July 11, 2019
Local homebrew shops play an increasingly important role in our local communities, especially as e-commerce continues to gain popularity. Homebrew shops provide experiences for the homebrewing community that one can’t get while shopping online or even at local club meetings. They provide education, community, a place for gathering, and top-notch expertise in the hobby. To recognize the important role supply shops play in their local communities, the AHA introduced the Homebrew Shop of the Year award in 2018.
The 2019 Homebrew Shop of the Year award was presented at Homebrew Con in Providence, RI., to Bitter & Esters, a shop in Brooklyn, N.Y. Douglas Amport and John LaPolla, co-owners of Bitter & Esters, were both present to accept the award at the National Homebrew Competition awards ceremony.
Bitter & Esters was selected from among 123 other homebrew shop nominations and evaluated by the AHA Governing Committee on the merits of community support, education, customer service and engagement, promotion of homebrewing, and responsible business practices.
Amport and LaPolla’s shop is described as a delightful mecca of all things homebrewing. They are known for their participation in nearly every homebrewing and beer event in their local community, as well as for providing excellent education, training, and showcases, and connecting local homebrewers with bottle shares and local club involvement.
The shop creates a community space in which folks can come hang out for hours to craft recipes, taste malts, and talk beer. They sponsor community initiatives, help coordinate competitions, and foster an environment for people of all genders, ethnicities and skill levels. They are the launchpad for a local female-led club, The Brewminaries, and they build an inclusive environment that welcomes those who have historically been underrepresented in homebrewing.
Bitter & Esters promotes a sense of curiosity and experimentation—you walk in curious and walk out a brewer! The owners and staff are well-educated and friendly, and they always provide thoughtful responses and promote lively discussions among their customers. The focus on inclusion, a thorough customer experience, community, end-to-end education, and brewing on premises in Brooklyn raises the bar and creates a model for other shops to emulate.
Congratulations to Bitter & Esters! Keep your ear to the ground for information on the 2020 Homebrew Shop of the Year award, and be sure to nominate your favorite local homebrew shop!
Nominations for the 2020 Homebrew Shop of the Year will open in January.