TED Talks are short and powerful. The premise is simple: Talented people with a specific skill speak to a live audience imparting a deeper understanding of that skill. TED Talks are often a way to inspire and get people to think. With the popularity of the craft beer industry in the last few years, it’s no wonder that craft beer experts have found their way on the TED Talks stage. Here are four speakers who have presented on behalf of brew in the past.
Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione talks about how his brewery looks back into history for creative inspiration as they try to reinvent what beer as we know it. Calagione researches far beyond the beginnings of the likes of Sam Adams or Sierra Nevada, and digs deep into some historically rooted beers from our ancestors . In looking backward, the company motto was established as “Off-center ales for off-center people.” Since 1995, Dogfish Head has used six ingredient in its beers which are always at least 9% ABV.
John Barley is the co-founder and CEO of Solemn Oath Brewery in Naperville, Illinois, one of the fastest-growing breweries in the country. Solemn Oath focuses specifically on Belgian-inspired and barrel-aged beers. They offer no year-round brews, but each year the brewery moves swiftly through dozens and dozens of beers across a range of style in search of what is new. Barley tells the story of how his father received the sum of his parents’ inheritance from the rest of his siblings in order to send himself to college. To Barley, craft beer is a similar kind of inheritance, and part of a permanent revolution. In craft brewing, competitors act as siblings looking to collaborate, create, challenge and yes, compete with one another. Brewers revel in the competition involved with looking for the next great brew. For Barley, craft beer tells a story, it builds a culture. In the end it comes down to family. Craft beer is about the partners, the fathers, sons and employees who are there to compete in order to help educate, build and inspire each other.
Ethan Cox is the co-founder of Buffalo’s Community Beer Works and a certified Cicerone. Here he talks about the role that local beer plays in creating socially significant “third rooms.” Cox shares how a microbrew can start anywhere. What a lot of people do these days is brew their own beer, which in many ways helps start a beer culture, because beer is culture. The point being made here, is that beer causes things to happen. It’s a spark. Beer can rehabilitate a building and neighborhood, like New York City’s Brooklyn Brewery. Beer allows people to gather in a place in order to exchange news, opinions and ideas. Communication is encouraged where beer is served. “Drink to think better” is how Cox puts it. All Cox wants us to know: Get out there and help build a culture.
Chad Henderson is the brewer at NODA Brewing Company, and he is living his dream. He’s not an astronaut, not a sports star, and yet Henderson understands what it’s like to have a dream, strive for it, and achieve it. Brewing is both a science and an art, and according to Henderson, the ability to brew is on par with the ability to fly. Consumers of his product, and all craft beer, are able to taste the intent and history of what people have put into that beer. Henderson explains craft beer is another art form; it is a vehicle to express ourselves.