Art Meets Craft

Revel at 4th Tap

John and Erin Stecker, founders of 4th Tap Brewing Co-Op

John and Erin Stecker, founders of 4th Tap Brewing Co-Op

When Revel learned that the folks at 4th Tap Brewing Co-Op had a grand piano in their taproom, we knew we’d become great friends. Turns out we were right—4th Tap really knows how to Revel! We’re excited to introduce 4th Tap as not only a wonderful, welcoming place to hang out and enjoy a delicious craft beer (or two), but as a terrific new classical music venue. Revel will make their 4th Tap debut on Tuesday, June 21 with Come Down Heavy, the opening event of REVEL SOLSTICE FESTIVAL 2016: KEEP THE LIGHT.

We recently had a chance to talk to 4th Tap co-owners and founders John and Erin Stecker about life, beer, and music. It turns out that both Revel and 4th Tap love to make special things that are meant to be shared. In fact, our little classical music venture and their booming craft brew enterprise have more in common than you might think.


REVEL: How did 4th Tap come into being?

JOHN: It’s been a bit over 5 years since we all sat down around a table at Uncle Billy's over on Barton Springs and decided to open a brewery. We had been home brewing for a long time before that. It took about 5 years of planning, design, education, fund-raising, and construction to get open. During that entire time we brewed nearly every weekend, kegged it, and brought it out to events to share. Sometimes it feels like our brewery is just an expansion, or us going legit. We pay taxes now!

REVEL: What do you love most about the process of making and selling craft beer?

ERIN: Beer is meant to be shared! We love sharing our story with people and it still completely amazes us and is SO exciting when someone buys the beer on the shelf or orders a pint in the taproom. I get to interact with amazing people and learn about their lives, daily. I've made genuine connections over a pint of 4th Tap beer, and that is priceless. Craft beer fosters an incredible sense of community that I never knew existed until we started this project. 

REVEL: You are the first worker-owned, cooperatively governed production brewery in Texas. Why did you decide to go this route?

JOHN: It seemed like the right fit for us. It is important to us that everyone who is involved has a real stake in the brewery and the sense of pride and empowerment that comes with that ownership. Creating beer is such a collaborative effort that a worker-cooperative just made sense to us. Additionally, the concept of a triple-bottom line is in the DNA of a cooperative. People, planet, and profit are all given equal priority. We have to make money - we are a for-profit business - but we have to take care of our workers, our place in the community, our immediate neighborhood, and be considerate of our impact on the planet.

REVEL: The ingredients you use are sometimes adventurous, taking a new twist on classic recipes. What inspires your choices?

JOHN: We focus on the qualities of beer styles that we like and then try to find interesting, unique, and local ingredients to further lift those qualities up. There are so many great breweries in Texas, especially Austin, already making great examples of classic styles, and we don't want to add to the noise. We thought, "If we are going to open a brewery in Austin, we had better bring something new to the table."

REVEL: How did the two of you meet?

ERIN: Music actually brought us together! 9 years ago, I moved in to the Duval St. Villas with my best friend Casey, and she knew John, who also lived there. She introduced us because, 1. He’s tall, and 2. He’s a musician. The first time John and I met, he was carrying 2 guitars up the staircase. He said "hey," and the rest is history...

REVEL: Why did you decide to have a piano in your taproom?

ERIN: The piano belongs to John's family and has been passed down to us. It was his grandfather's piano, then his father's. It is very special to us as we both play and it's something we bonded over when we started dating. We both have such a deep passion for music. The first time John took me to his home in Houston to meet his family, it was Thanksgiving. After dinner, John and I sat down and played piano together. I think John's parents knew and we knew then we would be together for a very, very long time. When we got married, his parents gave it to us. When we opened the brewery, we wanted it to get played as much as possible. We think it's a beautiful instrument that should be played all the time! (Just no Chopsticks and/or Heart and Soul!)

REVEL: What are some of the things that matter most to you in life?

ERIN: Our marriage, family and friends, and staying genuine to who we are.

REVEL: What do you want people to know about 4th Tap?

ERIN: At our core, 4th Tap is an awesome and crazy group of people who love craft beer and each other. We have all been friends for a very long time and feel very fortunate that we get to build and grow this business together.

Make plans to join Revel at 4th Tap for Come Down Heavy on June 21 as part of the 2016 REVEL SOLSTICE FESTIVAL: KEEP THE LIGHT with special guests Dianne Donovan and Mitch Watkins. Tickets and wristbands are only available by donation through May 21. Visit our Donation page to learn more.