Three Floyds founder on Portland ‘diss’: Chicago Tribune reporter misquoted me

nick floyd pic

Photo: Nick Floyd via {a href=""}travlr on Flickr (via Creative Commons){/a}

(Munster, IN) – With a little more than 24 hours to go before Three Floyds Brewing‘s biggest day of the year, Dark Lord Day, Founder and Owner, Nick Floyd, is speaking out about what he calls “misquotes” that appeared in Josh Noel’s Chicago Tribune report on Wednesday.

“If you’re not traveling and learning new stuff, you’re sort of stuck,” he said. “Look at Portland. It’s still based on Willamette and Cluster (hops). It’s the same (bleeping) beer you were drinking 30 years ago!”

“Portland was great in the 80s and 90s when there was nothing like it,” he continued. “It used to be inspirational. It still is. But the more you travel and learn, the better.”

Despite the praise toward the end, some see those comments as incendiary.’s Matt Wiater said on Facebook:

It doesn’t seem that Nick has actually been here in awhile. Places like Upright Brewing, Breakside Brewery, The Commons Brewery, Cascade Brewing, etc., have been expanding the Portland style boundaries for awhile now. Sure, they’re not the production majority, but if you really know beer in Portland, you know they’re big players.

Beervana’s Jeff Alworth said on his blog:

There are certain personality traits that make for successful entrepreneurs: brash self-confidence, drive and energy, the risk-taking of a riverboat gambler. They can even benefit from willful ignorance–of risk, for example. These traits are not uniformly prized in other areas. In this case, for example, we might note that a Google search might have disabused Nick of some strange views; and a little humility might have prevented him from offering opinions on topics he has no recent information.

And after a member of Beer Advocate started a forum thread, Nick Floyd, arrived to clear the record:

I would like to say I do not hate Portland or the Portland brewers or brewing scene I was misquoted in a remark I made about ONE early McManamins pub I didn’t care for. I [email protected] love Portland and all its beer. I am a good friend of Van Havig. I drank many times with Don Younger (RIP) and loved him and the Horse Brass. Tony Lawrence from Boneyard (I know its in Bend) is a best friend. Portland was the first place I travelled as a professional brewer to the old Flanders street pub. Bridgeport is one of my favorites. It’s the first place I saw Micro’s on draught 9 to 1 over Macro beer and at a stripclub… Portland rules! Put a bird on it. I love it! Sorry I was misquoted.

your humble narrator
Nick F 3Floyds

BeerPulse pinged Three Floyds Brewing’s Minister of Propaganda, Lincoln Anderson, who said of his colleague and brewery:

Nick is a complex individual but in my years of working for him I will say that he is not mean spirited or spiteful. He is extremely generous and a very cool person to work for and with. The atmosphere at our brewery has always been one of cooperation and celebration of others successes rather than beating down on those who are less successful. He genuinely cares about the craft beer “movement” or whatever you want to call it. At Three Floyds, we are all passionate about putting out the best beer we can and honestly supporting others who fight along with us.

What is your take?


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11 thoughts on “Three Floyds founder on Portland ‘diss’: Chicago Tribune reporter misquoted me

  1. I really don’t have a problem with what he said, it is just a take from someone who has been in the industry for a long time and has seen some of the innovation around the country. I can understand how those in Portland may have taken this as a slight of the beer community that they are and should be proud of.

    I sort of doubt he was ‘misquoted’ and instead think that perhaps the writer represented his words in a tone that Floyd did not intend. I wouldn’t however be surprised if the writer apologized or retracted some of the content of the article if only to keep access to those in the Chicago-land beer community.

  2. I know Nick can come off as harsh at times, but I’ve met the guy on a few occasions (even had a beer with him down in Louisville) and he and Lincoln were both cool guys. They may get a bad rep among certain people but they love what they do and put out some of the best beer in the world. Glad he went to BA to clear things up.

  3. It’s just Nick’s opinion. If anyone knows beer and how to be cutting edge it’s him. I’ve been in the brewing industry for over 7 years and on my recent travels to Portland I must say I was let down a little. It didn’t live up to the hype. Good beer, great beer there…yes! But the majority was mediocore, estery garbage. Everyone jumping on the bandwagon just to get in the Visit Portland ads. I love beer, I love 3 Floyds, I love Portland but we all have opinions and we should especially learn to respect the opinions of people who are and have been successful in the industry.

  4. Most of the beer articles Josh Noel of the Chicago Tribune writes are garbage. One example from this article, He says : “..what is known in craft beer circles as “The cult of Three Floyds.” I have been in craft beer circles for almost 10 years and have never heard this term.

  5. Maybe I wouldn’t have put in quotes like that though I agree there is a cult-like following. Disagree that his reporting is “garbage.” He’s on top of the Chicago scene.

  6. Why care for what any brewer thinks? We pay them for the beer they produce, not for their wisdom. And yet people constantly call the bannermen over even the slightest sign of insult, whether it be directed toward a specific brewery or an entire region.

    Even if Nick Floyd hated the city I live in, it wouldn’t stop me from both going to my favorite local microbrewery and trying to get my hands on a Dark Lord.

  7. I wonder if there is some pot stirring going on around all the reporting in the industry. I am seeing more and more inflammatory “quotes” in what used to be a mutual respect and admiration community. Do I think the brewers have changed or the people who report on them? Hmmm…

  8. Probably a little bit from column A & a little from column B. Industry is definitely getting more competitive and there is more money at stake so brewery folk will vent more in the media than they have in the past.

  9. @Ace- you may not have heard the term, but you can’t deny that the shoe fits. Tomorrow’s DLD is as much proof as anyone should need that FFF has cult status.
    @Adam- yes, Josh is on top of the Chicago scene, but that doesn’t automatically mean he’s good. There’s very little of his writing that convinces me he has much knowledge of beer.

  10. Josh Noel knows what he’s doing. I think it’s probably most likely that Nick just felt like blaming the reporter. It’s always the easiest way out—“Uh oh, I said something dumb that people don’t like because I wasn’t thinking, guess I better say I was misquoted because the reporter couldn’t also hear my internal dialogue at the time.”

    If Nick is smart, he’ll even tell Noel that he knows saying “misquoted” is BS, but that he needs him just to take a dive on this one. Then the relationship between FFF and the Trib is preserved, and presumably he’d owe Noel a favor.

  11. Josh Noel just did another Three Floyd’s article, recommending another one of their beers as beer of the month.  Maybe Robert the Bruce is easier to find than Gumballhead, but harder to find than just about any other beer from any other brewery sold in Chicago. Please for the love of god Josh stop recommending any Three Floyd’s beers, they are impossible to find and ignorant articles like the one he just did make it worse than it already is. At least he didn’t recommend Gumballhead this time though. What is his next beer of the month going to be, Zombie Dust?

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