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Beervangelist goes on cross-country quest for stories of America’s artisans

Courtesy of Kyle Bice
The "Beervangelist" Fred Bueltmann and his traveling partner Kyle Bice.

The "Beervangelist" is on the road.

Fred Bueltmann is New Holland Brewing Company’s vice president of Brand and Lifestyle. He's touring the nation to understand the popularity of craft-made beer, craft spirits, artisanal cheese, honey, jewelry, guitars and dozens of other products. It’s like the national version of our Artisans of Michigan series on Stateside.
"I've really seen through my career and through my work of bringing attention to this that it's more than a sales trend in one product category," Bueltmann said. "I feel like there's a cultural shift of people caring more about what they buy and what they support and that it's cross-category. I'm out to kind of answer those questions that I've had myself, of: is there something bigger going on here?"

According to Bueltmann, this rise in popularity of craft-made products is a win-win. 

"I think it's great for the makers, but it's also great for all of us because we have higher quality things in our lives," Bueltmann added.

The term "craft-made," which is at the heart of his 35-day road trip, means a lot of things to a lot of different people. Trade associations have attempted to define it, but Bueltmann said it's a "personally subjective" word, but ultimately, the consumer decides what it is.

How does he define it? 

"It's when people know who's making something, they know why they're making it a certain way and they value it in a more personal way, they value the connection," Bueltmann said. "That, to me, ends up being what we consider to be craft or handcrafted." 

Listen to the full interview above to hear about his plans to write a book about the subject, what sparked this idea and about his traveling partner who paints with beer.

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