Monroe craft beer experts make a home for their brews | Westfair Communications

28 Jun

After more than 20 years of running a homebrew supplies store in Monroe and sharing their expertise by writing books, Mark and Tess Szamatulski said they were ready to take the next hop in their business and build a brewery.

“We decided we’ve been doing this for so long, we might as well just do it on a larger scale,” Tess Szamatulski said.

In June, the couple opened Veracious Brewing Co., a taproom and brewery, on Main Street in Monroe.

The Szamatulskis, of Trumbull, have written two homebrew recipe books and have served their beer at festivals and at their store, Maltose Express. They said they always wanted to open a brewery but that it did not make sense prior to three years ago.

That was when the Ace Hardware next to their store closed, giving them the space to expand, Mark retired from his post as an engineer at defense company Northrop Grumman in Norwalk, and the state became friendlier toward breweries.

Mark Szamatulski said up until two years ago, Connecticut sold the least amount of craft beer in the U.S. He credited the founders of Two Roads Brewing Co., which opened in 2012 in Stratford, with introducing more people to craft beer and pushing legislators to update the state’s alcohol laws that previously limited what breweries could sell. Now, breweries can self-distribute and sell pints, cases of 24 beers and growlers to go.

“For us it made it affordable,” he said. “We actually were able to start a brewery and we could make money at it. That was a big thing.”

Read more


David Sable talks digital past, present and future at Inc. magazine HQ

16 Dec

Google and Inc. Magazine sponsored “The future of digital marketing: strategies you need to succeed,” on December 5, 2014 at the Inc. headquarters located in the World Trade Center. Inc. senior writer Christine Lagorio-Chafkin interviewed David Sable about his experiences in marketing and business.

David Sable is a longtime advertising executive who sees digital as a way to enhance our lives, not supplant them.

“Digital is everything, but not everything is digital,” is Sable’s mantra. While his crystal ball on the future of marketing is admittedly “cloudy,” he is clear that digital puts an increased importance on making live experiences better.

Contrary to his titled talk, Sable didn’t come to spew strategies. You can look to his blog for specifics. Sable is the Global CEO of Young & Rubicam, an entrepreneur and investor that has been in the marketing industry since the 70s. He thinks the ad world was late to innovate with technology, but they’re trying to make up for it now – for better or for worse.

Sable has the knowledge of an advertising historian and talks about today’s digital revolution through the lens of an ad exec that has seen it all. He debunked digital hype and reminded the audience that it is not all about what’s on our phones, even though it seems like it is.

2014 was the year of “people beginning to understand that we live in the real world,” he said. Sable believes the biggest mistake is in thinking the experience should be on the phone. Instead it should be about creating an easy way to take that experience offline.

“Analysts 10 to 15 years ago said retail was going to die,” Sable said, quipping that analysts are always wrong. “They said there’d be no more restaurants or movies. We’d do nothing that required us to leave our home.”

This year’s most highly valued digital startups are not loved, downloaded and discussed just for their digital interface, but more for their concept, which encourages us to act contrary to analysts’ predictions.

Sable used startup glasses company Warby Parker as an example of a company that truly combines real and digital. They started solely online. Their business model involves sending users five pairs of glasses to customers to try on, an idea that came from customers’ requests to see and try on the product.

“They thought, ‘Wow look at the experience they have when they try glasses on with friends around,” Sable said. That’s not new, he said. Humans have an innate desire for in-person, tactile and social experiences.

Sable said he predicted Warby Parker would open stores because they would face inventory shortages. Sure enough, they opened their retail space in 2013 and have opened more this year, for that reason. These physical stores also help with marketing, reinforcing the brand and adding to the overall experience.

Even though we’re in the year of the face to face, Sable said it doesn’t mean that digital marketing is a bad thing.

“It’s awesome,” he said. “It means we need to think about marketing in a bigger sense. How does digital impact what they do?”

Companies have come to Sable with misguided interpretations of what an Internet presence does. He’s heard from Fortune 500 companies, “We’re on YouTube,” “We need to get on Facebook,” or, better yet, “Make me a viral.”

Being on social media because it’s newish does not a company innovative, he said. It isn’t just about getting on social, but how you make an impact there.

Read the rest on Office Lease Center’s blog:

9 things I’m thankful for this month: tech, reading and family

30 Nov

As November comes to a close, here is a wrap-up of good things I discovered this month and told all my friends and family about, especially during Thanksgiving weekend. They’ve heard enough, so now I’m sharing it here. 🙂 

1.The little keyboard I bought for my ipad turned it into a netbook for under $40 – if we don’t factor in the money I spent on the iPad mini a couple of years ago. My accountant friend told me it’s a “sunk cost,” so I’m correct in saying this was a great deal. Not to hype it up too much or anything, but I do think I’m onto a new trend of switching out bulky laptops for lighter tablet/keyboard combos. At least when traveling, anyway.

ipad mini with keyboard

My ipad looks like a netbook with it’s keyboard case

2. I created a Contently profile a couple of weeks ago ( It presents all my clips visually, plus it tabulated all these numbers of shares each article got which I didn’t even know happened. Not only did it make me feel more popular, but their Freelancer articles make me feel less alone. Like in one, someone mentioned how they write stories at home in their PJs. Not that I do that or anything…

3. Evernote. This goes along with my iPad happiness. I type my notes on Evernote and start writing my blog post right there on the train. At home I go on to my laptop, sign on to Evernote, and I pick up where I left off. Thank you cloud.

4. Wearables! Ok, I don’t actually own any techie wearables yet, but I keep reading about them, hearing talk about them and have seen plenty of startups getting in on the space. There’s just so much potential! Especially for health and prevention.

Of course I see potential for getting obsessed with tracking our body data, but we all learn our boundaries with new technology. (RIP crackberries) And information breaches. The fact that technology keeps getting closer and closer to our bodies does make me a little wary. Once we all start wearing these watches, the only barrier is our skin, which leads me to believe in 50 years we’ll actually be comfortable putting tech into our bodies.

(Cicret may be the first real transition to that, have you seen it?!

I think I’ll be ready to purchase a wearable in a few months. I’m less of an early adopter and more of a researcher (like I’ve looked at this: when it comes to buying new technology.

Any recommendations on great wearables?

5. IBM Watson. I went to two events in the past few weeks where Watson, known to many as IBM’s Jeopardy king, has come up with recipes that I got to eat. I bet you didn’t know Watson creates recipes based on the science of what combinations taste good. Being that he’s an information-packed computer, it’s not a surprise. At Uncubed on Nov. 14, IBM served Watson-created trail mix and truffle oil rosemary infused popcorn. Watson is all brains though, meaning he doesn’t actually cook. So I kind of want my own Watson, but I think I could survive with a low-tech version (below), or the Internet until he goes mainstream.


6. Finding the book What Should I Do With My Life. This book stood out to me at a library book sale because I’m ruminating over that question. I know what you’re thinking – recent grad book bait. That may be true of the book I Just Graduated…Now What, which, side note, I started reading and was disappointed. How can I relate to Katherine Schwarzenegger, who nonchalantly writes about interning at CNN, co-hosting with Anderson Cooper and her mom giving the commencement speech?! Anyway…the book I’m reading now is for the commoner and written by one too. I happen to be about 12 years late on this best-seller since it was published in 2002. I’m glad it has a second life with me. I don’t quite have an answer to the question yet, but I’m loving reading about other people’s stories of how they found their calling.

7. If you haven’t heard about it by now, Serial, is awesome. It’s a podcast that digs deep into one 1999 murder case. Listening to a story, not watching, strips away distractions and allows me to focus on the narration and hear nuances in all of the characters’ voices, which is how real detectives investigate a crime. The medium of the story is kind of raw, but has also been well-produced, making it totally captivating.

8. Thanksgiving! I had a wonderful day cooking with my family and then eating, of course. I had to include a few pictures.

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9. In the same vein, I’m thankful for friends, family and followers! When I was in high school, I started the school’s first blog, Edgeonline. This was 2009. Blogging had been a bit taboo and it was extremely difficult to get people on board. A lot has changed in the past five years. Now having a blog is normal, but still, the support means a lot.

If you’re into any of these things or want to talk about them more, reach out or leave a comment! I love to chat.