WTF Am I Drinking? Mission-Driven Beer with Prison Break Brewery

Hi, hello, and welcome to the fourth edition of TapRm’s podcast and explainer series, “WTF Am I Drinking?” Each episode, we chat with one of our favorite brands and brewers to dig into a beer style, an ingredient, a brewing process, or really any topic that helps all of us beverage lovers at any level of knowledge develop both a better understanding and a better appreciation of the drink at hand. So far, we’ve learned about the piquette spritz with Ditto, we dove deep on kveik yeast with Oslo Brewing Company, we discussed the fascinating world of delicious non-alcoholic beer with Athletic Brewing Company, and we talked all things “boozy tea” with Owl’s Brew.

This episode, we’re talking about mission-driven beer. What does it mean to set out with a social goal at the same time as a craft beer goal, and for that social goal to be every bit as important as that beer goal? How do you build a community outreach movement alongside a lineup of high-quality, crowd-pleasing craft brews? To find out, we caught up with Greg Thompson, founder of Prison Break Brewery.

In our chat, Greg candidly opens up about his own past and struggles to find a second chance after being incarcerated, and how that journey inspired him and his partners Jim Monahan and Jack Straw to create a brand geared around helping others find that path in an easier, more fulfilling way. Greg is a longtime craft beer fan, with experience enjoying the great beers of California’s craft scene, and the way craft beer brings people together and can be enjoyed by all stood out: craft beer is a powerful tool for spreading awareness and propelling a community mission forward. Greg and his partners set out on a six-year-and-counting road to brewing stellar beer and harnessing the growth of e-commerce sales in beer to get Prison Break on a huge, national stage. 

Greg not only fills us in on building a joined mission and brewery brand and on the details of Prison Break’s debut beer, Shanked Blonde Ale, but also on the specific initiatives integral to this brewery’s operation. The team is raising money for impactful organizations and is also building its own apprenticeship program, in which people coming out of the system can learn new skills they can apply to a career in the beer industry and beyond, from brewing to sales to marketing and more. 

Prison Break Brewery has big plans. Greg tells us about the team’s goals to become a major, nationally recognized brewery and expand into other arenas like music and publishing. The overall theme? To make a big difference, and provide a lot of second chances. There are tons of challenges along the way, which Greg opens up about, too, but this team is clearly dedicated and devoted to not just great craft beer, but even more importantly, a cause that can help so many people and communities. We can’t wait to see the next beers from Prison Break--which Greg reveals a bit of information about, you won’t want to miss it!--but truly also the major impact this brewery is going to make. Try Prison Break’s beer here, and pair it with a deep dive on this exciting brand: listen here!

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