From The Editors
We're officially done celebrating Erie's proud past. Now about that bright future...
There are two things we can agree on: Erie's history is rooted in the fact that we make things with our hands, and Erie has a penchant for finding ways to hate itself.
But there's been hope. At the very least, for the last two years, because we've been given direct reason to celebrate our proud past and place in history with the Perry 200 Commemoration. But now that that's concluded, will we have the energy and wherewithal to continue championing the greatest of our city? To carry that light and energy forward toward the bright future we've been told we're destined to have?
That's a question Cory Vaillancourt grapples with in this issue's Upfront, as the backbone of the Reader has always been defending the goodness and greatness Erie has to offer. Cory aptly explores the question: Will Erie continue recognizing its potential or slip back in the old, comfortable habit of complaining without taking action?
Perhaps our trouble in identifying our potential lies in our failure to recognize ourselves in the mirror, as the gap between our present and our past continues to widen. We've been blue-collar, we've always identified as Rust Belt, we've generally made things with our hands, yes, but as the factories shutter their doors and manufacturing industries continually uproot, we're left staring at empty hands caked with the soiled promises of yesteryear and worn with the calluses of confusion, asking ourselves: What is there left to make?
Erie's future is, now more than ever, in the hands of its people. And Erie's future is, as one business branches out and another continues thriving, in craft beer.
This issue features two breweries — Lavery Brewing Company and Sprague Farm & Brew Works — both serving as clear signs that people in Erie don't consider "Rust Belt" a dirty word and that we can still "make" things.
Lavery Brewing Company opened a new pub earlier this month, demonstrating that with hard work — opening a brewery, fighting for space on local taps, and distributing well beyond Erie — can pay off. While some would be content to stop there, the company's eyeing the future, looking to continually expand and grow. And they're brewing damn good beer.
Brian and Minnie Spague epitomize Karma. Good people, not looking just to turn a quick buck, they're endeavoring to improve the community through their craft. And they're keeping at it, grueling onward keeping Erie's positive energy pulsing. And they're also brewing damn good beer.
It'd be foolish to think that any one thing will be the sole future of Erie, so it's best to hedge our bets and diversify our portfolio. But people in Erie, like the crews behind Lavery's and Spague, are proving that we can still get proverbial dirt under our fingernails through the art and craft of a product.
And as products — that which we make — define our places, we need look no further than to Cleveland in the west, whose alt. weekly just published its annual Best Of Cleveland list. What did the Cleveland Scene name as the city's "Best Locally Made Product?" Great Lakes Brewing Company beer, a nationally recognized craft brewery.