"[My]Passion bigger than Craft Beer"- Bobby Cook.
These are the words that Bobby Cook co-owner of Maltese Brewing said to me at the end of the interview with him and friend/owner Joe Smith. I had the opportunity to talk to them briefly during their third year anniversary party.
So what were you guys thinking when you started?
"We wanted a Man Cave away from home."
What is your favorite beer to make?
"Merica" & "Brotherhood" they like brewing these beers together. It reminds them of the early days when it was just the two of them listening to latin music. They call Merica their blue collar beer.
Speaking of the early days, when did you expand? "We opened our second half on our one year anniversary in 2016"
You hired assistant brewer Stephen Matters, how have things changed since hiring him?
"He's helped in production, we have been able to now sit down and plan the beers for the year, quarter, special events. Before we were just winging it and getting them out." "He also allowed us to spend more time with our families." Bobby and Joe are still full time Professional Fire Fighters and rely on Stephen more often now.
What do you see in your future to stay competitive?
"Keeping clientele, by introducing the mug club. By screwing up we now know how to fix it. We have greatly upped our QA/QC of our product." "We have to stay consistent and on the cutting edge."
Keeping on the the topic of competitive, how has the brewery scene changed for you guys?
"There is a lot more competition in Fredericksburg." "We have to keep our traditional brews, but not have a narrow vision. We need to be open to changing styles to appeal to a broader market."
What drives you to continue?
"Always pushing to do better. Make newer edgier beers. Make better beer." "Seeing the community support."
Maltese Brewing does events to support the community such as Operation Warm, which is a jacket collection that keeps the jackets in the Fredericksburg community. Just recently they raised $3500 for the Law Enforcement Unity Tour.
Both men feel blessed to have a platform to be able to give back to their community.
I asked about any regrets, Joe responded-"not doing this anymore"
I have been friends with Joe and Bobby for almost all three years they have been open. They have always been easy to talk to, very candid and open. They have very big hearts. I thanked them for taking the time during their party to talk to me. I asked if they had any last words, Bobby said-"[My] Passion is bigger than craft beer." and after talking to them I understand what he means, his passion goes beyond craft beer itself. It's about the people, the community, family and then the beer. You feel that when you are there.
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I will be getting back on the BBQ trail later this week. I have recently gone to Ace Biscuit and BBQ in Charlottesville and BBQ Exchange in Gordonsville. I will tell you more about them later. Until next time, Drink up and Eat well.