All menu items and beers produced in the brewery will be designed by culinary expert/brewer, Damien Schaefer. Damien has over eight years of experience in the food business as the creator of the James Beard nominated The Four Coursemen dining experience, in which he hosted bi-monthly five-course dinners designed to show off the products of Georgia farmers and artisanal food producers for diners from around the globe. Local food, quality ingredients, and inspiring people to cook better are Damien’s passions. These same passions comprise Normaltown’s mission.
Everything he knows about cooking and brewing has been learned through hands-on experience, endless study, and guidance from experts. He brewed his first beer in the early days of The Four Coursemen in 2007. Since then, he created two other dining experiences: Shotgun Dinners and Public Domain Dinners, which were based on the same ideals as The Four Coursemen, only, with different cooks in the kitchen. He has been an avid home-brewer since that first batch back in 2007, learning by brewing batch after batch, and under the tutelage of talented friends like Eric Johnson, brewmaster of Georgia’s Wild Heaven Craft Beers.
Furthermore, Damien has 19 years of experience in design, branding, and marketing. He owns a successful creative firm, Scenic Figure, that has worked on branding, marketing, and building online strategies for clients ranging from large corporations like Delta Airlines, Nokia, and MTV, to international music phenomenons such as R.E.M., Widespread Panic, and Green Day, to widely recognized and respected chefs like Hugh Acheson and Kevin Gillespie. For those who are curious, Damien will, of course, be leaving his company Scenic Figure in order to put 100% of his attention into Normaltown. His 19 years of experience in the Design business was not as rewarding as his 8 short years of cooking for others, meeting wonderful diners, and learning. A career change is in order.
Damien’s responsibilities will include:
• Creative vision behind the branding, look, and feel of the restaurant’s packaging, and any customer facing collateral
• Assembling the initial team necessary to start the enterprise and ensure long-term success
• Oversight of all aspects of business operations to ensure adherence to Normaltown’s mission
• Recipe and menu development for all food offerings
• Recipe development of all beer offerings
• Forging relationships with farmers, producers, and members of the community
Brewmaster Damien Schaefer brings a very unique set of skills to the table that will ensure Normaltown’s success and make it stand out from the crowd. Schaefer’s brewing is focused on a unique culinary approach that separates him from most brewers. He has eight years of high-end, experimental dining and food recipe development experience and is applying this knowledge not only to the development of the recipes for the food in the restaurant, but also to the development of each of his unique beers. Most competing production breweries and brewpubs offer a limited selection of the same beer styles. These often include a Pale Ale, IPA, Stout, Porter, Wheat, and Lager. Of those breweries, a lot are starting to include unique ingredients, barrel aging, or less common beer styles on their menus. However, few to none of the additional ingredient decisions are being made with a chef’s mind and motivations. A tiny handful of the approximately 3,464 breweries in America offer a large rotation of culinarily inspired beers like Normaltown will.
Damien’s culinary skills will ensure his beers are balanced and uniquely delicious rather than simply unique for the sake of being different. Each beer will represent a perfect example of a classic beer style and, when appropriate, additional seasonal culinary ingredients will be introduced into the recipe to yield beers that rival the best beers and wines in the world from a flavor and food pairing standpoint. This variety of delicious seasonal beers, along with thoughtful ingredient inclusions, will generate customer demand and give the Normaltown customer a reason to choose our beers over our competitors’.
Damien’s aforementioned culinary skills, plus his 19 years of experience designing compelling identities, websites, and brands for companies in the U.S. and Europe will give Normaltown an edge over competitors. He understands branding and has the ability to create a compelling identity, brand, packaging, and additional collateral for the restaurant and brewery that will make Normaltown unique amongst our competition. Often, the decision to purchase one beer over another in this market comes down to which product has better packaging. Damien’s intimate involvement in the brewing of each beer and years of design expertise will ensure Normaltown’s branding stands out.
Finally, Damien has an energetic, magnetic personality and has the skills to grow an idea from a simple concept into a national phenomenon that connects with people and makes them passionate about the idea. He used his outgoing personality, culinary expertise, command of web technologies and social media, team-building skills, love of connecting with other people over food, and passion for local and sustainable ingredients to create his dining experience, The Four Coursemen. (See Video Below) He grew the concept from simple, weekly secret dinners for friends in his home in Athens, GA to a James Beard Award nominated television special on the Cooking Channel. This show took his group to Ossabaw Island, GA and Carbondale, CO to host his unique cooking experiences for groups of people he had never met, and to show off each town’s best producers of quality local ingredients. These efforts eventually led to diners from all over the U.S., and some from Europe, battling to get seats at The Four Coursemen‘s table before the dinners sold out, which frequently occurred in under ten-seconds. It was his connection with the diners and community and the unique design of the dining experience that made this possible. Damien plans to employ this same passion and methodology to Normaltown in order to connect with our customers and build a passionate customer following with a reason to choose Normaltown over our competitors.
In the interest of full disclosure, Damien has been undergoing treatment for melanoma at Emory in Atlanta and is responding very well to treatment. He is seeing the same doctor, and is on the same treatment that Former President Jimmy Carter, had for his treatment. By the way, Jimmy Carter is now melanoma free and Damien is right behind him following in his footsteps!
A BIT MORE ABOUT THE FOUR COURSEMEN
This is the “sizzle reel” that was shot by our producers and pitched to Cooking Channel. It really sums up what The Four Coursemen are all about and got us our first Episode. Thanks to Two River Pictures for the footage. Oh, but my name is spelled “DAMIEN”.