections in our first year, so it’s safe to say we exceeded all expectations fairly quickly.
Obviously, that’s a good problem to have, but the problems of success can be just as tricky to navigate as the problems of failure. From financing our growth to managing the change from a 4 person operation to a 300+ person operation to building and maintaining distributor relationships across the Western U.S., there have been no shortage of challenges to focus on.
5) What’s your favorite beer to brew and why?
Fortunate Islands, our hoppy wheat. One of the nice things about owning a brewery is that you can brew beer tailor-made to your own taste. Fortunate Islands is exactly the beer I most often want to drink.
6) Where is your beer available?
We’re currently distributed all over California, Arizona, Nevada, and the Pacific Northwest. We also just opened two new brewery/restaurant locations in Downtown Los Angeles and Portland, both of which we’re extremely psyched about.
We are super excited to have Modern Times on board for the 2018 Tahoe Brewfest! Check out Modern Times Beer here!