Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Mike McCarthy responds

In a recent Washington Post piece by Greg Kitsock ("A shake-up at Cap City Brewing"), brewer Mike McCarthy discussed his departure from the Capitol City Brewing Company after 11 years on the job. Some of his comments engendered a Twitter mini-storm, precipitated in part, alas, by my Tweet of the article.

McCarthy felt that some of his comments had been taken out of context. He communicated with me to clarify his position.

I've read Twitter posts by some who had read the recent Washington Post article about my departure from Capitol City Brewing Company. They seem to think I am bitter about the Washington, D.C. beer scene.

I'd like to emphasize that that had NO part in why I left Cap City. In fact, I even made comment in the article on how great of a beer city DC is; it's a reason that I have been brewing here for 11 years!

My statements regarding the DC beer scene were said in context of me getting financially involved in opening another brewery in the city. What I was referencing was the tap and shelf market and how challenging it can be here. With the many breweries that are in planning, my point was that I didn't know if that would be a risk I personally wanted to take.

I know that some people have a less than great view of CCBC. I would agree with some of those comments. Without doubt some aspects of the company had turned stale. Along with some other talented brewers at the company, I had tried to change things in the last few years and build more of a good beer culture within the company.

I was not successful, and felt it was my time to leave.

Keep in mind that one goal of the 'craft' beer movement is indeed the main-streeting of good beer. Have good beer available everywhere, at every corner shop and at every pub, in malls and in shopping centers, not the exclusive property of beer Xanadus. We're not quite there yet, but the times, they are a' changing. That's a wonderful difference between the good beer scene now and that of 25 years ago.

On a personal note, I'd like to stipulate that I've long been a fan of the beers of Mike McCarthy and Travis Tedrow at Cap City (especially those cask ales!). I've had good discussions with both brewers about beer and beer-making. And both are helluva nice guys.

  • Read the Washington Post piece: here.
  • Read my piece on McCarthy's departure: here. And, on other Virginia comings and goings: here.
  • UPDATE 1 March 2013: Mike McCarthy, past head brewer of Capitol City Brewing, to take the head brewer position at startup brewery J Dub's, in Sarasota, Florida. Via Ticket Sarasota.


    1. Yeah, my bad. I fixated on the one part of the quote and it irked me first thing this morning.
      I lived in Shirlington for 5 years and my wife and I visited Cap City as a reliable bite & pint stop. Not every bar or brewery needs to be the apex of beer, but in today's environment if you want the attention you gotta work a bit harder for it. The good news is that I think all of us appreciate the difficulty of brewing consistently good everyday beer, so when it's done well we notice and spread the word.
      Best of luck to Mike in his future ventures--we always need more beer destinations in the area!

      --Nick Anderson
      Beermonger, Arrowine

    2. Well said, Mike. I appreciate you taking the time to respond and wish you best of luck. Please keep us updated.


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