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150 Posts by

John Barley

@ divider
July 29, 2013

We work in a unique industry wherein the camaraderie of a small faction of people brings joy to the masses glass by glass. Then there is the collective satisfaction of the market-share we've been chipping away from the 'Big Brothers' of beer. But that isn't where I'm going with this. Lately, I've found myself diving into a simple question: What is it about beer that makes people want to engage? Or simply, why is beer different?

The easy answer to give is that it's a tangible product distinguished by passion, quality, and attention to detail. But ice cream is also a tangible product. It's made by brilliant artisans with dedication and love. Why isn't there an enthusiastic, far-reaching culture built around seeking out the world's finest frozen cream-based sweets? Why don't you and your friends plan weekend trips with the idea of hitting six ice cream shops across three states? For some reason it's different. For some reason with beer you sense a connection.

July 17, 2013

Solemn Oath is just in its second year, but head brewer Tim Marshall is no stranger to the world of beer. How he got here is another story, but Tim's ongoing passion for innovative and creative beers comes through in the joy (we hope) you're experiencing in your glass.

What makes this man tick? What does he look for on his beer ops team? And who the fuck is Electric Six? Questions. So many questions. Actually, just ten.

July 15, 2013
July 13, 2013

When the concept for Solemn Oath Brewery began we knew from the start we wanted to focus on draft beer only. As a small brewery with a small staff in a huge market, we wanted to focus our efforts in one space and keep things relatively simple. Now we move forward. Next week, for the first time ever, Solemn Oath will be available in bottles.

For the foreseeable future, we will be releasing two beers per month in limited volume. Until sold out, 22 oz. bottles will be available at the Solemn Oath taproom as well as many of your favorite liquor stores across the Chicagoland area. We ask that you contact your local liquor store directly regarding their availability of Solemn Oath releases.

 
June 26, 2013

The Inaugural Naperville Ale Fest is only a month a way. We look forward to celebrating and exposing new people to craft beer in our hometown. We've known about this project for a year as Josh Seago and his team have been hell-bent on designing a festival of national caliber.

In its first year they've been able to draw 75+ breweries who are coming on board to pour over 180 beers. General admission tickets are a reasonable $45 and the VIP offerings are already sold out. Back in March, Michael Kiser of Good Beer Hunting sat down with Josh to gain some insights into his passion and drive to bring this project to light.

June 24, 2013

I want to explore two ideas with you, and then mash them together. No, not like a Girl Talk mashup. You see, this is where the problem starts...

First, let's talk about indie music song titles. They're in the same grave as Family Guy's non-sequitur gags. Dead. Let's put them to rest.

I know you're a pro, indie music guy. Pro enough to drive around the country through the night for months on end in an Econoline with six other dudes who haven't showered all week, rationing out your McDonald's money and scheming to steal their share of the merch sales. No, you're right man, you need seven musicians for all that texture. But with such business acumen how can you be so blasé about the names of the products you're putting out in the world? It all starts with identity. The chain is only as strong as its identity; you shouldn't throw bricks if your identity sucks; a bird in hand is worth your identity, etc. Simple marketing, people. Read up.

June 17, 2013

Since I set out on this project nearly three years ago, I've tried to approach each challenge by finding solutions that were two things: different and simple. The beer industry is small and collaborative, but still competitive. Separating yourself is a constant challenge. For me, my biggest challenge was also pretty simple: in this industry, I was green.

The first batch of beer I was ever a part of making was the first-ever beer we brewed at Solemn Oath back in April of 2012. I had never homebrewed. I had no experience selling beer. How do you get taken seriously and build a team when you're trying to dive into a new industry? There's always more than one way, but this is how I did it.

June 11, 2013

We are a brewery, but as a business we can do more. Since our debut in 2012 we've been striving to push the status quo, push our own creative limits, and build a culture around us that shares a similar vision. We cannot sit still. And we look to surround ourselves with artisans, supporters, and instigators that share in the comfort of this discomfort.

Our jobs are great, but, like so many of you, we still have the drive to do more. We strive to push forward and surround ourselves with inspiration and creative expression. The vision of Solemn Oath has always been built around the ideal that every idea should be challenged with a fresh voice. And if that idea continues to fight through, our end result is always stronger. Always better.

May 28, 2013

The roots of Solemn Oath stretch down Ogden Avenue to Lisle's Bavarian Lodge. This is the place where Tim became an SOB, where Paul first gained insight into what we were doing, and probably where Erin will someday be married. When Solemn Oath was just an empty space the Bavarian Lodge crew of Alan, Tyler, and Dan came to visit. They were trying to get a feel for what we were about, to see if they should back this horse. They did.

The Bavarian Lodge was the first place to pour our beers commercially. The crew from SOB stood behind the bar a year ago in an effort to give a face to our new little brewery, show them that there was passion in each of these glasses, and make the case that our beers deserved a place alongside some of the most exquisite and rare beers available anywhere. It all began here, and that will never be forgotten.