It would be easy to say that we just magically appeared one day but then that would not make for a good story and would not give you a full picture of who and what we are. After all we are all made up from the path we have
taken and those we have met along the way.
The seed for a brewery was first planted unknowingly by our Brew Chief, Linda Ward when she and their children gave our Brewmaster, Alan Ward a Mister Beer Kit for Christmas in 2000 saying here you need a hobby. It should be noted that the Mister Beer Kit was a remarkably simple kit which lacked some of the measuring equipment needed to properly brew a “fine beer” with so our Alan with Linda in hand began a quest. That simple quest for a hydrometer lead them to a small home brew shop called DeFalco’s in Houston, Texas and a soon to be new friend, Scott Birdwell who opened the door to a whole new world of possibilities.
A wee bit of a side note. Scott Birdwell purchased purchased DeFalco’s in December of 1980 and was instrumental in 1983 in helping to get a bill passed to legalize homebrewing through the Texas Legislature. DeFalco’s closed in the Spring of 2020 after 48 years. During the 48 years Scott is credited with helping to establish at least 70 breweries to include assisting in establishing Brigadoon.
Now we should let you know that Alan had been a connoisseur of beer since 1976 so the attraction to brewing his own at home was a simple one. Unknown to Linda or the kids, brewing would allow Alan the ability to combine his love of science, culture, travel, history, cooking and beer into one glorious venue. AH, the fools.
Our Brewmaster is not one to simply try anything. He believes in diving in and becoming the best he can at anything he tries so it was not long before the hobby had become an obsession and in 2006 our Brew Chief came to our Brewmaster and stated that the hobby had gotten a little out of control noting that as their children had grown, graduated high school and move out that the house was slowing being taken up with brew rooms, brew deck and was looking more like a brewery than a home. Her statement was simple, “either back off a little or just turn pro!” To her surprise his response was “We can turn pro?” and thus the planning began. If she knew then the path they would take we wonder if she would still make the same statement! LOL
It is said that everything happens in life for a reason even if we can not see that reason at the time. This is true for our story. For you see in 2005 they had opened a shoppe at the Texas Renaissance Festival called “Pixie Candy Craft booth” where they sold pixie candy. Why is this important? Because it meant that they had already established a foothold in New Market Village (New Market Village is the name of the village at the Texas Renaissance Festival.) and could see that the renaissance village was missing one big item that no medieval or period village would have been without. They had no brewery!!!!
It is important to keep in mind that in 2006 craft beer and craft breweries where the exception and not the norm. In fact, the only beer available at the Texas Renaissance Festival was big beer or imported beer. There where those that said that a brewery at the festival would never make it and that our Brewmaster was crazy for even considering it. Some where dead against the idea and openly spoke against the idea. There were those that felt that the introduction of craft beer of any kind might hurt beer sales at the festival. But after two years of planning and with the blessings of the fair owner and management Brigadoon Brewery and Brew School opened shoppe 150 as a period demonstration booth with an incredibly unique business plan.
The original business plan called for Brigadoon to offer live brewing demonstrations using period equipment and techniques. All brewed beer would then be given away as free samples. The only source of income was brew classes, beer and mead making kits, glassware, T-Shirts and recipe books. Not the most profitable business plan to say the least but it was a small foothold and away to explore the idea of a craft brewery at the festival.
Now believe it or not having a business plan that is based on brewing and giving away beer was not a profitable plan but our Brewmaster had a wee bit more in mind. You see Brigadoon was a totally unique operation which drew a lot of attention and press. At the end of the 2010 season Alan approached the management of the Texas Renaissance Festival with the idea of allowing Brigadoon to sell their beer. We know it was a revolutionary idea to sell beer instead of giving it away and he was way ahead of his time but hey it might work!
2011 saw an explosion of change for Brigadoon Brewery and a change for the beer scene at the Texas Renaissance Festival for Craft Beer had arrived.
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