Beer Buddies

In breweries, small is big. How two Brooklynites took on the giants and lived to tell the tale

When Steve Hindy and Tom Potter founded the Brooklyn Brewery in 1987, the rest of America was drowning in Bud Light and loving it. There were only 33 other microbrewers in the U.S., and few people knew or cared why a 100% malted-barley lager might taste better than the King of Beers. The pair rarely thought about getting rich. "Mostly the motivation was not going broke," Potter says. At one point, they worked in an unheated warehouse, wearing fingerless gloves while filling out invoices.

Twenty years later, the big boys are out in the cold. Although mass-produced beer is still the...

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