Hey everyone and welcome to another episode of People & Pints & Podcasts! This week I finally made the trip to Little Dog Brewing Co. in Neptune City. Gretchen, the owner and head brewer of Little Dog, has been in the industry for a long time and was incredibly friendly and willing to share her insights. We chatted about topics ranging from opening a brewery to being a female brewer. Gretchen is a very approachable person and would be a great resource for anyone interested in craft beer. Little Dog has grown into a successful part of the Jersey Shore craft beer scene and certainly a hotspot for locals.
One of the most important parts of opening a brewery, Gretchen said, is having experience. Moreover, Gretchen suggested, “quit your day job.” Although this requires quite a bit of bravery, opening a brewery is a huge commitment and would certainly eat up all of your time. It became abundantly clear after meeting Gretchen that her pragmatism is an important aspect of her business; although there’s chaos in managing a brewery, she prefers planning over winging it.
Little Dog, named after Gretchen’s little dog Quincy, features traditional, German-inspired beer. Her beer sticks pretty true to style guidelines and, after sampling some of her beer, I could tell what she meant. The Little Dog beers are very well balanced while staying flavorful. My favorite of their beers is the Seafarer’s Stout, named for Gretchen’s father. Gretchen was very willing to shed some light on the idea of naming things. There’s a lot of personality in both the brewery’s name and the names of the beers. The aesthetic of the tap room certainly makes it feel homey and comfortable with pictures of Quincy (and other dogs from owners who have supported the brewery).
The naming, branding and creative side of beer seem to balance the more rigorous planning side. We chatted about the space for spontaneity, even for a “planner” like Gretchen.
I then asked about the gender dynamics of craft beer and Gretchen some interesting points. “I’m a brewer first, a female brewer second.” She explained that she doesn’t see gender issues as being incredibly prevalent. I countered that it might be the branding that alerts average drinkers to some issues, especially with relatively sexist brand naming and labeling. I definitely appreciated Gretchen’s perspective and her comfort being a brewer, regardless of gender. Still, I feel that there could be more diversity, both within the industry and in the consumer base, for craft beer.
I definitely appreciated Gretchen taking the time and I do hope she enjoyed chatting! She shared some hopes for future releases, particularly their anniversary in November. We chatted a bit more after recording and I sat in the taproom as a few customers came through. It was a great way to spend an afternoon and I would highly recommend visiting Little Dog!
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