If you look closely, you’ll find Birmingham is home to a multitude of creative makers. These are the people living out their passions and working tirelessly to give the Magic City even more magic. For this month’s conversation, we brought together two of these inventive minds, Brian Arnold, owner of Phone Home Press, and Taylor DeBoer, owner of Ghost Train Brewing Company.
Brian Arnold enjoys capturing life’s everyday moments. He founded an independent publishing company called Phone Home Press that publishes zines, handmade photo books that come in a variety of genres and sizes. He tries to attend as many events as he can to showcase the zines, including the flea market at music venue Saturn and larger zines fests where artists sell their creations. He also recently worked on a project called BHM JPEG, which featured photos from local photographers shot on iPhones.
Phone Home’s mission is to make “affordable art for normal people,” says Arnold. Three years ago, he was living in Michigan and noticed a trend of DIY handmade zines. It peaked his interest, and he began making them himself and giving them to friends. Today, he has truly found his niche in the world of self-publishing.
“Most of our book are $10 and under,” says Arnold. “I want to get them into as many hands as possible.”
The DIY aspect of the publishing business helps Arnold cut costs while also making his creations more rewarding.
“There’s the satisfaction of knowing that I made them. I was at home folding and stapling these,” Arnold says. “It’s all about learning to do as much as you can yourself.”
Ghost Train Brewing Company, a new brewery and tasting room, will be opening this summer on Third Avenue South. The brewery already has several beers on the market with more to come. With each Birmingham brewery boasting its own unique charter, DeBoer hopes Ghost Train will become a community meeting point.
“Ours is going to be the smallest brewery in Birmingham. We are really proud of that,” says DeBoer. “We’re going to have bike racks. We’ll have free Wi-Fi. We really want to people to come sit and hangout and enjoy their neighborhood bar.”
It all started in 1998 when DeBoer was attending Auburn University. He and his wife were at a flea market when he came across an old beer making kit for $3. DeBoer decided to give it a try.
While that beer actually turned out terrible, he eventually made a nut brown ale with a different kit that turned out just right. That’s when he started thinking about how Alabama needed a better beer selection and his idea grew and grew, ultimately landing him where he is today.
“To be able to sell our product at the peak of freshness is great,” DeBoer says. “When I’m making beer, it feels like art.”
Tags: July 2016