brewmaster & Chief Squeegee Operator
Aging backward through time, Jolly Pumpkin founder Ron Jeffries has forgotten more about sour beer than most humans will ever know.
Fortunately he gets to relearn it all. Every day.
Ron Jeffries is responsible for Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales brewed in Dexter, MI. As brewmaster, Ron’s goal is worldwide recognition as a brewer and creator of beers of outstanding art and grace, a philosopher of things beery, and an outspoken advocate of the slower, finer life. Ron began studying brewing science in 1991-ish with one eye always towards opening his own brewery. He began brewing professionally in 1995, and quickly became a well-known and respected brewer in Michigan’s emerging craft beer scene. Driven and dedicated, he progressed from brewer, to craftsman, to artist, and most recently to philosopher and visionary. Beginning to learn to step back, and decelerate the hectic pace of modern life to a slower, more livable, more enjoyable walk, he learned to smile and laugh. Ron was finally able to open his own brewery, Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, in the summer of 2004. Running Jolly Pumpkin, Ron now practices the art of “Hawaiian time,” full time.
What’s in a name anyway?
My favorite comment made upon hearing our moniker, Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales was:
“You really ought to think about hiring one of those marketing companies. They can come up with names for you and everything. Is it too late to change?”
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales. Seems people either love it or don’t understand it.
People always ask about the name, asking “where did it come from?” I usually just put a finger to my temple, smile, and sanguinely state “I have a very strange brain.”
And then I tell this story:
The name bubbled four years ago on a warm spring afternoon. It was one of those rare sunny March Michigan days, the kind that seems much warmer than March really has any right to be. Small piles of snow still dotted the yard as my wife and I sat on the patio in our short sleeves. Sipping beers and enjoying the sun on our faces after the long, dark, cold Michigan winter. After firming up our business plan for months, the dream had finally evolved enough to need a name. So we sat, pen and paper in hand, brainstorming, smiling, and laughing.
Many great names came forth that afternoon, but as the weeks passed, and spring finally sprung, the name that always made us smile was Jolly Pumpkin. It encompassed everything we wanted to express about our brewery. Fun and quirky, all that needed adding were the last two words; “Artisan Ales”, the description of the brewery’s products and mission; The creation of fantastic beers of truly outstanding artisan quality. Maintaining traditional small scale production, keeping beer a beverage of both outstanding complexity and simplicity, this would be our laudable goal. Complexity of flavor, simplicity of ingredient and process. This duality was perfectly balanced in the name. Simple and complex. Complex yet simple.
To our delight with our wonderful new found name we were able to combine some very fun and exciting images:
- Everyone’s favorite holiday; Halloween (Who doesn’t enjoy the grinning Jack O’ Lantern?)
- Everyone’s favorite Halloween costume; the pirate!
- Some of my favorite locations; the tropics!
- And my two nicknames: Brewmaster Spooky, and Captain Ron
- And hence was born the strange name by the brewer with the dedication to rustic country beers!
With much aloha from my family to yours,
Captain Spooky Ron J