Port City Brewing Company founder Bill Butcher spoke at the Democratic National Convention last night. Y&H asked the Alexandria-based brewer to dish about who he hung out with backstage and whether he got a bottle of White House Honey Ale.
How did you end up speaking at the DNC?
The campaign highlighted our story of how the [Small Business Administration] was involved in helping us finance our startup. They contacted me a few weeks ago to see if I’d be interested in doing a follow-up on our small business. I do believe that the SBA is a useful agency that can benefit more small businesses, especially in times like these when capital is difficult to raise.
Did your speech get vetted? What was that process like?
Yes. I submitted my draft of the speech, and they had a team of speechwriters help me develop it via phone and email.
What’s it like backstage at the DNC?
It was a quite a mix of political heavy hitters, all chatting with each other, and reviewing their own speeches. I got to meet Governor [John] Hickenlooper of Colorado, who is a fellow craft brewer, which was very cool.
How did it feel to speak in front of such a large audience?
It was fun! I was nervous, of course, but they helped me prepare and rehearse what I would say, as well as get used to the teleprompter. It seemed everyone in the Green Room was a bit nervous before they went on stage.
Which big names did you get a chance to meet?
Well, besides John Hickenlooper, I met Cecille Richards of Planned Parenthood, and I was rehearsing my speech along with Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer.
Did you meet the president? Have you ever met the president?
I did not meet the president, and I have not met him.
Did you get any bottles of the White House Honey Ale?
Unfortunately, no. I’d love the opportunity to give it a try; It would be fun set up a bottle swap!
Photo of Bill Butcher (right) with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper courtesy Bill Butcher