How Hamilton is involving the world in its conversations about business issues

The Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce last week launched its first worldwide monthly conversation about business, and successful business strategies, with about 30 people viewing the podcast online, including one from Cairo, Egypt.

Byron Skaggs, a chamber member and certified professional business coach, led the discussion of the book “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek, in which Jim Goodman, one of five owners of Municipal Brew Works, discussed his business and the micro-brewing industry.

“We expect it to grow into something quite large,” said the chamber’s president and CEO, Dan Bates. He noted anybody will be able to follow “The Conversation,” which is the name of the program, live or after the fact, and ask questions of the discussion’s participants from anywhere around the globe.

In addition to the 30 watching via computer, 15 were watching from the room at the chamber where it was being recorded.

“We thought it was pretty good for our first time,” Bates said.

Goodman, whose micro-brewery has been operating about 2 1/2 years, told the audience, “The craft-brewing industry as a whole has increased nationwide, double-digit percentages for the past five or six years.”

Before 2012, there were about 40 craft breweries in Ohio, compared with more than 200 now.

Unlike the large breweries in the country, the craft-brewing industry “embraces a culture of this buy local, drink local, shop local, using the platform of a tap room or a tasting room to bring people together,” Goodman said. “It becomes more than just about the beer. That was something that was very important to us.”

One thing people like about the micro-brewing industry is they are able to speak with the people who create the beer, he said. Another is that the beers often have specific purposes, such as charity and fundraising, or nods to an area’s history.

There are more than 53 craft breweries in the Greater Cincinnati area, he said, and soon will probably be 65. Micro-brewing follows a “hyper-localization” trend, he added.

Another reason micro-breweries have been successful, he added: “They are there for the community. It’s not just about the beer.”

Such breweries also experiment with various styles and tastes. On Friday, for example, “We have a new peanut butter Porter coming out,” he said. “It’s basically like a melted Reese’s Cup — it’s a great, great beer. But we’re releasing it on National Peanut Butter Lovers’ Day.”

Municipal Brew Works is located in the former Hamilton Municipal Building at 20 High St. The brewery’s boiler is in what used to be the police department’s basement firing range. “There’s a half-inch-thick piece of solid steel mounted to the wall with 10,000 bullet points in it,” he said.

To join the list of those invited to participate in future podcasts, email Bates at or Laura Merrill at

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