At Wages Brewing, we don’t operate in a bubble. Well, I do, but this bubble boy works hard to get outta the bubble as much as possible, lol.
But our little brewery is dedicated to working with others in our community. I mean, how can we be a community if we aren’t in this together?
I’d like to highlight some of our past partnerships, give some shout outs, and maybe lay out a few ideas for the future.
I’m just not going to be able to remember everyone, so please don’t be upset with me if I failed to add a community partner to this list, but DO contact me if we’ve worked together and I’ll get ya added!
Melancholy Roasting (Ava) – We met owner Caleb Carmichael not too long ago. He custom roasts his own coffee and runs a coffee shop on Ava. His roasts are amazing! Amber and I have been drinking his coffee exclusively since we discovered his work… and I call it “his work” because it’s truly artful. We also now use his coffee to make our cold brew coffee at the brewery. Plus, we’re looking forward to the colder months we plan to add his coffee to stouts. Plus, Caleb is just a great guy.
D&D Produce (West Plains) – Dawn and her crew are super friendly, and they deliver some great fresh produce from local and regional sources as well as the far reaches of the deep south. We’ve procured loads of great fruits and veggies for various projects of ours (though, mostly for our gose sour beers). Recently we have been sourcing cucumbers, strawberries, and poblano peppers. We’ve got our eyes on some melons and other goodies for more projects.
Maranatha Farms (Rover) – We love Mary Badiny’s beautiful farm and her beautiful soul! Being long time friends, we may be biased, but she grows all sorts of goodies. We’ve used herbs including her dill (for our Cucumber Dill Gose) and fruits (raspberries, strawberries). We also plan to purchase raspberry plants from her to establish our own homegrown source.
Three Oaks Farm (West Plains) – Craig and Patrice Jennings are the owners and Patrice also runs to GO FARM Market, a valuable asset to our community. We’ve procured loads of blackberries from their farm (they have a pick your own setup past the end of AB Highway). Can’t wait for this year’s crop!
West Plains Area Farmers Market (West Plains) – These folks are setup at East Towne Village (same place Wages Brewing is located) on Wednesdays and Saturdays. They offer handmade goodies, plants, and produce. We’ve often obtained some great ingredients for our concoctions. Plus, they help us with our monthly Artisans of the Ozarks event help on the first Saturday of each month from 12 to 5 PM (we also invite up to 10 artisans, artists, and makers, rotating each month).
BPS Electric (West Plains) – Ben’s BPS Electric has been a godsend keeping us up and running. Without his expert electrician skills, we would have far greater challenges. It’s a huge relief as a business owner to have someone like Ben you can count on.
Non-Profit Partners – I’d be remiss if I failed to mention all the great non-profits we have worked with and/or raised money for including West Plains Boys and Girls Club (especially from our event partner, Ozarktoberfest which will be Sat, Sept 21st this year), Ozarks Regional Cats (a great local spay and neuter program), West Plains Optimist Club, CASA, The Bearded Geeks Gentleman’s Club w/ Kalista/The Woods, Imagination Library of West Plains, and so many more. We love helping and providing a space to help local charitable organizations. Be sure to reach out to us if you have an idea of how we can partner for the betterment of West Plains.
We’ve gotten local ingredients and help from so many local individuals; I can’t even remember everyone! But a few I can recall at the moment include James Ware & Kathe Wolfe (tart cherries), Sara Denton (lemongrass), Kadijah Tracy (mulberries), Nick Haring (local author, teacher, and host of events such as Trivia Night), Garrett Melby (artist who has donated artwork to fundraisers here, there, and everywhere), Wendy Zigler (for general passion and energy), Erik Carlson (local comedian who has also been an MC for various events)… to name a few.
And I’ve got to give a special shout out to Cody Mustion for his inspiration and skills. He’s designed and created our custom taproom tables, light fixtures, random installations, and our new liquor cabinet. Honestly, the vibe of our place wouldn’t be what it is without Cody’s beautiful brain.
Ideas for the Future
I’d be lying if I said everything about West Plains is peaches and cream. Like all communities, we’ve got more work to do. I very much believe we need to focus on the positive things we’ve accomplished together, and we can figure out how to improve where we aren’t doing so great.
One thing I think should be becoming more important to us is tourism. There’s no reason why West Plains can’t expand our efforts to own our badge of Heart of the Ozarks. I think we can find things to learn from towns like Eureka Springs, Fayetteville, and Uranus. I personally am on the Tourism Sub-Committee of the Economic Development Advisory Board, and I look forward to our finding ways to link together the city’s Tourism Board, the Downtown Revitalization Board, and individuals who are also interested in enhancing our general tourism efforts. If real estate owners, future business owners, community partners, and organizers can find ways to work together, we can see more and more people stopping for a visit on their way through.
I would also like to see people focus more on the positive aspects of what is being done. Let’s turn pessimism into action. Don’t like how something is done? Talk to someone at the city. Don’t understand a policy? Ask why it is what it is, and if need be, work to make it change. It can seem daunting, but nothing great comes easy. That said, sometimes, change can come easier than expected. For example, before we opened Wages Brewing, we faced an antiquated state law that would have dictated how we can brew our beer (basically, nothing over 6.2% ABV). I contacted our state rep, got a bill drawn up, and within a few months, it actually got passed! Sure, it was something small, but a bunch of small victories can end up winning a war. How can we chip away at more change?
So, I challenge everyone reading to consider how you can learn to work more with others despite any differences (personal, political, or otherwise). Find something you can do whether big or small to make a difference. It might be easier than you think to help tip the scale in our collective favor.
Propriety, Beer Designer, and Community Cheerleader
P.S. The montage image is using Isaac Protiva’s winning design for the new West Plains flag. I took some liberties with the design to incorporate some images representing this article. 🙂