The following was printed at the beginning of our Spring 2021, Print Magazine issue titled: DRINK LONG BEACH!
You have no idea how many times I had to pee while putting this issue together. But it was all worth it - in the name of connecting you (whoever is reading this) to the over 40 “drinkeries” that are to follow.
This guide is truly special, because let’s face it, everyone drinks. If not liquor, maybe wine or beer. If not alcohol, maybe coffee, tea or juice. And even if you don’t drink any of that…you gotta drink water…I mean come on. We really covered it all - including a fascinating article on how the heck we get our tapwater in Long Beach. I always wondered how it worked…how I could just walk over to that faucet every day and boom, there’s water!
Believe me, no one appreciates Maxwell House coffee and Coors Light more than me. Don’t even get me started on Ocean Spray Juice.
But recently it has been really exciting for me to branch out and explore the world of local craft drinks. What started mostly as a “way to support” more local businesses during the pandemic, has turned into a healthy (sometimes unhealthy) appreciation, if not obsession.
Something really noteworthy is going on if you have your ear to the ground and are paying attention to the local scene. Noble concepts involving “craft” and “single origin” and “sustainably sourced,” etc. This magazine features venues offering many variations on those themes, but one common thread running through all of their stories is the idea that “quality” over quantity is quite rapidly gaining steam in our society.
It almost feels like society has bottomed-out in terms of mass production. For hundreds of years the goal was to make everything cheaper and faster, cheaper and faster. And not everything is wrong with that. Mass production can clearly lead to more affordability and a higher standard of living for all. But of course with mass production and affordability comes a lack of quality, pride, and ethics.
What this issue reminded me of is that change really starts small. I’m always surprised at how much thought, work, and craftsmanship goes into what these new-age manufacturers are doing.
If you walk into breweries, roasteries, and locally owned shops all over Long Beach, passionate artisans and experts are hard at work seeking to reverse the standard of mass production.
It’s a cliché at this point to say, “Nothing’s made in America anymore.” When I toured the facilities covered in this issue, I saw real people making great beverages all over Long Beach. Pouring grain and barley, or beans, by hand into machines; monitoring and measuring; and packaging them up.
A lot of times we don’t realize when we go to order coffee at a local shop that the owner of that shop spent three years researching and finding the perfect beans, testing out a million different variables to roast them to that exact flavor for you to enjoy. And furthermore, that the owner just roasted those beans only a few days before you sat down to drink that cup of coffee. The moment we take a breath and think about what goes into all of these craft concoctions, the more enjoyable they become.
I’m always inspired by hearing the stories and passion poured out by entrepreneurs so this magazine includes a lot of that story-telling. The stark contrast between locally made items and mass produced is highlighted in their stories. Many have a specific reason or true calling to make the highest quality product.
If you’re not a “craft” drinker yet- hey I get it. But for me it has been enlightening and really enjoyable to connect what I’m drinking these days to purpose, flavor, and an experience carefully curated by an expert in my community.
As Bryer Garcia, the owner of Wolf’s Brew Coffee, elegantly described in my interview with him. “This pandemic has made people more aware of where they’re spending their money. It’s forced people to realize the fact that certain neighborhood favorites only exist because of the residents’ support.”
As we all make more thoughtful choices going forward on where our precious-earned dollars go, choosing quality and ethics over mass production will lead us more to our local makers and providers. Every second on this earth is a chance to enjoy our life. A purposefully crafted sip of coffee, tea, water, juice, beer, wine, or spirit, can force us to slow down and enjoy that very moment. And no better place to enjoy your sip than right here in Long Beach, CA... where Life is Great in the 908!