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Jan 23, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Hale’

The Scoop: Schlafly co-founder Dan Kopman to step down

Thursday, December 15th, 2016



This New Year’s Eve, raise a pint to Schlafly co-founder Dan Kopman, who will step down from his position as board co-chairman of The Saint Louis Brewery and Schlafly Beer on Dec. 31. Kopman and Tom Schlafly founded the brewery in 1991 and have since turned it into an institution.

Kopman and Schlafly sold a majority share to Sage Capital in 2012. At the time of the sale, Kopman agreed to stay on for five years. Now, as the agreement reaches its sunset, he announced that he will leave the venerable brewery to pursue other interests. He declined to give specifics on his future plans.

With sales totaling $20 million, Kopman has much to be proud of, but said his greatest joy has been working with a talented group of people and having a positive effect on downtown and Maplewood.

“I’m most proud of the people that have worked for us and continue to work with us,” Kopman said. “We’re lucky to have changed the beer culture and improve the neighborhoods around the Bottleworks and Tap Room.

While he said it was impossible to choose his favorite Schlafly brew, Kopman did single out and praise Schlafly’s current leadership. “There’s a good team in place there,” he said. “Tom is the chairman of the board, and James Pendegraft is doing a great job as CEO, and of course Stephen Hale is a great ambassador.”

Kopman also expressed gratitude to the customers and patrons who have enjoyed Schlafly’s hospitality over the years. All in all, he said, “It was a blast.”


Photo by Carmen Troesser

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The Scoop: Schlafly brewmaster heads to Brew Hub


In This Issue: A Chat with Stephen and Sara Hale

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014



“It was love at first sip,” said Stephen Hale, recalling the day in 1991 when The Tap Room opened, and he handed a brunette named Sara her first Schlafly beer. The couple eventually married, and Schlafly’s former utility girl – she’s worked as a brewer, hostess and manager of the brewery’s art department and design group – now operates Fair Shares, a community-supported agriculture (CSA) she started in 2008. Meanwhile, her utility kilt-wearing husband recently transitioned from his job as chief brewer at The Tap Room to Schlafly’s ambassador brewer. Here, the Hales share tales from careers rich in beer, food and curious clothing.

How did you get hired at Schlafly?
: I moved here from Maine. I got a phone call from [Schlafly co-founder] Dan Kopman asking if I’d like to work as assistant brewer. I drove down here sight unseen in October of ’91 – fortunately, after the major heat wave. I looked with increasing horror at the weather and said, “What am I doing?”

Now that you’re an ambassador brewer, how much do you brew these days?
: I am not hands-on brewing. Basically, I get a beer in my hand, and I go shoot my mouth off about Schlafly beer and hope everybody likes it and buys more beer.

Sara: How did they ever think of you for that job?

Why did you start Fair Shares?
: My sister Jamie Choler, who is my co-partner in Fair Shares, and Stephen and I shared a CSA. We loved it. The CSA ends and we’re like, “What are we going to eat?” I’d gotten to know a number of the farmers. I knew a lot of them had food. [A farmer] once came in December and sold me a bunch of food. He came to my house, and I felt like I was doing a drug deal: “Give me some food. I know you’ve got it.” We started thinking we could do something that lasts longer. We could include meat and cheese and eggs, and all that other stuff we go to the market for.

Give me the Fair Shares sales pitch.
: We’re a combined CSA. We source locally produced foods from small producers and farmers for families in St. Louis.

Stephen: Bring a farmers market to me every week for 46 weeks.

How many employees are there?
: Six. I’m the only in-volunteer. The reason I’m with Fair Shares is because I sleep with the president, I like to eat, and I have a pickup truck.

Has Fair Shares encouraged producers to use more local ingredients?
: That’s a huge goal for us. We’ve got Midwest Pasta using local eggs and local flour now. It’s a Fair Shares exclusive. Companion made bread using Richard Knapp’s wheat flour for our bread.

Stephen: It’s all about relationships.

The same thing is happening with beer.
Stephen: The most recent example is the Chestnut Mild that we brewed in collaboration with Gerard and Suzie Craft. Gerard and his team took 200 pounds of chestnuts. They were roasted at Niche, brought to The Tap Room, run through a grinder and added to the mash.

How many Schlafly beer recipes are yours?
Stephen: I have a handful. Sara has a handful. It’s a team effort. Many of the brewers have created their wedding beers. Ours was Vienna, and Sara did it all.

Sara: That’s where the term “bridal” comes from. It’s the “bride’s ale.” Women were the brewsters. The Vienna, that’s my favorite beer style.

Stephen: It’s the Vienna that’s at Gringo now.

Do you wear a kilt every day?
: Effectively, yes. Do you want to see the sarongs?

-photo by Ashley Gieseking

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