2014 Birthday Mashup: A Year In Beer

On this day every year, I tack a new number onto that tracking system known as age. Also, as has become birthday tradition, I try to recapture a few of the memories of the past 365 days vis-a-vis words. This post used to appear on my personal blog, but since that site has collected a significant amount of dust due to my uncontrollable urge to blog about beer via Breaking Brews, it only felt right to feature the birthday mashup post here. So, here we go…

Jason Cercone2014 came and went in an epic blur and with it came yours truly turning 35. But amidst the whirlwind of changes, happenings, and game-changing events, something extremely rewarding came shining through crystal clear.

I’ve been writing for a long time, since high school as a matter of fact. But it took until 2014 to stumble upon a subject where my passion shines through and keeps me interested in creating more. And, obviously, that subject is beer.

In September of 2013, a little voice of ignorance rose next to me at The Beer Market and stressed how no bar should ever expect to survive if it doesn’t sell Bud, Miller, and Coors. This comment made me realize there were plenty of misguided beer drinkers that, personal preferences not withstanding, simply didn’t know what was available to them and how, in many cases, it paralleled the beer they’d come to “love” because it was rammed down their throat via every advertising medium ever.

Breaking Brews was born.

When I launched Breaking Brews on February 10th, 2014, I knew I wasn’t setting out to be another beer review site. There are plenty of those. I wanted to bring something different to the table. A voice of advocacy. A voice of education. A voice that spotlighted craft beer in a way that was fun and informative, while at the same time focused on the bars and breweries in Pittsburgh that were changing the game with the world’s most popular adult beverage.

From my mid-teens (don’t judge…you drank then, too) to today, I’ve always been a tremendous fan of beer and my own palate evolution from mass-produced swill to artisanal, innovative, creative craft beers was one I knew millions of other beer drinkers have experienced. It made sense to appeal to experienced and novice craft beer drinkers alike because, as a whole, WE are the ones whose support will continue to fuel the paradigm shift that puts craft beer center stage. If more people don’t transition to the craft segment, the supply will outweigh the demand.

To say this year has been game-changing would be an understatement. Since my first post on Breaking Brews went live, the support I’ve received, the people I’ve met, the events I’ve experienced, and the knowledge I’ve built have been nothing short of humbling and overwhelming. This blog has seen over 18,000 viewers, a number I knew would prove to be realistic, but not this quickly. I’ve become friends with some absolutely amazing people who love what they do as much as me. I’ve had people tell me they love what I’m doing and to keep moving forward with it. That alone is an inspiration that keeps me motivated to keep my voice of advocacy turned up full volume.

Just a few weeks back, months of work towards my newest project, the Pittsburgh Craft Beer Network, paid off as the Steel City’s newest connection to craft beer went live on December 8th. My objective with PCBN is to create a platform that provides anyone involved with craft beer in our region a means to promote their events and amplify their business. The overall content of PCBN will be to inform and educate you, the craft beer enthusiast, in a fun and entertaining way, as well as keep you apprised of events going down throughout the city 24/7/365. In essence, it is an extension of Breaking Brews, and both will continue to evolve into entities that help make craft beer better. Period.

As I enter into my 35th year on this little blue marble, I’d like to say, to each of you who’ve read my stuff, provided me direction, partnered with me on this venture, or simply shared a beer or two with me, THANK YOU for being there. It makes all of this worthwhile.

Now, my year in beer has been phenomenal and I’m anxiously waiting to start penning the story of 2015. But this past year wasn’t ALL about my plunge into the beer world, believe it or not. As has been my direction the past few years, I’ve continued to embrace change and take every experience, success or failure, as one that makes me wiser for tomorrow. I’m still looking for the right girl to share this journey with, but I’ve come to realize that’s going to happen only when the time is right. There’s no point in forcing it. I’ve also learned a positive attitude makes the day easier to face, and finding the good in every situation is much more rewarding than accentuating the negatives.

Mackenna and IAbove all, 2014 has been a year that I’ve watched my daughter Mackenna continue to evolve and grow in her journey through life. She’s a week away from turning five, and words alone cannot express how proud I am of who she’s becoming. She’s incredibly smart, witty, and well-behaved. It’s so much fun to sit and have full conversations with this little munchkin, her eyes full of wonder about what’s going to come her way next. I hope someday, when I’m long gone, she’s able to dig up these blog archives and realize just how proud of her I’ve always been and who she’s becoming. She’s going to have her first dance recital in 2015, and I’ll be teaching her to ride a bike this summer. Milestones I can’t wait to experience.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

So what’s on tap for me in 2015? Well, the continued evolution of Breaking Brews and PCBN for sure. But I’m also continuing my beer adventures by diving head-first into home brewing. As you know, this “hobby” has led to some tremendous things for many boys and girls in Pittsburgh and beyond, and I’m anxious to give it a go and see if some of the culinary skills I’ve taught myself over the years can translate into making bold, quality beer.

Can I hang? Stay tuned…

Thanks for being part of this ride with me. Let’s all raise our glasses and toast to what’s sure to be an outstanding 2015!







Jason Cercone

Good Times and Good Blog Features Are Better When They're Shared!

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