Post WWII, my grandfather (Big Bill) went to work in the mines of Kentucky. This was against the will of his father, who thought they were too dangerous. As the story goes… One day in particular Big Bill heard a “crack” above his head and ran out of the mineshaft, the whole cavern caved in. He went back into the cavern, his foreman handed him a shovel and said “Billy, get back to work,” but grandpa decided to move on and move north, to Waukegan, IL. instead. This is where he would meet my grandmother, Avonell (who was from West Virgina), start a 30 year career at Outboard Marine Corp., build many homes around Lake County and start this family I so love!
One day when we were searching high and low for a name to give our brewery, my wife Sarah, heard a song on the interwebs by Joe Bonamassa. The song was Black Lung Heartache. Having heard my grandfathers mine story long before (early in our relationship) she thought about how fitting it would be to use this name and tell his story. We could name the brewery in a way that honors our Appalachian roots and the memory of a man we loved very much, letting us tell his story over and over again.
We all experience life changing events and usually, they spark change. In this case, it started our family! Grandpa had 8 children, 14 grandchildren and we all still live here in the Chicago Land area. That dream may have ended in an instant, in that Kentucky mineshaft. Instead, it inspired him and created our family, his legacy.
My grandfather was a huge part of my life and an inspiration. He inspired me to do what I love and to do it well. For many years that has been civil construction and elevators. But more recently its been brewing beer for people to enjoy!
Black Lung Brewing Company is a brewery grounded not just in family, but their path and their story. Beer for hard working folks (like Big Bill) and for those who enjoy it. Beer, grounded in tradition, inspired by enthusiasm! I’ll drink to that!
So let’s hear your story!
Joshua C. Grubbs President/Brewer