May 17, 2021
Craft Chats is our series of discussions with people who live and love non-alcoholic beer. For our inaugural chat, we spoke with with Ezra Bleau, founder of NA Brews Corp based in Holyoke, MA, USA.
Heads up, when we talk about “NA beer”, we mean non-alcoholic.
Hey Ezra, thanks for taking the time to chat with us! Tell us a little about yourself.
My Name is Ezra Bleau, I am 30 years old from Holyoke, MA, USA, and the Founder of Na Brews Corp. I was a former High School Culinary Arts Teacher with sights on becoming a Superintendent, that loved to homebrew and home distilling, that one day decided alcohol isn't for me.... this decision changed my life forever.
Why did you decide to start NA Brews?
I decided to start NA Brews because I felt that NA Beer wasn't getting the appreciation it deserved in the craft beer community. First, it was wicked (from Massachusetts) hard to get craft non-alcoholic at my local liquor store. Shipping was ridiculously pricey to get any new brands shipped to your house, and shipping wasn't part of many of these breweries' business strategies, so you would wait for a week to two to get your package in the end, you might not even like it. So, we decided to offer single-can sales online for people to try and sample before buying six-packs or even a case. As this progressed into who we are today, we strive to be the Na Craft Brew Revolution by bringing in New Brands to the US and making people proud to drink NA Brews.
It seems you’re super passionate about non-alcoholic beer. Why do you love it?
Yes! Yes! Yes! and once more, Yes! I love NA Brews; my reason behind drinking a non-alcoholic beer is, I stopped drinking beer due to a personal choice for better physical and mental health. I was going through a period of my life where I was in and out of the doctors for ailments caused by "stress" and an unhealthy lifestyle. Working too much, not eating healthy, and enjoying one too many full-strength imperial stouts. We decided to cut down on alcohol consumption, which leads me to desire quality craft beverages at social events and pair well with a meal.
Sounds very similar to Libra’s CEO Mitch's personal story into NA beer! What styles of beer do you carry? Do you have one favorite?
If they make it... we try to carry it, and if we don't have it, we are actively sourcing it. I have two favorites: the Classic Golden Brew from Athletic, Upside Dawn, and the Danky IPA Brew from Two Roots, Straight Drank.
The NA beer market has grown 39% in recent years. Why do you think people are choosing to drink less alcohol?
I think it's like the famous quote from the movie Field of Dreams (1989) "If you build it, they will come" I feel like everyone at one point everyone has questioned their relationship with alcohol, and at the time, there were no quality options to substitute. The increase in sales is in my belief that people are just choosing to be healthier, physically and mentally, due to the climate in the world; we happen to have that option that makes a more effortless switch for everyone.
Is there anything else you'd like to mention?
My favorite thing about my job is seeing the orders coming in and going out! Every package we send out, someone out there is making a healthier, better decision for their life that will have a ripple effect that will change their world and the world around them.