Wherever I go these days, there tends to be someone local acting as a fixer of sorts. Someone who's been following GBH for years, and sees my visit as a chance to accomplish something. And more often than not, it's because that person is aligned in their mission to "Serve Beer," as we like to say.
On this trip to Santiago, Chile for the Copa Cervezas de America, that person is Ben Wood. He's the reason I'm here at all. He used to sell Ballast Point in the Northeastern U.S. before moving to Chile, starting an imports business and then a brewery. He's quickly building a team of passionate and committed partners to help jump-start a fledgling craft beer market down here. And it's working.
As we knife through Santiago's hazy traffic in Ben's cargo van on his way to a beer dinner he's spearheading (it's the restaurant's first-ever, actually), he mentions that he just hopes they carry the beer afterwards.
And it's then I'm reminded of those early days in the U.S. when brands like Anderson Valley would grind—day in, day out—to get on menus anywhere they could, often as the first and only craft offering. In Chile, that history plays out in the present with people like Ben.
It's a real head-shaker. Godspeed, Ben. Happy to assist a real baller like yourself.
– Michael Kiser