I was enjoying a Big Hop IPA, the flagship offering of East End Brewing in Pittsburgh and one of my personal favorites before a Pirates game at The Beer Market in the North Shore. When out of the blue, this misguided soul who was unfamiliar with Beer Market’s unspoken theme of “good beer only” dropped this comment when he couldn’t get a Bud Light.
His words stayed in my head and made me realize something: People just don’t know. People just don’t know there’s a tremendous variety of beer out there that offers more flavor, more quality, more taste, and challenges the palate with every sip. The reason? These beers aren’t heavily marketed like those of the ‘big beer’ machine.
What is Breaking Brews?
Breaking Brews is an advocacy site for craft beer and is designed to celebrate the craft beer revolution and those part of said revolution. The goal is to provide educational and informative content about craft beer in a fun atmosphere that helps those in the transitional phase of craft beer enjoyment gain the appreciation and know-how that goes along with consuming a challenging, flavorful libation. In addition, we look to feature those on-board with the revolution who’ve already expanded the comfort zone of their palates and are looking to build on their love affair with craft beers. From microbreweries to home brewers to pubs, bars and restaurants who feature craft beer to loyal craft beer fans, Breaking Brews is here to be a voice in the ever-expanding craft beer fan club.
Who’s Tapping Into All This?!
My name is Jason Cercone and I love beer. Always have and always will. As much as beer itself, I love the social element that accompanies it. So many memorable moments in life take place with family, friends, and co-workers over a freshly-poured beer. Even some moments we don’t remember, we owe to beer…but that’s another story.
When it comes to my love affair with artisanal craft beers, I’m just like you. My taste wasn’t acquired overnight. I didn’t dive headfirst into the thickest, darkest, hoppiest beer on tap. I went through years of drinking the mass-produced, yellow, fizzy stuff because that’s what was available. That’s what all my friends drank. It’s all we knew.
We were all young once. In my circle, it was not uncommon to wind up in the woods on a brisk, Fall evening, huddled around a bonfire with friends, complaining about a Geometry test while downing some cheap, domestic swill someone’s older brother got for us while keeping count of how many we finished off as if it were some badge of honor that would serve a purpose later in life. Through college, a fair amount of my partying time was spent at the beer pong table. And unless a fun-loving college kid had a death wish, he or she wasn’t partaking in a beer pong tournament with an IPA.
The Craft Beer Paradigm Shift
As I grew older, my tastes evolved and I demanded more from my beer. I reached that point where drinking my age in pounders was no longer cool. Hints of craft beer had been dropped on me in my formative years, but nothing ever stuck. Also, the demand, education, availability, and number of craft beer consumers weren’t as abundant as they are these days.
Today, I’m a full-fledged, all-in craft beer consumer. I have expanded my options by discovering a vast variety of beer styles, strengths, tastes, and aromas. I’ve found 12oz. bottles of craft beer that I’ve invested as much in as I used to in a 30-pack of something with a punch-top can. For me, it’s all about the quality, the taste, the uniqueness, and the creativity that comes from the bottle, not a fly-by-night gimmick that’s advertised 10 times in three minutes during the Super Bowl.
Slowly but surely, more people are letting their palates and their minds make the choice these days, not a cleverly placed ad. Craft beer has made ‘big beer,’ if nothing else, realize consumers want more than a bland, flavorless, watered-down excuse for a desirable beverage. And despite big beer’s attempts to replicate the crafts with knockoffs, they simply can’t capture the heart, soul, and passion the microbreweries pour into every batch of beer they brew.
The Breaking Brews Mission
My mission is to provide education and awareness for craft beer, as well as serve as a strong voice of advocacy for the craft beer revolution. There are thousands upon thousands of dedicated individuals working their asses off to bring the very best beers to your table, and I’m here to scream loudly for their plights. This isn’t a job…it’s a way of life. Craft brewers believe in and live this philosophy and, as an advocate for their desire to change the landscape of beer, I believe in and live it, too. My goal is to become YOUR #1 craft beer resource in Pittsburgh, and the second that happens…it means we’ve only just begun!
I started the Breaking Brews project because the more advocates there are for craft beers, the better. The machine that monopolizes the majority of the beer marketshare in America is enormous and their dominance may show in the polls. However, the craft brewers are winning the battle on the streets, capturing the hearts of one beer drinker at a time with their unique, delicious offerings.
Watching a person break free from the brainwashing ‘big beer’ put on them is truly a sight to behold! And that’s what the Breaking Brews community is all about: an ever-growing, constantly-evolving group of craft beer enthusiasts who welcome anyone looking to join the craft beer phenomenon with open arms.
This blog and all its efforts are dedicated to celebrating craft beer, the artists that create the beers we love, and to helping YOU, an enjoyer of beer, become part of the revolution that’s sweeping the land. In case you weren’t already aware, you have options when it comes to the beer you love. PLENTY of options. And Breaking Brews is here to help you discover them all!
Through both the Pittsburgh Craft Beer Network and Breaking Brews platforms, you will find a front-to-back, top-to-bottom devotion to craft beer and the purveyors of craft beer who have reconfigured their business practices to ensure you get what you deserve: the highest-quality beers imaginable.
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Check out what some of Pittsburgh’s business owners had to say about working with Jason Cercone:
“Jason is one of the most dedicated individuals in the beer business in Pittsburgh. He’s done great things promoting Caliente and I really enjoy working with him. What he does with the industry goes hand-in-hand with bars, beer distributors, wholesalers, and local breweries. His app is transforming the way Pittsburgh learns about beer events. I highly recommend working with Jason and the Pittsburgh Craft Beer Network.” — Nick Bogacz | Owner – Caliente Pizza & Draft House
“Being a part of PCBN has been a great experience. You’re getting all the “need to know” craft beer info at your customer’s fingertips. It’s great to see Jason taking steps to improve the craft beer community in Pittsburgh. In an industry that has so much going on, the PCBN app gives us an advantage by getting information out to customers instantaneously.” — Cassie Hough | Co-Owner – Hough’s Taproom & Brewpub and Buzz Worthy Pub Trivia
“Jason is a craft beer fan first and it’s reflected in the way he treats his clients and their products. The Pittsburgh Craft Beer Network is all about spreading the news that the Pittsburgh local beer scene has arrived.” — Steve Ilnicki | Head Brewer and Co-Owner – Spoonwood Brewing Company
“Partnering with Jason and the Pittsburgh Craft Beer Network has helped us maximize our social media exposure and has also helped reach out to a wider range of craft beer enthusiasts. The craft beer community in Pittsburgh is growing more and more every day and Jason is providing an avenue for collective conversation on that growth and all the major happenings in the community as well. This is definitely something we want to continue to be part of.” — Stephanie Dickson | Bar Manager – Blue Dust
“The partnership we have created with Jason Cercone of the Pittsburgh Craft Beer Network has grown to become an invaluable tool to help market and promote our PA Brew Tours, as well as our zTrip Pittsburgh Rideshare division. Having our brew tour events on the calendar, which is becoming the go-to site for people to find craft beer events going on in Pittsburgh, has been an effective piece of the social media package for our company and we can say unequivocally that being on their app has helped us grow our business and opened doors to partnerships with others in the craft beer industry!” — Sherris Moreira | Director of Marketing – PA Brew Tours/Pittsburgh Transportation Group
“The Pittsburgh Craft Beer Network is the next step in Pittsburgh’s craft beer Renaissance: a common watering hole for customers, brewers, and retailers to interact and share information. For Pittsburgh’s craft beer market to continue to grow and mature, it will require more interaction and communal goals. Jaosn has positioned himself as the hub for craft beer communication in Western Pennsylvania through his tireless efforts to pound the pavement and form relationships within the industry.” — Peter Kurzweg | Owner – The Independent Brewing Company
“Working with Jason and PCBN was one of the best moves I’ve made for Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery. The PCBN website has offered a lot of exposure to us that we would’ve have had otherwise. I’m a huge fan of the app and the collective information available at the click of a button.” — Meg Evans | Head Brewer – Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery and Chairwoman of Pink Boots Society – Western PA Chapter
“In a time when our industry is undergoing tremendous growth and constant change, it is reassuring to have a unified voice for all things craft beer in Pittsburgh. Jason has been a very instrumental resource in promoting local breweries, local brews, and local events. We turn to Jason and the Pittsburgh Craft Beer Network first when we have something big upcoming because we are confident that he’ll get the word out!” — Jenn Weir | Brand Manager – Rivertowne Brewing Company