Ask Me Anything w/ Joe Short of Short’s Brewing!

Joe Short of Short’s Brewing Co. founder Joe Short did an “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit on Wednesday, November 13th on the Michigan Beer subReddit. We grabbed some of our favorite responses – many more at Reddit!

What are you currently drinking right now? I am going to assume you are drinking a beer while answering questions. If you are not what would you be drinking?

Absolutely! Pontius Road Pilsner fresh off the line.

Could you explain a little more about how you first got started brewing? Did you homebrew as a hobby before getting involved commercially?

Yes. Homebrew first and entrepreneur second. I was 20 years old and it was easier to buy the ingredients to make beer then to find someone to buy the beer. I am a DIY kinda guy.

Joe – you are totally fearless when it comes to brewing. What makes you so open to experimentation?

Well, that’s the fun part. I can’t be afraid to fail. With risk comes reward, so nothing ventured, nothing gained. Right?

New Tanks at Short's Brewery in Elk Rapids ~ see video below for more!

New Tanks at Short’s Brewery in Elk Rapids ~ see video below for more!

How many barrels are you guys going to produce this year?

We will be around 24,000 barrels this year and demand is greater than capacity right now!

Is your business plan to grow in the mold of New Glarus and continue to be a regional brewery, or do you have plans to grow into a larger brewery with a national distribution footprint like a New Belgium or Sierra Nevada?

Michigan Only, Michigan Forever. Our commitment is to brew whatever Michigan needs!


Joe on the Shorts to Shorts Pre-Paddle

What is your very favorite thing about Michigan?

The water. That’d be the easiest way to sum it up.

Your label art is interesting. By art, I mean both the names of the beers as well as the visual rendition on the labels. How on earth do you come up with some of these not so obvious names? Did you guys look outside your business (the brewery) to find an artist, and how did you know this was the one to pick? Does the artist do other work, and if so, in what media?

Shorts Kolsch 45

German Kölsch with light Pilsen and Munich malts

Process of art and beer names is ongoing and evolving always… adds to the creative component of beer. Our head brewer managers most of that now because he has an idea of what the beer looks like and feels like… there are only a few beers we have had a hard time brewing. We do use outside artists and they work on their own art outside of Short’s as well. We have a couple artists who work with us.

Next, craft beer is a market the hallmark of which is diversity and individuation. Even within this unique market, your brewery brews and sells beers of so many varieties (styles, hybridized styles) that it is hard to conceive of a comparable brewer (though maybe, in some ways, Odd Side Ales comes to mind). What’s the inspiration for these creations and how do you guys decide to put a test batch in bottles and distribute it outside the taproom?

Variety is the spice of life so coming up with different beer motivates us! Before anything is put in bottles we test-drive it at the pub. If it takes off at the pub, then there is a good chance it will be bottled!

Alien Einstein India Pale Lager ~ click & check out the alien brain!

Alien Einstein India Pale Lager ~ click & check out the alien brain!

How many different beers has Shorts produced? How many are currently in production? And what is your personal favorite brew that you produce?

At Short’s we’ve produced over 300 different beers. We’ve always got over 25 beers in production at any point in time (all of our tanks are full). In terms of favorites, I love Alien Einstein, Spruce Pilsner, Juicy Tree, and Huma Lupa Licious.

Do you have any thoughts on encouraging more women to get into the world of craft beer drinking?

Absolutely that is why we make so many different beers! It’s all about variety and introducing the world to new drinking options.

Joe at Waterski Club (see the video below for more!)

Joe at Waterski Club (see the video below for more!)

What’s your favorite lake to water ski on?

The calm ones. All of them when they are calm. Torch is pretty epic.

If you weren’t a brewer, what’s the next best thing you’d want to do?

Always dreamed to be on SNL, an educator, and a woodworker

Obligatory: would you rather fight one hundred duck sized horses or one hose sized duck? (context)

I could totally outfight a horse-sized duck. I don’t like to be outnumbered. I would lasso it and ride it into the sunset.

What do you have planned for the ten year anniversary party in April 2014?

So, so much. So much that we’ve been planning it for months already. Let’s just say it’s going to be amazing. I may jump over a ring of fire and 17 school buses. In a motorcycle. With a sidecar. Naked. Well, wearing a helmet. Safety first.

As someone who would die of dehydration if I ever left Michigan…Thank you for making our region better. Creative geniuses like yourself make this region a great place to live and keep the tourist dollars flowing in to support our habit of living here.

Pleasure is all mine! On behalf of all the Short’s staff members, it is our pleasure.

Random facts about Joe Short Short’s Brewing Company

  • Joe Shorts ToastJoe started at Western Michigan University (pursuing industrial arts education and history) before dropping out to brew at Traverse Brewing Company.
  • In 2002, 22-year-old Joe Short registered Short’s Brewing Company as a business in the state of Michigan.
  • Joe has gone on record saying he’ll never sell beer outside of Michigan saying We believe in “the power of the smallness,” and intend on remaining a Michigan-only brewery. Our goal is to get to a comfortable production volume, love what we do and enjoy life in Northern Michigan.
  • All Short’s brews are unfiltered. All of them.
  • Short’s did a (pending) World Record Tap Takeover at the opening of Hopcat in East Lansing. In case you were wondering, Jen Elmer of Grand Rapids tasted every one of them!
  • Joe’s homebrew recipe for Huma Lupa Licious was originally called Humulus Lupulus Maximus.
  • They’re doing a Short’s Beer Dinner at 7 Monks Thursday the 14th as part of TC Beer Week.

Here’s an awesome video Joe posted earlier this year about Short’s 9th year!

Photos courtesy Short’s Brewing Facebook