There are similarities between selling beer and selling books.
“It might not be as different as I thought,” says David Strymish, who for years ran the New England Mobile Book Fair in Newton. “In the end it’s customer service. The book business prepared me for that a little bit.”
Along with his mother and brother, Strymish ran the book store from the time he got out of high school until he sold it five years ago. At the time he wanted to start a brewery — a neighbor had turned him on to home brewing — but finding a suitable location proved a challenge. He purchased brewing equipment from Florida, then moved it three times during the search. When he and business partner Owen Hawkins settled on a space in Medfield, they named the brewery 7th Wave as a tribute to staying patient.
On a Saturday earlier this month, with fresh beer ready to flow from new taps inside, the founders put up a sandwich board outside their now operational brewery at 120 North Meadows Road with the words “Brewery Open! Free Samples.”
“Oh my God,” says Strymish, marveling at the turnout. “Lots of people showed up, and they just kept coming.”
Strymish says his brewing philosophy is to do as little to the beer as possible. “I’m kind of a Luddite,” he says. “I’m a believer in Old World techniques. I’m the guy who makes sourdough bread over the course of three days.”
7th Wave is starting with three beers. Billy Hill (3.5 percent alcohol by volume), named after a local rock trio, is a session English bitter made with East Kent Goldings. Clamshell (6 percent ABV) is a classic ESB that’s not too anything. Route 27 (6.5 percent ABV) is pale ale hopped with Centennial.
“I have a hundred ideas, a thousand ideas,” says Strymish, who notes that an IPA and a rye saison are coming soon. Because he’s stuck in his ways, it takes almost three weeks to get each beer out the door.
There are, of course, differences between selling beer and selling books.
“The biggest difference is you can’t walk away for five minutes. You’ve gotta start early. You can’t go, ‘I’ll finish it tomorrow,’ ” says Strymish, adding, “The customers are way nicer to you. You give someone a beer and they’re very happy.”
7th Wave is open Wednesday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.Gary Dzen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org