I rolled into Arizona 67 days ago now. I left Maine 256 days ago. I’ve been living in the bus since August 2nd, 2018, which makes 293 days. I’ve visited 29 of the 48 project breweries.
I’ve yet to have a bad experience with any brewery, though the road has offered up it’s fair share of obstacles. It was February of last year, 2018, that I first conceived of this project, and began to breathe life into it. Countless hours and days were spent at the dining room table, latte to my right, notebook open, researching breweries, writing my pitch, impatiently awaiting responses. A good friend and loved industry photographer, Miguel Rivas a.k.a. The Beer Trekker, was a fantastic help in introducing me to dozens of brewers who I did not know. Quite honestly, it was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster ride…as I was simultaneously dealing with an impending period of homelessness, family obligations and moments of self doubt. At the time, I was repeatedly hit with feelings of frustration, with the process, with the non-responders and the flaky turn-downs. In my head it seemed like such an amazing opportunity all around, though it was, admittedly, a challenging concept to articulate fully. I could feel the vagueness in my abstract explanation of the mission of the 48 Beer Project. Somehow, though, I managed to convince 48 breweries to join in, pay the fee for the label, and commit to a specific schedule.
The bus… oh the bus, was the second and most grueling phase of the planning process. What was originally meant to be carried out by a handful of knowledgable carpenters/craftsman, flopped into my lone self doing the entire remodel. What’s more, is that I was dating, unknowingly, a textbook psychopath throughout this part, who gradually twisted my life into a knot of anxiety and despair that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. The physical exhaustion alone, of building my own home with a two month deadline, while helping move my mom and all her deceased parents’ belongings into a new home, in the midst one of the hottest summers on Maine record, well…it took its toll.
The nature of my relationship with this man only came to light a couple weeks before I was scheduled to hit the road. With the weight of the world and the pressure to please 48 breweries and 3 sponsors (at the time) on my shoulders, I was in a fight to keep from drowning. And I fought. And I fucking won.
Thanks to Eric and the crew at Liquid Riot (Portland, Maine), I kicked off with many friends and beer fans, and even a couple local news stations in the best way…departing just two days later (256 days ago).
I’ve been on the road for the better part of a year now, and time has offered plenty of reflection and the stress of seeing this through has subsided…and I’ve put lots of distance between myself and that man. Looking at it now, I am nothing but blown away by the positive responses from the breweries, by the fact that any of them opened my emails, let alone read and responded! While I’ve been building a reputation in the industry as an artist for a few years now, there are endless breweries who’ve never heard the name Heidi Geist, and that they would put their faith and trust in me to follow through and do it well, is something I’ll be forever grateful for. Without all of YOU, there would be no 48 Beer Project!
Granted, I am giving something extraordinary…not just the artwork, I am promoting each and every one, and even better, I am writing YOU into an epic story that will be told for a while to come. This project is far more than beer, brewery popularity, or art. Looking forward to what is to come once the tour is done…stay tuned.
I am beyond thankful to each and every one of you, for taking part in this experience.