Ghost Hawk Brewing Company is a collaborative effort, started by founders Tom Rachelski and myself - Steve Bauer. Between 2014-2016, I had suffered the tragic losses some very good friends, and eventually - my younger brother Danny, on January 23, 2016. These years of my life changed my views on everything that I thought I ever knew. I’ve spent every day since then, trying to honor the memory and spirit of those good people who left this world too soon.
At the time, I was working a desk job for nearly a decade. The salary, the benefits, the paid vacation, the bonuses. The khakis, the button downs, the cubicle, the stapler, the excel spreadsheets. In April 2014, I started a local, skateboard-influenced streetwear clothing and art company called GRZLY, along with it’s sister company GRZ Creative - a freelance graphic design branch of the business. I was already on the hunt to get myself out of corporate. Seeing my friends in caskets made me realize how stupid all of that is. Even if you live a hundred years, it’s still the blink of an eye. People need to survive how they can, but I truly feel that spending decades of your life in a cubicle is not what human beings were ever meant to do.
So I quit my job in April 2015 and I just threw myself into the void. Started managing a restaurant, went door-to-door selling solar panels, got back into bartending, worked at a printing press, picked up freelance work - day and night - just doing whatever I could to figure out the next move. More than two years later, on July 23, 2017, I put a post on my Facebook - a frustrated “call out” to anyone who would respond. I asked how we could take my years of experience with graphics and marketing, and combine it with other friend’s skills, to stop working for other people.
A day later, I received a message from Tom Rachelski, saying he read my post and had an idea he wanted to talk to me about. Tom was a childhood friend of my brother Danny, who I had known for many years. Although our lives had gone in completely different directions, we reconnected that summer. Tom had been working in finance for many years, and did quite well for himself. He had been paying attention to my two companies - specifically my GRZLY clothing brand. He wanted to put some capital behind the brand and see where we could take it.
Although much appreciated, I felt like the apparel industry seemed like a very risky investment. At this point, Tom just threw it out there. “If you had (x-amount) of dollars to invest in something right now, what would it be?” This moment was the birth of what would become the Ghost Hawk Brewing Company. I told Tom about a business venture I had attempted with another friend about seven years prior - a local brewing company. Sometime around 2010, I had beI had began working on marketing and branding for what
Through our mutual friends at Silk City Distillers, we met Brewmaster Chris Sheehan in early 2018. Our original discussions included taking Chris on-board as a consultant, bringing his vast amount of brewing knowledge to the table, and helping us get our project off the ground. After many different discussions and getting to know Chris, we all expressed interest in working together. A short time later, we brought Chris into the Ghost Hawk family and hired him to be our full-time brewer. We have been friends ever since.