Emperial Brewing is an open, distributed brewery started in Denver, CO which aims to reach beyond geographic boundaries to incorporate like-minded individuals worldwide. “Open” in this case means that all information relating to the brewery is provided free of charge under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License, and individuals are encouraged to actively take part in the collaborative formulation of recipes and the design of packaging materials. “Distributed” then refers to the fact that Emperial Brewing does not have any one tap room, or brew house—each individual involved in the brewery can be said to operate as an independent branch of Emperial Brewing, with their own “tap rooms” and “brew houses” (non-commercial, of course).

This commitment to openness was inspired by the open software movement and spurs from the realization that the openness of the homebrewing community is its lifeblood, and that information is meant to be shared—like a pitcher of good beer with close friends. Commercial breweries, on the other hand, are often wary of sharing this information, and in so doing they create fans, but not communities.

While there are plans to expand Emperial Brewing into the “real world” (if anyone wants to give us money to do so!), its primary focus is on building a community in which individuals can collaborate together to make great beer and where each brewer can produce the resulting beers non-commercially under the Emperial Brewing label with pride, and with the knowledge that they are part of a community of brewers.

Like many open projects, Emperial Brewing began with the work produced by one person in pursuit of something they love, and our hope is that together, we can make it even better.