As I mentioned in an early post regarding the poll, one of the lessons we learned was that we need a nomination round before the actual poll took place. The person behind #3 is one of the reasons why we decided to change things up next year. This person had the most write in votes in the poll (to the point of harassment ) and he hails from the West Valley. This tells me that the beer scene out there is growing and certainly banding together. We are really happy to see that the community helped bring some notice to their side of the tracks by getting behind someone that has remained strong in providing the best beer possible.
The Brew Bros: How long have you been in the craft beer community?
Sean Rassas: 17 Years. Old Chicago’s in Colorado Springs offered 10% off your bill if you made it to 80 on their “world beer tour” and a free mug or T-shirt if you made it to 100 and your name on their wall. I was a college student — all I cared about was drinking good beer for the least money possible, so that was my motivation to make it to 80. Along the way, and well over 100 beers later, I learned what beers I really liked (brown ales) and which ones I did not (celebrator dopplebock). I have dedicated myself to “education” ever since.
TBB: What types of things do you do in the community?
SR: Never tap crap! Its been craft beer since day 1. My beer rep 5 years ago snickered at me when he saw the line-up of my 6 handles. He claimed I would not do well with St Bernardus Abt 12, Triple Karmeliet, Schneider Weisse, Hoegaarden, Dales Pale Ale and one other I can’t rememeber. 5 years later and the first 3 are still on draft. We started doing monthly beer tastings 4 years ago. We have been able to develop a great craft beer following by educating during these monthly tastings.
TBB: What do you feel is important for the state of Arizona to accomplish to gain an edge in craft beer?
SR: Support local beers. I’ve been reluctant to for a long time, something about my liver’s desire for belgian beer and a limited number of handles. That is changing as I am able to add handles at each location.
TBB: Why do you feel like your peers have voted you into the Top 5?
SR: I’d like to think its because of my charming personality! A joke for those who know me well. Its because I stuck to my guns, never tapping main stream beer, always tapping something as I like to say “You can’t get anywhere else!” or put more simply “no crap on tap”. From a business perspective, if I tapped Miller/Bud I’d be like everyone else, fighting for a $2.50 pint sale. People are going to drive to whatever is closest to get one of those. I wanted to give people a reason to drive out of the way to my place. That drive (pun intended) made Ground Control their place.
TBB: If you could do anything to help craft beer in Arizona, what would it be?
SR: Continue to do what I am doing. By the end of the year I’ll have 80 handles flowing in the west valley and I’ll be proud to display my “No Crap On Tap” sign above the bar at all 3 locations. My next step is to help with promoting and supporting AZ craft beers. 6. Who in Arizona influenced your craft beer passion? Jim Schabely, he used to own Crossroads Fine Wine at 99th and McDowell. He had 400+ craft beers on the wall. I’d go into his place to scope it out as it was the only real competition, albeit 15 miles away, I’d play stupid and he’d bullshit me into buying all sorts of great beer. Then he started coming in to my place on the weekends and we’d banter back and forth about the next beer to tap. He is now a Division Manager for Youngs Market and one of my best friends in AZ.