With a master’s degree from the University of Virginia in theater, Hugh Sisson had no intention of going into the beer business.
But fate, in the form of his father convincing him to tend bar at Sisson’s Pub in Federal Hill many moons ago, had different plans.
Over the course of 30-plus years in the business, Sisson, founder of Heavy Seas (née Clipper City), has risen to the status of an icon in the Maryland beer community and for good reason. Virtually every “new-generation” brewer I’ve met has offered up an unsolicited story about him reaching out to lend a helping hand, share his experience and deep industry knowledge, and answer questions with his trademark candor.
For instance, Kevin Blodger, the head brewer of Union Craft Brewing, recently shared that Sisson dropped by and left a note saying hi and welcoming them to the neighborhood when they were getting ready to open their doors.
“And I just thought that was really cool,” Blodger recalled.
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