Hoppy 20th Birthday, Pike Brewery!

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Pike%20Brewry.jpgHard to believe it's been 20 years since Charles and Rose Ann Finkel opened their Pike Pub & Brewery. It's such a fixture at the Market, you'd think it's been there forever, but there was a time, not that long ago, when fewer than half a dozen national breweries supplied the market with lawnmower beer and half a dozen artisans and idealists thought were making craft beer. It was a classic struggle betwen industrial, bottom-fermented lagers and flavorful, top-fermented ales, between standardization and individuality. In the end, as we know, it was the consumers who won. Local artisan beers flourished, and some, like Red Hook, even formed an unholy alliance with the big boys to get national distribution.

In this fomenting vat of yeast and mash stepped the Finkels, who had decades of experience navigating the currents of beverage sales. Back in Oklahoma, Charles had been an early champion of Chateau Ste. Michelle wines and was hired to run the company's national sales effort. (His business partner Paul Shipman came along to run Ste. Michelle's marketing.) Later, Charles started a company called Merchant du Vin, which, despite its name, imported nothing but craft beer. (Shipman went on to run Red Hook.) Then the Finkels started a tiny craft brewery on Western Avenue, which over the years grew and grew to its current location, a multi-level, gravity flow, steam heated brewery and brew pub.

When we last wrote about the Pike, a year ago, it was to announce their latest stout. Now it's time to celebrate again: 20 years! Cornichon can't make it to the media party tonight, so consider this raised espresso cup our toast!

The public celebration is this coming weekend, Saturday, October 17th. There's more information in the brewery's current newsletter.

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This page contains a single entry by Cornichon published on October 12, 2009 9:58 AM.

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