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Featured Beer Traveler: Lance Rice

A gifted beer historian with autism inspires the world.
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About a month ago I ran across the story of Lance Rice, a “gifted beer historian with a photographic memory”. Lance is also autistic and has focused his unique attention on beer and the history of American beer. He has always dreamed of writing a book to share his extensive knowledge with the beer world and nephew, Aaron Rice, has taken it upon himself to help Lance realize this dream through the gift of beer travel.

Lance (right) and his nephew Aaron at Great lakes Brewery.

Aaron has decided the best way to get the pictures and information Lance needs is to visit the actual breweries in person. As you may know we are huge advocates of beer travel and the benefits that come with it. While Lance and Aaron research they will document the trip through video as well as pictures. Here is the trailer for the documentary Lance’s Brewery Tour:

I was intrigued by their mission and had to learn more. So I contacted Aaron and Lance to find out more about their trip and how beer travel just might help change the public’s view of autism and the craft beer world in general.

TRP: Tell us about yourself in 140 characters or less. OR in a haiku
Lance:  My name is Lance and I’m a beer history expert from Cleveland Ohio.

TRP: If beer drinking was your “job” what title would you give yourself? If beer drinking is your job, tell us more!
Lance.  Beer Historian. Yes, that would be a great job, sure.

TRP: What is it about beer that draws your interest and fascination?
Lance:   On Monday, July 8 1974 at Kelley’s Island I picked up my first beer can – It was a Berger Beer can brewed with artisan spring water. Since I love science, beer is a science. I love the color and aromas of beer, sure. The labels are very, very beautiful. I like to drink it too.

A young Lance Rice

TRP: Tell us about your upcoming tour.
Lance:  Well, I’m going a nationwide tour for months with my nephew Aaron to the great breweries of America: Yuengling, Miller, Great Lakes, Rogue, Dogfish Head, Sam Adams… there are lots more. I’ll be getting all the information I need to write my book and making a movie about it.

TRP: Have you done much beer travel before?
Lance:  No, not much at all.  I go to Breweriana collector events sometimes and I went to the Schlitz Brewery in Milwaukee with my mom before it closed years and years ago.

TRP: Why is it important to you to visit the actual breweries?
Lance: I want to take pictures and meet people and experience the breweries in person so I can write a book. Getting to see the breweries I know so, so much about is a dream come true.

TRP: What are you most looking forward to about the trip?
Lance: Oh I don’t know – the entire trip. I never dreamed I could visit these places ever. And I’ve never been anywhere really without my mom or brother or dad, he passed away a long time ago.

TRP: How has autism affected your ability to travel?
Lance: Oh I don’t know. I never really that traveled much. I always thought I was shy and would be scared. This is the first time I’ll be doing anything like this, yeah. I’m nervous but excited too.

TRP: What are your goals for this brewery tour?
Lance:  I want to write my book and be an inspiration to families with kids with autism and people with autism. Maybe some people don’t know much about autism and they can see this and understand it more. I just want to help and inspire people.

TRP: How do you think the video documenting your journey will effect the beer community?
Lance: I think it will be very important. My nephew says there’s no one else like me and that I’m a super genius. This will be an encyclopedia of breweries and beer history and something I think people will like for a long long time. I do know a lot about beer, probably things most people don’t remember.

TRP: Is there one city or brewery that you really looking forward to visiting?
Lance:  No, no I’m not biased when it comes to beer. I’m looking forward to them all! I am excited for Great Lakes. I am from Ohio and Great Lakes is our 1st stop.

TRP:. What is the goal of Lance’s Room?
Lance: Lance’s Brewery Tour will give us the means to launch Lance’s Room,  a charity to help others with autism achieve their dreams and provide support to families touched by autism. We have already begun working with schools, colleges and organizations that offer job training to the disabled community to establish scholarships and funds in Lance’s name. (from lancesbrewerytour.com)

TRP: If you could have dinner and beers with anyone in the beer industry, who would it be and where would you go?
Lance: George Washington or Thomas Jefferson maybe. Many people don’t know that they were brewers that really got beer going for America.

TRP: Where can we find more about you online? Twitter/Facebook/Website etc. 

Website: www.lancesbrewerytour.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/lancesbrewerytour

Twitter: www.twitter.com/LanceKnowsBeer 

The craft beer world has responded with resounding support for Lance and his tour. Breweries such as Boulevard, Sam Adams, Brooklyn Brewery, New Holland and Rogue have invited him for an up close look at their facilities and to talk to the men behind the beer.

Aaron is currently raising money for the trip and the resources to document their travels. If you are interested in helping Lance achive his dream you can donate here: Kickstarter: Lance’s Brewery Tour

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