Beer and Pavement

Indie-Craft Interview #5: Jim Galligan

Posted in Beer, Indie-Craft, Interview by SM on May 3, 2012

Jim Galligan is the less bear-like half of the Beer and Whiskey Brothers, a semi-popular beer blog that likes to keep things light, aside from their beer and whiskey. The brothers have flirted with a TV series and now Jim writes beery thoughts for one of those awful morning network “news” shows. He’s self-effacing and generally a good guy, plus his favorite brewery is in my backyard (STL).

Jim and his brother Don have made a pretty good go at this beer blogging thing. They actually respond to every comment. It seems their ultimate goal is to sell out, but I just like to refer to that as “making a living doing what you like to do.” It doesn’t lessen the independence or craftiness of their site for me. Wanting to make a living doing what you love is as indie-craft as one can get.

1. Describe your craft(s).
My main craft is creating content, either by writing, designing, making a video, whatever. I like to entertain people and stir things up a bit. I mostly write about craft beer, which is something I love to turn people on to.

2. What’s the importance or benefit of remaining indie?
I find honesty refreshing, especially these days when everyone is afraid they’ll be crucified for saying the wrong thing. Say what’s in your heart, and if it’s wrong, who cares? For me, being “indie” is all about keeping it real. Authenticity is something I cherish.

I’ve found that writing about beer has given me a space where I’m comfortable being 100% honest about what I think, regardless of whether or not anyone else agrees with me. It’s liberating, and I find it has made me more confident sharing my opinions in places where there’s more at stake, like at work.

3. How does your craft contribute to society?
That’s a good question. Most craft brewers are more interested in making something great than getting rich (otherwise they’d work for Budweiser), and by celebrating what they do, I feel that my brother Don and I help whet peoples’ appetites for things that are authentic and special. I know since I’ve gotten into craft beer, I’ve also become much more interested in supporting indie restaurants and local shops, even if they cost more than the chains. I think once you get an appreciation for the good stuff the “little guy” can do, it bleeds into other parts of your life. So in essence we’re saving America – how about that?!

4. What other indie-craft products inspire you?
I like anything that shows how excellent people can be or even that people aren’t perfect. So I guess any product that has a real human element to it – artwork, a great meal, a Pixies song – will catch my interest.

5. What is your dream of success?
My dream of success is making a living doing something I love. I recently got paid for writing about beer for the first time ever – I have a weekly craft beer column for the Today Show’s website – and it was very cool to hold that first check in my hands. It’s far from enough to live on, but it’s a start, and that’s something.

Speaking of checks, I should note that even though I’m getting paid a bit here and there by MSNBC, it hasn’t changed my approach to writing honest stuff from the heart. It HAS impacted my topic selection and the tone of what I write – the sloppy sarcasm we sling on our blog doesn’t play well there – but I’m not out to please anyone more than the truth. I’ve seen you point to Sonic Youth as an indie band that moved to a big label but kept their integrity, and I’d like to think I can pull it off as well, but in a bloggy kind of way. To me “selling out” isn’t about who is writing the checks, it’s about who is pulling the strings.

Well, if there’s a way to sell out, Jim’s doing it the right way. Keep it real, Jimmy.

One Response

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  1. Jorge - Brew Beer And Drink It said, on May 11, 2012 at 8:09 am

    These guys are great… it was actually one of the very first beer blogs I started following (actually reading), and even added to my blogroll… they do respond to every comment…

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