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Brewing up hops and bops: how a small brewery hits all the right notes

Erika Soderstrom Feb 5, 2024
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Conductor, pianist and brewery owner Bill Eddins built a business that blends tasty brews with music education. Courtesy Bill Eddins

Brewing up hops and bops: how a small brewery hits all the right notes

Erika Soderstrom Feb 5, 2024
Heard on:
Conductor, pianist and brewery owner Bill Eddins built a business that blends tasty brews with music education. Courtesy Bill Eddins
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For accomplished conductor and pianist Bill Eddins, music seems to have always played a role in his life.

“I honestly can’t remember the first time I actually touched a piano. I also can’t remember a time where I didn’t read music. I’ve always been able to do this evidently,” he told Marketplace.

Even while on the line for an interview, music was playing in the background of his mind; Wynton Marsalis’ “Violin Concerto” was his ear worm at the time.

Like many during the pandemic, Eddins found himself out of work and brewing beer. He was also living through mass civil unrest, following the police killing of George Floyd. Eddins was experiencing his third wave of historic racial reckonings, after living through the 1989 Miami riots and the Los Angeles riots of 1992.

“I was really upset with the fact that we tend to not want to do things that really will help our society in the long term,” he said.

But the brewing and widespread protests fermented into an idea. “For a musician, I always think about music education. And suddenly those two ideas just kind of combined themselves,” Eddins explained.

Enter MetroNOME Brewery, a Twin Cities based business focused on funding music education. Eddins and his co-founder, Matt Engstrom, aspire to grow their business to the size of a small regional brewery. When their goal is realized, they plan to filter funding from the brewery toward local music education programs.

“We believe that we would be able to funnel as much as half a million or even maybe a million dollars a year into the local music education programs here in the Twin Cities metro,” said Eddins.

MetroNOME has already featured some major show stopping performances. Local musician Jack Schabert got the chance of a lifetime to perform with jazz legend Wynton Marsalis (a friend and colleague of Eddins).

“You can’t really learn some of the stuff I learned that night just practicing by yourself,” said Schabert, who also serves on the board of directors at MetroNOME.

Want to hear more about this buzzing brewery? Click the audio player above.

Music from this segment includes: “What the Deuce,” by the Roseville Jazz Trio (with Schabert on drums), “Karmin” by Minneapolis based jazz fusion band Bok Choy, and, of course, “Bourbon Street Parade” from Marsalis.

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