MFA Student Launches Hop Culture

Author: Allison Albitz

Kenny Gould came up with the idea for an online magazine focused around craft beer while on a Chatham MFA trip to Peru. “I was reading a travel guide to Peru, and I thought, why doesn’t something like this exist for craft beer?” he says. Thus began Hop Culture.

Gould was also says he was unsatisfied with the content being written about craft beer. At his previous job with a Manhattan-based magazine, called Gear Patrol, he built the alcohol program. “We started at a time when not a lot of other people were writing about beer in a dynamic way, and those who were tended to appeal to a narrow demographic. I’d say that we definitely felt frustrated by the state of beer writing—we saw the need for more exciting, more inclusive content, so we started Hop Culture.”

After the initial trip to Peru in the spring of 2016, Hop Culture actually launched in January 2017, after eight months of hard work put in by Gould and co-founder, Travis Smith. Now that the magazine is up-and-running, Gould, Smith, a group of five interns (four of whom are Chatham students), and a small group of contributors publish stories five days per week.

Kenny Gould, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Hop Culture (photo courtesy of Hop Culture)

Gould’s passion and goals for Hop Culture have been unwavering from the very beginning. “We started with a single goal: produce inclusive, educational craft beer lifestyle content for the newest generation of drinker. That’s what we’ve been doing and I don’t think that will ever change.” He also assures readers that Hop Culture has been and will always be a free publication.

In addition to running Hop Culture, Gould teaches yoga, is a freelancer for various publications, and is a student in the MFA Creative Writing program at Chatham. He says that studying under local Pittsburgh writers in the program has helped him immeasurably. “What does my audience want to read? How is my content making someone’s day a little brighter? These are the questions that my teachers helped me ask, and ultimately the questions that helped form Hop Culture.”

To aspiring entrepreneurs, Gould says, “Your dreams are interesting. Complete your due diligence, but if your still excited about the idea after all your research, go for it, and do it with a light heart.”

You can access the magazine at www.hopculture.com or find Hop Culture on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook @hopculturemag. You can also contact them at hello@hopculture.com.

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