Founded in 1989, Boulevard Brewing Company is a Midwestern craft-beer pioneer. When he started making beer people thought John McDonald was crazy. The region quite literally dominated by Anheuser-Busch. Selling this new, more flavorful beer was a daunting task. In the interview McDonald shares an amusing story about an early delivery to a bar just down the street from the brewery. The reception of the patrons makes you wonder how the brewery ever got off the ground.
But succeed it did. Boulevard has grown into the largest specialty brewer in the Midwest, with beer available in 24 states. They continue to innovate with their Smokestack Series beers, bringing out a wide range of styles and flavors from Belgians, to barrel-aged and sour beers. The brewery itself has grown from the original, vintage Bavarian brewhouse to a state-of-the-art 150-barrel system with capacity to produce 600,000 barrels a year. The building is itself a model for others to follow with multiple event spaces that host everything from corporate meetings to weddings.
You can read an earlier interview that I did with McDonald on The Heavy Table food blog.