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The (Other) Stephen Foster Story: Kentucky’s Craft Beer Con Man

The (Other) Stephen Foster Story: Kentucky’s Craft Beer Con Man

Photo: South Bend Tribune

By Michael Moeller

This is the story of a craft beer con man who traveled across the United States and abroad – a man who knew how to exploit the shared weakness of most small businesses – talk a big enough game and a background check won’t be required. Talk an even bigger game and even fool business partners and investors.

In the beginning there were exploding bottles, infected batches, and angry customers from across the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The longer the brewery stayed open, the more rumors and complaints piled up within the beer community.

Despite the many issues, St. Arnulf Alery, a new brewery in Cadiz, Kentucky, announced on social media that a beer garden was under construction in late September 2018.

And then nothing.

Without explanation or warning, the beer stopped flowing. Distribution stopped. Contact ceased.

It wasn’t until a few days before Christmas 2018 that St. Arnulf Alery’s owner, Molly Oliver, confirmed in a Tweet that the business was no longer in operation.

I spoke with Molly and her husband, Brandon Oliver, about what happened.

In early 2017, Foster approached the Olivers, the owners of Black Hawk Farms, with a business proposal. He was a brewer and he needed a brewery. Foster mentioned that he moved back to his childhood home of Kentucky after brewing in Florida. He wanted his two kids and wife to experience Kentucky how he had.

Foster had a plan. He asked for $25,000 in start-up funds to start brewing beer in the Oliver Farm grain bin. He would split beer sales 50/50 with the owners.

In August 2017, St. Arnulf Alery, LLC was incorporated. Soon after, the farm refit the grain bin, brewing equipment was purchased and installed. Beer was being made and distributed and consumers were purchasing. And complaining.

I asked Brandon Oliver his opinion on Foster.

“Intelligent. Smooth. And he would talk down to others. But what he was doing was ass-stupid…” Oliver’s opinion of Foster was that he wasn’t really inept at handling equipment of any kind.

Various accounts in the region indicated that Foster began asking for more investors. He reportedly wanted to expand the business into Florida and additional states. He and Arnulf’s beer rep would take samples to Tampa and St. Augustine, meeting with distributors and craft beer bloggers. During this time, the beer rep admits that Foster didn’t always pay her the amount promised, and sometimes would pay her with funds, as Foster told her, via his “old bearer bonds” instead of through the company’s normal payroll system.

In September of 2018, Foster began working on a taproom and it took the form of an outdoor beer garden on the Oliver property. One day, weeks later, Foster asked his assistant to meet him at 9 a.m. the next morning to brew.

Foster never came back.


Dwight from The Office filmed a movie in Oldham County

Dwight from The Office filmed a movie in Oldham County

If you thought you spotted Dwight Schrute from The Office in Oldham County recently, well, you may have been right.

Rainn Wilson, the actor who portrayed Dwight, is one of the stars of “Don’t Tell A Soul,” a new film that  filmed in various locations in Oldham County. In an interview with Wave 3, Wilson said he enjoyed his time in the Bluegrass.

“People in LA are jerks but people in Kentucky are very nice. So I’m thinking about relocating. Do you guys have beaches here anywhere?”

Wilson’s favorite thing about Kentucky, other than the people? The Abbey of Gethsemani near Bardstown.

“I don’t do bourbon, horse racing, drinking, partying, anything like that. Everyone else went out to shoot guns. And I went to the monastery.”

Wilson may not do bourbon, but has he tried the Abbey’s bourbon fudge? To die for.


How did this bullet hole get in the 25th floor window of the Big Blue Building?

How did this bullet hole get in the 25th floor window of the Big Blue Building?

There’s a story captivating the Commonwealth and it has nothing to do with sports. A bullet hole was found in a 25th floor window of the Fifth Third Bank Building, aka the Big Blue Building, in downtown Lexington and no one knows how it got there.

The hole, approximately the size of a baseball, was found on Tuesday morning when employees arrived at work. It was not there when they left on Monday. Photos from LEX18:

Jared Lorenzen’s friend works in the office and shared this picture:

Where was the gun fired from? The Big Blue Building, at 30 stories, is by far the tallest building downtown and the bullet appears to have been fired from the outside, not the inside. The guys discussed the mystery on today’s show, so if you missed it, listen to the podcast to catch up on their theories and share your own in the comments.

NOTE: If you didn’t read the LEX18 story, police found fragments of a bullet among the shattered glass.


Kentucky man arrested for throwing ham during fight over when to host Christmas

Kentucky man arrested for throwing ham during fight over when to host Christmas

Juggling multiple Christmases is never fun, but the drama boiled over last night in London, Kentucky, where a man was arrested for throwing a ham at a woman during an argument over which day to host Christmas.

Laurel County police responded to a call about a domestic dispute and caught David Brannon, 21, trying to run away from his house. He was arrested on charges of fourth-degree assault and fleeing or evading police on foot and taken to the Laurel County Detention Center. The fight was reportedly over what day his family wanted to host Christmas.

Who throws a ham? Honestly.



Triple Crown winners Justify and American Pharoah meet for the first time


Two Kentucky legends have finally made their way back to the state.

Justify and American Pharoah, the first Triple Crown winners since 1977 and 1978, arrived back at Coolmore America here in Versailles, KY to meet for the very first time.

The meeting happened this past weekend:

Justify took home the Triple Crown in 2018 while American Pharoah won the most prestigious feat in horse racing back in 2015.

Here was a brief clip of American Pharoah’s grand entrance back home, where he will finally see his first runners coming up in 2019:

And Justify:

While we’re at it, here is American Pharoah’s Triple Crown victory in all its glory back in 2015:

And Justify’s wins in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes to take home the crown earlier this year:

Still never gets old.