The (Other) Stephen Foster Story: Kentucky’s Craft Beer Con Man

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by 5thOhio, Jan 28, 2019.

  1. 5thOhio

    5thOhio Devotee (484) May 13, 2007 South Carolina

    Just posting this for informational purposes...
  2. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,131) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Greeat. With so many new breweries and brew-pubs popping up around here, I'm sure he's wringing his hands and chuckling like a mad scientist. I hope the word on him spreads fast.
    jesskidden likes this.
  3. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (2,556) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Premium Trader

    Seriously - how is this not a bigger story than a post on Kentucky Sports (no offense to them).
  4. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,387) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Well, there is that cringe-inducing "too-cute" headline (yeah, and I realize they're based in Kentucky) - but likely not really relevant to lots of people and I'd suppose that Foster will be choosing other pseudonyms if he continues his activities.

    Looks like PASTE already has a story on it - which relies heavily on that KSR story and they openly admit as much.
  5. BayAreaJoe

    BayAreaJoe Defender (682) Nov 23, 2017 California

    From the article:

    “He ruins people’s lives,” Barnes admits. “He makes them put their trust in him…give him money…and he leaves.” According to Barnes, Foster could talk the talk but “in practical application, he’s a f****** moron.”

    Funny way to shorten a quote - doesn't seem to me like ol' hefty "made" anyone give him money. And, well, seeing as how it happened so many times over such a long period, he's not the only "f****** moron.”
  6. RobNewton

    RobNewton Zealot (586) Dec 30, 2014 New York
    Premium Trader

  7. FatBoyGotSwagger

    FatBoyGotSwagger Meyvn (1,167) Apr 4, 2009 Pennsylvania

    BeastOfTheNortheast likes this.
  8. IMFletcher

    IMFletcher Defender (635) May 2, 2014 Kentucky

    Because the brewery in question was a blip on the radar, bottle distro only, no tap room, no kegs. Locals questioned the premise from the beginning, it really looked like a model for money laundering.

    Then I talked to their in-state distributor, and was told nobody at the brewery was responding to calls/e-mails.

    Cadiz is way the hell out in the middle of nowhere, not a place anyone from civilization wants to go exploring.

    I'd done enough research earlier to know who the listed owner was, so I followed her on Twitter. It's not an account you'd associate with anyone in the brewery business. One day, I saw her posting, so I fired off the question quickly, hoping she'd respond. She did (that's my tweet in the article).

    I posted this response to a local board, and another member (@woosterbill) Googled Stephen Foster and came up with an old Reddit thread calling him a fraud. From there, a few follow up questions got confirmation that the owners of St. Arnulf had been scammed by this guy. It appeared that the owners found out after the fact they'd been conned, but never made any public announcements about the future of the brewery, they just shut down and moved on with their lives.
  9. RochefortChris

    RochefortChris Meyvn (1,301) Oct 2, 2012 North Carolina

    Quoted from the Paste Magazine article and made me chuckle:
    "How do you not become an experienced, capable brewmaster after a decade of experience in pretending to be one? You would think that after the sheer amount of batches he’s produced to date, that Foster would have an easier time faking competence in his chosen field as a con man."
  10. Oktoberfiesta

    Oktoberfiesta Aspirant (253) Nov 16, 2013 New Mexico

    Was he stealing money? Are authorities involved or was his product just terrible? Was he taking equipment with him or just losing these places money with crappy product?

    I'm confused on one thing. A lot of My local breweries have owners who brew or recipes that work etc. Brewers move around often but it seems like 90% of these mentioned businesses are opening up without a dedicated head brewer already known. Are there owners out there just totally oblivious to the brewing process?
  11. sharpski

    sharpski Meyvn (1,113) Oct 11, 2010 Oregon
    Premium Trader

    Yes. Strange to those of us who are passionate about beer, but to a good number of people it’s just a business with good growth opportunity.
  12. IMFletcher

    IMFletcher Defender (635) May 2, 2014 Kentucky

    If someone wants to go back and look at St. Arnulf on Untappd, there were wild and suspicious ratings of the first bottles. While I know at least a few people who had 'good' bottles, plenty of others had bottle bombs. Some of the original beers were deleted, I think, because of the bad ratings and comments, but the person running the brewery account posted some total gems responding to bad ratings. Those responses could be summed up as saying, "every beer is unique."
  13. Sturgeon83

    Sturgeon83 Aspirant (287) Mar 11, 2015 Kentucky

    FWIW, Kentucky Sports Radio is probably the most visited page in Kentucky. It's ostensibly a UK fan blog, but covers lots of other issues of local interest as well.
    bluejacket74 and islay like this.
  14. sharpski

    sharpski Meyvn (1,113) Oct 11, 2010 Oregon
    Premium Trader

    Yeah, but...
  15. Sturgeon83

    Sturgeon83 Aspirant (287) Mar 11, 2015 Kentucky

    Go on?
    flat_lander likes this.
  16. sharpski

    sharpski Meyvn (1,113) Oct 11, 2010 Oregon
    Premium Trader

    Claiming it’s the most visited page in Kentucky is not a justification that explains the original question of why it’s not a bigger story. I’d never use the largest site in Oregon (whatever it is) to try and impress upon someone how important the reporting was. Mostly though, I was a little tipsy and busting your chops.
    jesskidden and BayAreaJoe like this.
  17. Sturgeon83

    Sturgeon83 Aspirant (287) Mar 11, 2015 Kentucky

    Not really seeing where I "tried to important the reporting was..." but OK. Point I was making is that Kentucky Sports Radio has a wide regional readership and an associated daily 2 hour radio show that's top 20 nationwide where the story was also mentioned; it's not the Wall Street Journal, but it's not like it was coming from the Possum Trot town newsletter either.

    As to why the story isn't burning up the presses in such far flung and cosmopolitan places as Oregon, I can only guess it's because despite our obvious interest in such things around here, the vast majority of people couldn't care less about bad beer and a shady brewer in the current news climate.
  18. BeastOfTheNortheast

    BeastOfTheNortheast Aspirant (298) Dec 26, 2009 Pennsylvania

    To your last question - Yes. I've witnessed myself.
    RobNewton likes this.
  19. stevepat

    stevepat Devotee (451) Mar 12, 2013 California

    It is remarkable how often it seems like the owner doesn't even understand the finished product, forget the brewing process. I have been disturbed more than once in various rural hamlets when, upon trying the local brew fare, I discover that the local palate appears to lean toward various flavors reminiscent of vomit or the mix of all the condiments with the last sips of soda we used to make as kids. Sooooo many downright bad beers being put out by little start up breweries that I often wonder if anyone even tasted them before releasing them to the public, and if so how could they have ok'd it?

    I was just at a new brewery (incidentally in kentucky) and the two beers I tried there were, to me, undrinkable. One was a porter with a top ten craft beer flavorings added to it (chocolate, coffee, cinnamon, hot peppers, vanilla, etc...) that had all the elegance of an interstate pileup and the other was a 'fruited' IPA that tasted like a passable IPA that someone just poured a fair amount of lime juice in. And yet the place was busy and the bar tender told me they were opening a second location
  20. KarlHungus

    KarlHungus Poo-Bah (3,067) Feb 19, 2005 Minnesota

    So all he did was lie about his previous employment, and the brewery owners who hired him were too incompetent to verify it before hiring him. It sure looks like the owners are completely at fault here.