Burnout. A recent conversation with my supervisor in the social work field unearthed just what was going on underneath my surface. I was emotionally, mentally, and spiritually spent. My supervisor wisely suggested my wife and I take a vacation. Without any hesitation, I began daydreaming about touring local microbreweries, driving through alien countryside, great company, and an entirely new adventure. So: the Redwoods were calling, and we had to go.
After initial plans were put on paper, the next logical step came to mind. We had to bring Duba & Company heritage beef to adorn the excursion. How utterly romantic: an intimate barbeque of heritage beef, shared between the espoused, under the largest trees in the world, bordering the Pacific Ocean. Fantastic! In considering what we felt were all the necessary measures for such a vacation, a more abstract question came to mind: What is it that makes heritage beef, microbrewing, Buffalo Trading, and similar movements so captivating? This was the perfect question to take to the mythical Redwoods of California.
An answer to such a transcendent question is difficult to put clearly. When thinking this through, I had to begin with analogies and contradictions. Heritage beef and microbrewing are comparable to county road travel versus interstate thoroughfare. On one hand, you have meticulous craftsmanship involved, passed down over generations. Never exploited, never mass-produced. It is slower, certainly. It takes more effort and time to supply goods to eager patrons. And yet, the journey from farm to table, from grains to brew, from county road to destination is so much more gratifying.
Also, these movements are not mainstream. With chain restaurants, you are assured that each establishment will look nearly identical to the previous one 350 miles earlier. The Bud Light in Texas will taste exactly the same in New Jersey. These box stores and chains have no personality, no ingenuity. Never will you relish the terroir of a land by gorging on boilerplate menus created for thousands of storefronts nationwide.
After beginning to understand what a business like Duba & Company is not, I began to consider what exactly it is made of. With a crusade such as Duba & Company, New Belgium Brewing, or Buffalo Trading, there has undoubtedly been mentoring in the trade. The art of the craft cannot be purchased like a franchise, it is offered over time. Years of counsel and guidance lead the apprentice through the handiwork of a timeless métier. Duba & Company, along with other trades in this movement, is creative, unique, and inspired. There is effort, yes. Not the white-knuckled effort I am used to seeing. It is grace-filled, inspired effort wrought over time.
And yet, the journey from farm to table, from grains to brew, from county road to destination is so much more gratifying.
Now back to the original question. What is it about these trends that are so enchanting? It is precisely this: they are Spirit-filled. These artisans have allowed the Spirit to ignite their imaginations and embolden their labors. The Spirit is cunning, distinctive, and imaginative. Likewise with Duba & Company. You can see remnants of the Spirit in colossal names like Abercrombie & Fitch and Niagara Falls. In the beginning, it was an outstanding farm and tool company catering to all firearms, flannel, and farming needs. One hundred years and many lucrative opportunities later, you are left with a soulless company. Similarly, with Niagara Falls, you have a World Wonder. It is a tremendous torrent of water cascading hundreds of feet down a huge fall, which could have been the world’s first National Park. Instead, hundreds of sharks and moguls seized a profitable opportunity and entirely defaced a scene of glory.
To conclude this inquiry into enterprise, I offer Duba & Company and other Spirit-filled ventures a word of caution, and a note of thanks. You, whom are led by the Spirit, carefully note the stories of Niagara Falls versus Yellowstone National Park. Heed the beginnings and ultimate downfall of Abercrombie & Fitch. Observe Budweiser—and compare to New Belgium. There are lessons to be learned on every level.
And finally, thank you. Thank you for allowing the Spirit to guide your ventures. Thank you for listening to the Spirit and providing the world with needed signs of inspiration, grace, and God. Thank you, Jeff, for providing enthusiasts with meat that has taste unrivaled by any other. Thank you for purveying an experience that entices the senses and evokes the rustic magnificence of The Old World, The West, and the Shire. Well done.