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Overcoming Challenges in a Global Pandemic


Craftlab: The Podcast Episode 2 with Josh Hare, Hops & Grain

If you’ve ever had a beer in Austin, Texas, chances are you’ve come across Hops & Grain

Josh Hare launched Hops & Grain back in 2011.  He was an endurance athlete who loved beer, specifically New Belgium’s Sunshine Wheat and the 5 Barrel Pale Ale from Odell, and at the time the craft beer industry was in growth mode, particularly in Texas. But, while most breweries start with kegs and grow their brand through a presence in bars and restaurants, Hops & Grain did the opposite, diving headfirst into cans.  

“We wanted to be the beer that was on your shopping list, and we succeeded in that in a lot of ways,” Josh says. “We were really focused on the brand being identifiable and recognizable but also welcoming. It wasn’t loud and splashy. There was a story around each brand.” 

The brand continued to grow and to cement its place as a leader in the craft beer industry — until the pandemic hit in early 2020. Josh talks candidly about the past two years (“It was brutal,” he says) and what has happened to Hops & Grain as a result. And although he has faced challenges unlike any he ever expected, Josh’s story does have a happy ending. 

“We’ve got a long way to go, but all signs are pointing to positive,” he says. 

In this episode, Josh recounts his journey with Hops & Grain and digs into how the past two years impacted not just his business but his perspective on the brewing industry as a whole. He also offers up advice for other brewers on how to run a successful, sustainable business that can stand the test of time. 

Cheers! And thank you for listening. 

Show Notes: 

The departure blog post: In this episode, Josh talks about how he struggled to hit publish on the blog post that would announce the closure of Hops & Grain. Read the post in full here

News about Hops & Grain: 

  • Eater: East Austin Brewery Hops & Grain’s Taproom Has Closed Permanently 
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