Author to discuss craft beer, brew club to offer samples
By Angie Landsverk
Matt Janzen will share what he experienced and learned touring craft breweries throughout Wisconsin during an upcoming program.
His travels turned into a book, “State of Craft Beer.”
He will talk about it at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 24, at the Waupaca Area Public Library.
The free program is open to the public.
“It didn’t start out as a book,” Janzen said.
He was a student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee when he started following the craft beer industry.
In 2012, he graduated with a degree in journalism, advertising and media studies.
After a few years of being a copywriter at a Milwaukee-based advertising agency, Janzen decided to re-evaluate how he wanted to use his skills.
In August 2015, he quit his job.
“About two weeks later, I started going out and taking photos,” he said.
Janzen did not have a particular plan in place when he began, but knew he wanted to do something related to the craft beer industry.
He had been reading articles about breweries opening and saw it as a wave of something happening within his generation.
Janzen wanted to get it on it.
He started taking photos of breweries and the industries that supply them.
Comfortable taking photos due to his college degree and experience, Janzen initially started posting his pictures to a Facebook page.
“I was very loose with what I was expecting to get out of it,” he said.
Among the first places he visited were three breweries in the Milwaukee area and a hops grower by his hometown of Waterloo.
The stop to photograph the hops ended up being timed perfectly, with harvesting taking place the end of August.
Janzen limited his travels to within the state.
After quitting his copywriting job, he had limited funds.
By the spring of 2016, he knew he was going to turn the experience into a book and started looking at funding options.
That decision also made it easier to get into more breweries.
In March 2017, Janzen had enough funds to produce a book.
His 272-page hardcover book was manufactured 100 percent in Wisconsin, with him overseeing the project.
His decision to produce the book completely with Wisconsin businesses speaks to the same idea of craft breweries using local sources.
“State of Craft Beer” was published a year ago.
Since then, Janzen has been visiting libraries throughout the state and sharing the economic impact craft breweries have on communities and the state.
The craft beer industry brings jobs to small towns, he said.
Janzen explained how he ended up speaking at public libraries.
“Last year, during the pre-order phase, my mom posted something on Facebook and the local library saw it,” he said.
Janzen was asked to speak there.
“It was the first one I did, and it went very well,” he said.
After that talk, other librarians began contacting him.
Since Janzen does not have a large advertising budget, speaking at public libraries has become a way for him to reach people and tell them about the benefits of the industry.
“In 2016, 138 breweries created over $2 billion of economic impact in Wisconsin,” he said. “And they only represent 10 percent of the beer in the state.”
Janzen said when people buy locally, it increases the amount of money staying in the state.
His May 24 presentation will be followed by a beer tasting sponsored by Badger’s Den Brewing Club.
Members of the local club will bring samples of their home brews for a tasting and comparison.
That event is free, but donations will be welcome.
Copies of “State of Craft Beer” will be for sale, as well as T-shirts.
The cost of the book is $45, and the T-shirt is $25.
Janzen will accept cash, checks and credit cards.
He will also give people free postcards featuring photos from his book.