Unless you’ve dreamed of a life like Homer Simpson’s or Peter Griffin’s, your mom may have yelled at you a few times to get off your lazy posterior, because nothing good could ever come of sitting around with your buddies drinking suds.
Your mama may not be wrong about you, but she can’t dispute the success of 3 Guys and a Beer’d Brewing Company, which started with home brews in backyards and resulted in a legitimate brewing company. The company does not have a storefront, but rents space to house the beer from wheat and hops infancy to full adult frothiness.
Johnny Waering, Jon Bronson, Matt Zuk, and Dave Oakley have been friends since high school. About a decade ago, they started home brewing for personal enjoyment, simply sharing the product of their efforts at backyard barbeques. Now, Waering, head of sales and marketing and business co-owner, says the fun they have is the same, but chuckles that they “just aren’t cooking as much.”
Waering recounted the road fondly during a telephone interview with the Independent Gazette, punctuated by laughs, thanks to a cheeky Zuk making tomfoolery in the background. Waering recalled sitting on Oakley’s porch five years ago with the other guys, drinking their home brews. They talked about how difficult it was at the time to find a decent craft beer. An idea sprang forth: open a six-pack shop! Selling and drinking beer seemed like a good plan to the four friends. After another round or so, the proposal blossomed into opening a brewpub. Zuk and Oakley, who had worked in the restaurant business, torpedoed that scheme. A few more pulls on their adult beverages and the brainchild emerged: what about a brewing company?
It was a grueling process that required steadfast commitment, but after three years of paperwork, 3 Guys and a Beer’d Brewing Company, LLC was officially licensed in November 2011, becoming the only brewing company in Lackawanna County — and the first brewing company in Carbondale since Prohibition days.
3 Guys and a Beer’d rolled out their first kegs of Wheat the People for public consumption on January 1, 2012. Three months later, the fledgling business outgrew its first space.
Today, customers can find drafts and bottles in 50 bars and restaurants, and countless six-pack shops and distributors between New York State and Wilkes-Barre. Zuk and Waering have recently made the brewing company their only full-time jobs. When asked how nervous he was to take that leap of faith, Waering said, “It was only scary for about 10 minutes.” The public reaction the “3 Guys” received when The Beard shaved his signature facial hair within the first 3 months of the endeavor may have been scarier for Waering.
In 2014, the beard is bold and the relationships among the guys seem like they are still those high school mates experimenting with their passion for home brews.
The beer names reflect those fun-loving personalities with handles like Shaving Cream Ale, a collaboration with Loyalty Barbershop in Archbald, Ladder Dive Rye IPA, in honor of the 15-foot, wrist-shattering dive Jon Bronson took while building the first brew space, and Carbond’Alien Pale Ale, which is a hat tip to Carbondale’s 1974 “famed U.F.O. crash.” Waering’s pet title is the Clean Shave Series, the “experimental line,” the name paying homage to his ill-fated encounter with a razor resulting in the controversial cleanly shaven face.
You may have caught 3 Guys and a Beer’d at some festivals and random tastings so far this year, but Waering promises much more in store, as the company plans to expand its reach to serve more happy beer lovers, as well as adding on to their bottled brew line.
There will be a release party for the summer’s debut brew, Endless Summer Beer, on May 16 at Cooper’s in Scranton and at The Keys. Interested readers can check out the line of available nips on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or the website, www.3guysandabeerd.com.