Though not quite as prestigious as an interview in the Rolling Stone, the lovely Myra Flynn of the Burlington Free Press recently interviewed me on the subject of the opening of the Three Penny Taproom.  I’m pretty surprised they left in my comment about hating bosses, though less surprised they edited out the part of my response to their question about opening a business in “these economic times” where I said “either the economy will continue to spiral out of control and the whole capitalist system will collapse or it’ll rebound and capitalism will live to see another day.  Either way people are still going to want to drink a good beer.”  Of course, it is the business section.  My main thrust in making such a comment (and probably a good part of why it was edited out) was to challenge the false premise that all commerce and business is capitalist in nature- and that without capitalism we wouldn’t have things like beer or bars.

You Should Know: The Owners of Three Penny Taproom in Montpelier

Montpelier’s new Three Penny Taproom is bringing local brews of all kinds to the capital city. One of the three owners, Wes Hamilton, shared the inspiration behind the fledgling business.

WHERE ARE YOU LOCATED? Main Street, Montpelier (between Langdon Street and the Main Street Bar and Grill)

• WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START THIS BUSINESS? We love beer! Aside from that, a lot of people only know beer as one style, one flavor. A lot of folks may be familiar with the more popular or mass-marketed microbrews, but there are so many really exciting, creative, unique things happening with beer right now. We wanted to bring that to people. But it’s not all just about drinking beer. Three Penny Taproom is a very social space. The bar top is low, it’s mostly standing room, the colors are warm. We’ve got a simple, tapas-style menu of small plates. The entire experience is meant to be fun and social.

• WHAT’S BEHIND THE NAME? The short answer is that someone suggested it and we all agreed. Beyond that, there are a lot of things around the term “three penny.” There’s Brecht’s “Three Penny Opera,” which I’ve seen described as opera “by and for the beggars. “It’s got a very anti-bourgeoisie feel, a tone that says the finer things in life shouldn’t be left just for the rich and elite to enjoy — which is very much a part of our vision. Also, “three penny” in Europe is a sort of slang term for doing something on the cheap, which was definitely on our minds as we were putting the place together. And, of course there’s three of us, so the name just seemed good.

• DURING THIS TOUGH ECONOMY, HOW TO YOU PLAN TO COMBAT THE CHALLENGES THAT MAY COME? There’s always a lot of risk in doing something like opening a business. I don’t mean to downplay the recession but there’s certainly a sense that in Vermont, and Central Vermont, and downtown Montpelier, it’s not as bad as it is in a lot of other parts of the country. We believe very strongly in our vision and our products.

• WHAT’S YOUR PERSONAL BACKGROUND? I was raised by my mom in the suburbs of New York City, very working middle class. When I as about 8. I started my own landscaping/dog sitting/baby sitting business. Since then I’ve been a dishwasher, a farm hand, a day care provider, a hospice worker, a bookkeeper. I’m pretty determined when it comes to work, mostly I think because I hate bosses and hate working for someone else. I also co-founded the Northeast Kingdom Music Festival, which is happening again this year in East Albany, Aug. 7-8. It should make August an interesting month, since my first child is due about two weeks after that!

• CONTACT: Visit or e-mail, or call 223-taps