Over the next few months we are going to be highlighting creatives in the industry to find out what makes them tick and discover why they create in the craft industry.
Our first interview is with Oregon photographer Matthew Ward, known better as Bend Brew Daddy.
Who are you?
My name is Matthew Ward. I am a stay-at-home Daddy to Zoen, the most beautiful almost 5 year old boy, and the proud husband of an amazing woman, Lisa. I’ve been holding a camera since I was 2, and have always been drawn to photography. All types… nature, landscape, product, event, wedding… but nothing really clicked until I put a beer in front of the lens. It was then that I realized that I might be onto something. With the craft beer scene exploding, I decided to jump in! Created an Instagram account Bend Brew Daddy, started tagging breweries in my photos, and Bam! I took off! Fast forward almost four years… Bend Brew Daddy is a company. Lisa and I run the business from home. We specialize in beer photography, and craft beer accessories, tile coasters with my photos on them, and swag! We set up booths at beer festivals and are building our online store. We hope to expand, and turn BBD into a lifestyle brand, as well as a craft advocate.
What draws you to craft beer?
I’m drawn to the people, first and foremost,… both brewers and connoisseurs of the craft. People like you! :) I’m drawn to the creativity and the styles that are born from experimentation. There’s so much going on in beer. There were so many styles to begin with, and now with the art growing, and brewers collaborating, and the knowledge being tossed around. I mean, I had an India Pharmhouse Ale by Alesong the other day. Have we even heard of that before? But it was delicious, and properly described. Hoppy and Phunky!
How does craft beer inspire you?
Just looking at it. Beer is sexy, especially in proper glassware. But the bonus is that I get to drink it after shooting it! I’m also inspired by the people behind the beer. If they didn’t create the beer, I wouldn’t be taking a photo of it. I’m grateful for their craft. Art inspires art! I even use that hashtag. #artinspiresart
Talk about your favorite image. What was the inspiration, what was a challenge you overcame to create it?
Wow… I have many photos that I love and challenges I’ve had to get “the shot.” I guess I would talk about the Hop Henge shot. I’m a big fan of Hop Henge by Deschutes, and I had just bought 8 bottles of it! When I was planning the shot, I realized that I could probably recreate Stonehenge out of the bottles. Problem… the sun was setting fast, and I was having issues keeping the bottles in place atop the other bottles. Double stick tape to the rescue! I’ve never used before or after this photo shoot. I felt like I was cheating because I really wanted all of my shots to be real. It wasn’t until after when I was processing the shots on my PC that I saw what I had created. With the sun setting in the background and the perfect amount of light on the labels to make it an incredible photo, regardless of what was in those bottles.
If you could work with one brewery, who would it be and why?
Easy… Silver Moon Brewing. It’s been a personal favorite, even before I started BBD. And the fact that they were one of the first breweries to recognize my work. They also hosted my debut, and I decorated their brewery with my photos. I’ve also done website, product and other photography, as well as label graphics and other artsy jobs. Most recently, I created the Ghost Fields Rye IPA label. Silver Moon also has amazing people, both in ownership and brewing team and taproom team. Our favorite place to go! It’s great to see the 3rd oldest Bend brewery getting some love again!
What are you working on now? What is your dream project?
I’m working hard on getting my website ready for the holiday season. Other than that, I’m working on the BruSquare product line. I have over 80 different photos in the collection, and we are adding some really cool ideas for storing and displaying them. We’re also gearing up for a big year in 2017. We’ll be at a lot of upcoming festivals and will be taking a lot of beer road trips. Our plan is to release a 2018 calendar, as well as expand our reach into the craft beer and beverage market. My dream job… would be to stay at home building our family and business! If we could make this business our lives, it would be a dream come true. And really, right now you could say I already am living the dream. I work with breweries and the people who run them. I take pretty beer pictures, and I get to hang out with my growing boy! Sounds dreamy to me!
What was the beer that started you down the craft beer rabbit hole?
So many rabbit holes in craft! But I’ll stick with the main one… Anchor Steam. I grew up in the Bay Area, so Steam was flowing hard!
What are you drinking right now?
A can of Sticky Hands by Block 15 in Corvallis. I love everything they are doing over there. Monthly releases of amazing beer, and fresh cans of Sticky! If I wasn’t drinking this, I’d be drinking Silver Moon, Crux or some other really good beer!
What do you wish you were drinking right now?
Cantillon… anything from Cantillon! Never had it, and I want it! Also, Treehouse Brewing, Monkish, Rare Barrel… things I can’t get in Bend! Please!? Pretty please?!
You can find more photography from Bend Brew Daddy here:
BruSquare Tile Coasters: brusquare.com