I love beer.
One of the first local beers I ever had that was brewed in the Chicagoland area was Daisy Cutter by Half Acre Beer Company.
Half Acre was the first “craft brewery” I toured, which happened a number of years ago. The tour helped solidify my appreciation for small breweries and the work it takes to create artisanal products.
Since that tour, I’ve interacted with the people at Half Acre a fair amount. Not only do I enjoy their beer, but also I respect them as a small business.
I’m also fascinated by people’s stories. I was fortunate enough to sit down with Gabriel Magliaro, President and Owner of Half Acre Beer Company to discuss how he ended up founding and running one of Chicago’s favorite breweries.
The interview is about forty minutes and covers topics from where Gabriel grew up to the expansion of their new Tap Room. In case you don’t have forty minutes to watch the entire interview, I’ve highlighted some questions and answers below with their time markings in case you want to skip to some specific interactions. If it were me, I’d crack a beer and watch the whole thing, but here you go:
-Where did you grow up? – 0:42
-Where did you go to college (did you know Gabriel was a professional glass blower for some time?)? – 2:11
– What kind of beer did you start drinking & how did you get into craft beer? – 3:02
-How did you decide to start a beer company and tell us about the very early days of starting out? – 6:39
-How did you find The Sand Creek Brewing Co. to start with contract brewing? -10:34
-What were some of the benefits to working through another brewery or business? – 11:33
-How did you start selling your first beer and what was it like? – 12:52
-When did you meet Matt Gallagher, Head Brewer? – 16:10
-How did you finance the brewery? – 16:50
-How do you select the beers you brew & how has that changed? – 18:29
-What’s Gabriel’s favorite type of beer? – 21:20
-Do you get sick of drinking beer and what do you drink instead? – 23:13
-Why is the craft beer industry so good at collaborating, compared to other industries? Will it continue? 25:10
-Where is the saturation point for craft beer? – 29:19
-The Tap Room? – 31:56
-Interior Walls of the Tap Room? 32:08
-Tile, design of Tap Room, Bear & Tiger statues? 33:46
-Gabriel being modest about his ability to source awesome materials for the Tap Room – 33:52
-Why so happy about the Tap Room? 35:00
-How to get growlers of Half Acre? 36:16
-How to keep little turnover & keep a tight knit group motivated? 37:10
Special thanks to everyone at Half Acre Beer Company & Gabriel. On the day of our shoot, they were busy as hell bottling a special release of Big Hugs. They were kind enough to let us sample some, which was awesome. Also, big shout out to Bryan Schulz for helping film and edit this interview.