In this multi-part series, we will try our best to provide a more personal look at the backstory and exciting new changes in store for Broken Goblet, including interviews and deep dives into the many decisions we have made over the last year.
"What's up, ya F#&king nerd?"
The gravel-drenched words rolled out with zero hesitation as I approached the stairs and doorway leading to the original Naked Brewing. I was on one of my info-seeking missions, and we had become very friendly with Jim and Brian from Naked. There was Jim, sitting on a stool, drinking a beer, and to his left, sitting in an old school folding lawnchair - you know the kind, the wide colorful belts interwoven, the round tube frame with rust pocks all over it - is this guy who just called me a fucking nerd and I have zero clue who he is. I laugh uncomfortably, Jim gives me a big hug, and brings me inside to get a beer and chat. "Who is THAT guy" I ask? "Jeremy?", Jim replies, almost incredulously. "Jeremy Myers?" "Yeah, Jim, who is that?" And Jim laughs that big laugh, bright blue eyes searching for any sarcasm in my voice... "Really? Neshaminy Creek?" And it all finally dawned on me. He owned Neshaminy Creek. THIS was the infamous Jeremy Myers. Cover boy of Philly Beer Scene numerous times. GABF Award-winning brewer. Notorious pot stirrer, and self-proclaimed real-talker. Jim takes me back out, and does the formal introduction. "Whasssup". And that was it. When I got home later, I phone Jay to report on my visit. "I met Jeremy from Neshaminy". "Oh, how was that?". "He called me a fucking nerd before he said hello." "Oh, hahahaha, well that's pretty funny." "Yeah, well this relationship should be an interesting one" Interesting indeed......
To say this was an abnormal first meeting would be completely ignoring that this, in a nutshell, IS Jeremy Myers. Or at least the person that we have grown to know extremely well, call a good friend, a mentor, and now a partner. Unapologetically real, unafraid to get to the point, and not caught up in pretense. The irony is that, while all true, underneath the punk-leaning aesthetic is a guy who really just wants people to come together as friends and have a beer. It's that simple, really. It is where Mutual Respect really came from -
"Some of the idea of a community driven brewery co-operative was born out of the idea to take over the old Neshaminy location in Jenkintown. Jenkintown's a special place, a close knit community that really takes ownership of a business with all it's support when you deserve it. I wanted to build something that not only involved the community, but also gave the employees that put their hard work into it something to call their own, hence the idea of an ESOP as well.
On top of that, with over 9,000 breweries open in the US now, what would we be bringing to the table? Does the Philadelphia area really need another new brewery? The short answer to that is, no. If your answer to that is 'yes' then you're either overly naive or just not paying attention. Not unless you're going to bring something to the table besides 'craft beer'. There's a ton of that out there now, more than we really need to be honest. There wasn't in 2012 when Neshaminy Creek opened. That value proposition was completely different than what you have now. There were 12 breweries in the Philly five when Neshaminy Creek started planning in 2010. There's nearly 30 in Bucks County alone now. Since I've always seen beer as a communal act, something that brings communities together, it was a logical idea and also serves a purpose more than just opening another craft brewery which I think is not only important, but will be imperative in the years to come in this industry."
Let's back up a sec - to know how we got here, we need to know where it started for him, and funny enough, it didn't start with beer -
"Ironically, I started my journey in fermentation as a home distiller first, but that's just something you don't talk about all that much since it's pretty illegal. My first experiences with anything alcohol actually started when I was in high school distilling really shitty brandy in my friend's Grandmother's basement. It was pretty horrible, and to be honest, it wasn't until 2006 when I started to home brew that things really made sense and clicked, but this is probably part of why brewing seemed so natural to me when I first started doing it.
I was 31 at the time and I was sort of at a crossroads when it came to having a career and what I thought I'd do with the rest of my life. I was playing in a band called Giving Chase and we were a pretty active band. Once the band started winding down a bit I decided to try my hand as a professional brewer and applied to Siebel. Before I left for Chicago in the Fall of 2008 I sent my resume to six local breweries, and got a call back from two of them. I wanted to get some 'boots on the ground' practical brewing experience that I could connect with what I was going to learn at Siebel. I started at River Horse in May 2008 and ate shit cleaning kegs, scrubbing floors, bottling beer, and weaseling my way onto the brew deck for six months before I left for Chicago. Two weeks before I left for Siebel they offered me a full-time paid Brewer position upon my return.
I never started home brewing with any thought of becoming a professional brewer. I just really liked beer. It really fits my nature as a person. I'd like to think I'm naturally a curious person, and I've always been into math, science, and art. Brewing is really an intersection of those three things, and the first time I home brewed it felt like I had been doing it all my life. It just felt right. I'm not trying to glorify it, but it was just one of those 'Ah ha' moments in my life and I haven't really looked back since.
I didn't start brewing professionally with any thought of ever owning my own brewery. I just wanted to brew. I still just want to brew. It's why 16 years later you'll still find me sweating it out on a brew deck at six in the morning doing what I love."
He should have added "on a brew deck blasting music" because one of the things that we believe really drew Jeremy and Broken Goblet together after all these years is the love of, and passion for, live music.
"Not going to lie, being able to get back to working with and booking bands again is a huge reason to be involved with this group. I said it back in 2019 the first time I saw the new Broken Goblet location, but I couldn't be more jealous than I was at that moment because Broken Goblet built everything we were trying to do at Neshaminy Creek but couldn't in our Croydon facility; a brewery and live music venue. Neshaminy Creek wasn't built with a crystal ball that saw on-site consumption coming in 2015, so it had a completely different business plan and sales model when we built out the Croydon facility and launched. The industry and market has changed so much and so quickly over the last five to six years in particular, and if I could have predicted that we'd be where we are now there's no way Neshaminy Creek would have launched with the structure and sales model we did. "
And speaking of NCBC, the elephant in the room... sorry to inform everyone, but if you were looking/hoping for drama, there simply is none to be found.
"I honestly have nothing but respect for my former partners and everyone I've ever worked with at Neshaminy Creek. We didn't always get along, and I know I can be a pain in the ass to work with and for, but for better or for worse they took my crazy idea to open a brewery and ran with me all the way up until my departure. Yeah, there were some differences, and more so at the end, but I'm only one person. It was a partnership and team effort. For most, if not all of my time, it was my vision or my ideas. Whether it should have been isn't and wasn't for me to decide. We had a lot of success, and a lot of fun. I didn't step down because of any differences of what beers we should be brewing, how we should move forward, etc. I was just fried, burnt to a crisp. Craft beer is a lot of work, and I'm not a person that's afraid to work, but I was in a very different life situation when I stepped down as when the brewery started. When the brewery opened in 2012 I wasn't married and didn't have any kids. Fast forward nine years my situation had changed from a single guy to a married father of two beautiful daughters. But, you know what didn't change? Neshaminy Creek. If anything, it just got busier, and busier. With the addition of the Jenkintown location we went from a rag tag group of three owner operators in 2012 to a bustling, nearly 20,000 barrel a year brewery spread out between two locations with 80 plus employees. The stress, both at home and at work, was too much and I really needed to step away to recharge my batteries. No matter what I say, people are going to say what they're gonna say and believe what they wanna believe. Linking up with Broken Goblet and with Scoats was just a case of the 'right place at the right time'. Eight months ago things could have gone a completely different direction."
Jeremy casually mentioning Scoats is like me casually mentioning I like the band TOOL - there is alot of story there. In fact, our whole partnership came about because of a wild ride that Jeremy and Scoats took for several months that would have led them to ownership of the Jenkintown Brewery, you know, the one Human Robot now owns?
"I've always been friendly with Scoats and respected the shit out of what he did with the Grey Lodge and other projects. When I separated from my former partners at Neshaminy Creek there was an opportunity that didn't come through to purchase the former Neshaminy Creek brewpub location in Jenkintown. I had the mortgage approval in hand for the property in Jenkintown. We could have settled and been open months ago. When that opportunity came about I had already signed on with Bachs in Germany, so I was going to need some like-minded partners that saw the potential and also understood my situation with Bachs. I knew Scoats and Jay were working on and looking for a brick and mortar location for Lucky Cat, so I reached out to Jay and connected with Scoats to see if they had any interest. That interest didn't end when the opportunity fell through."
And this, dear readers, brings us to Deutschland, and Jeremy's love of German-inspired beers. Unsurprising to us, the layers of this answer run deeper than the obvious "well, I got a job there".
"My family's history is definitely a part of it. My father passed on to me a deep love of history, and certainly, of family, or at the very least knowing where you come from. I've been lucky enough through my time as a musician to have travelled all over Europe, and a lot of that time in Germany. Being able to tour Europe three times with Giving Chase really exposed me to a new level of beer knowledge and experiences. I was hooked. The past 14 months traveling and working in Germany has afforded me more of an opportunity to dig a little deeper there as well. I've been able to travel around Germany and visit some ancestral hometowns, but Covid has limited that more than I like. I'd really like to travel to the Czech Republic in the coming months and experience more of my family history, especially considering none of them are there anymore and were forced out after the second World War.
"I've always gravitated towards German beer because of the drinkability, and if anyone has perfected this, in my opinion it's German brewers. The sense of tradition that goes into making them is something that has always fascinated me as well. I'm lucky I get to experience this all the time now.
"The main thing I've learned in the past 14 months with Bachs is that everything you know about German brewing is probably wrong. If you read it in a textbook or magazine it's overly generalized and specific to the brewing industry and traditions in Germany as a whole, and certainly not every brewery follows the same path or does the same thing. Bavarian traditions and brewing is usually what people read about and know, not German brewing traditions if you get what I'm saying. I've seen this before in Germany before my time at Bachs, but being on the ground now it's just something I see and face everyday I'm there."
Honestly, it is these types of answers that really endear me to Jeremy. A family-driven guy, firmly rooted in community and committed to a traditional beer style. Unapologetic. Honest. And, seemingly, there appears to be a Mutual Respect - see what I did there??
"The one thing I've always respected and admired about Broken Goblet is that they're very transparent and brutally honest with themselves and more importantly, their customers and followers. I don't think Broken Goblet's voice has ever changed or altered since the beginning, and that honesty, transparency, and communication is something that has endeared them to their customers so much. Transparency and integrity are everything in beer, and I don't know anyone around that has more than Mike, Bub, and Jay."
So, if you are still following along, you are now starting piece it together. BGob was at an inflection point with the live music, and was exploring an expansion to the abandoned spaces next to us. Meanwhile, Jeremy and Scoats and Jason Macias are about to finalize a mortgage on the Jenkintown location most recently owned and operated by NCBC, a deal that obviously never happened. Where would that leave their partnership, and could they land somewhere else? And why would Scoats want to leave the business he has owned and grown for 25 years? More questions.... and more answers in time.