CODO: Kicking off, please introduce yourself—what’s your background, and what lead you to open Printer’s Ale Manufacturing Co.?
Greg (PAMCo): Name is Greg Smith, no relation to the other Greg Smith you know. Went to college and studied political science. My goal at the time was to be nominated to the supreme court. BTW, my goal is STILL to be nominated to the supreme court so if you know of any vacancies… Anyway, I knew if I was going to go into business as a career I would join the family printing concern—a business that my great grandfather founded in 1911 in Scranton PA. This gave me a bit of latitude when attending UT in Knoxville, TN so I could indulge my annoying side by advocating in classes for drug legalization and other libertarian fancies. I also started home brewing around this time, in the early 90’s. Alas, I ended up in the printing business—no one has called (YET) with a request for my SC robe size. A few years back we bought a building to expand the printing business and ended up not using the back third of that building. It’s an old hosiery mill, and the back of the building was the wet room, and has these sloped concrete floors, trench drains that had been filled in, etc. I was in that room December of 2015 trying to think of what I could do with this space—we’d really have to renovate it if we were going to move printing equipment into it. I looked down and saw the trench drains and sloped floors. I looked up and saw the 10” water main and 6” natural gas line and thought, why not start a brewery? Went home, popped open a home brew and the laptop and put together a plan.
CODO: What parallels do you see between printing and brewing?
Greg: I personally see a lot. On the printing side, we work with a lot of really high quality, highly demanding customers—think of golf ball sleeves. That’s what we do here—packaging for that sort of thing. Super high quality with highly demanding clients. Craft beer, for me, is about creating this really high quality thing and not making excuses about it. I don’t see it as an art or mystical thing, as much as this really fun puzzle to solve. Once you solve it, then you have to do it over and over the same time with the same results. I really love the process of making things and printing and beer share that same characteristic for me—it’s all about making and improving something, striving to create something great that you can share. I love being part of a supply chain on the printing side, and see our work out in the stores even though sometimes it’s super hard to get the job done on time. For beer, it’s great fun to push and pull towards this end product and then share it with others and see their reactions.