The taps behind many bars in St. Louis look very different today than they did two decades ago. Sure, there's probably still that familiar red Budweiser handle, but it's got additional neighbors in an ever-growing variety of local ales, porters, Hefeweizens and more.
Dan Kopman, cofounder of the Saint Louis Brewery (Schlafly), remembers how things used to be in St. Louis.
"You'd go into a bar, and you'd say, 'What beers do you have?' And people would say, 'We have them all,' meaning they had all the beers that Anheuser-Busch made," recalls Kopman.
Kopman and his business partner, Tom Schlafly, perhaps deserve the most credit for changing St. Louis' attitude about craft beers when they opened their Schlafly Tap Room in 1991. But the two entrepreneurs weren't alone. Other microbrew advocates were there early on, including Fran and Tony Caradonna, who operated a craft-brew distributorship called Signature Beer before later founding O'Fallon Brewery, and Steve Owings, cofounder of Morgan Street Brewery.
Here, then, is the history of how the microbrew movement started and flourished in St. Louis as told by the people involved from the beginning. It's a great tale, and one that eventually grew to include folks such as Bob Lachky (formerly of Anheuser-Busch), restaurateur Joe Edwards and newcomer Florian Kuplent of Urban Chestnut. So, go ahead and pour yourself your favorite brew and eavesdrop on the discussion. Or, better yet, come celebrate these beer-minded folks and others at Riverfront Times' Q and Brew in the Lou barbecue and craft-beer party Saturday, August 23, at Union Station.More »