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Products of the Mind




Episode 3: Jacob McKean of Modern Times Beer on Running a Rapidly Growing Startup, Creating a Utopia, and What Budweiser is Really Selling

Welcome to Episode 3 of Products of the Mind. I’m excited to bring you the first full-length interview.

On this episode, I speak with Jacob McKean, founder of Modern Times Beer.

An Extremely Brief History of Craft Beer

According to the Brewers Association, in 1978 there were 89 breweries operating in the United States. Today we’re at about 4,000, and that number is growing by about 500 per year.

Basically, every day in America, a new brewery opens. Almost all of these are referred to as craft breweries, which has a complicated definition, but it basically means everything other than the big brands: Budweiser, Miller-Coors, you get the idea.

Modern Times

In 2013 Jacob founded Modern Times Beer and it’s been wildly successful from day 1. They keep doubling their capacity over and over again, but they still can’t make enough product to meet the demand. In the very crowded field of craft beer, Modern Times stands out, both because of the characteristics of their beer and because of their distinct branding. Most of their beers are named after historic and imaginary utopian communities. Their marketing copy reflects Jacob’s strange sense of humor.

Jacob has created his own little corner of the world according to his particular vision of how things should be. He’s not afraid to share his opinions, as you’ll hear on this episode.

What’s it like running a wildly successful startup on a day to day basis? How does Jacob deal with those moments when things seem to be spinning out of control? What are Jacob’s thoughts about the recent purchases of small breweries by the major beer companies? We talk about all this and more on this episode.

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The Credits

As always, the music for this episode was provided by Le Chateau. The track name is “Bury You.” Go buy it on Soundcloud!

The illustration accompanying these show notes is by Lexington Wolfcraft.

This episode and these show notes © 2015 David Lizerbram

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