Interesting tidbit from an interview with Lagunitas Brewing founder Tony Magee:
On breweries using public funds to expand:
Magee: My peer brewers...it’s kind of a corporate approach to running a business. You got to know that they went deeply into the public trough to fund the brewing operation which I could never do in a million years. What that yielded were state employment grants, tax deferments, special dispensation of cash. If anyone reads the papers is a pretty dry trough. So what’s a f&^$*#@ rich business like those doing that rather than just bearing their own weight and bringing value to a community. After we did the thing in Chicago, someone from the Mayor’s office was talking to someone we were working with and they were a little of upset that we hadn’t gone to them first to allow us all to make the announcement together. There was a desire from the political world to be involved in these sorts of things.
Interviewer: Well, they want to take credit for it.
Magee: Exactly. But the quid pro quo is that we would be indebted and I’m kind of a libertarian about things. We’re a quarter of the size of Sierra Nevada and this pays over and over and over again. I would be embarassed to have asked for public assistance.
Interviewer: Was it difficult to get the financing [for the Chicago deal]?
Magee: No. No. No. Not even a little.
Magee is referring to the recently announced plans for Lagunitas to add a new brewery in Chicago to increase their capacity and ability to distribute their beer nationally. If only all businesses shared that view of going it alone without relying on the public purse. Including our local sports franchises.