Of Craft Brewers and Romance Novels

Paradise Hops by Liz CroweProbably almost every attendee at the April 14-17 Craft Brewers Conference spent some time last week following up on contacts and new information. I’m pretty sure that emailing writers of romance novels wasn’t on most follow-up lists.

A little backstory: one morning, on the way to a seminar, I recognized Kristi Switzer. She was busy texting, which gave me time to unabashedly stare at her name tag and confirm I was indeed standing before An Important Person.

She looked up and I stammered something like, “You’re the publisher of Brewers Publications. Can we talk?”

To my surprise, the head of the big dog publishing house for technical books on beer and brewing said, “Sure let’s go sit down.”

During our conversation, I explained that I’d been looking for novels with brewer protagonists for a couple of years without success. Kristi grabbed her phone and started tapping. “There’s a woman, Liz, who writes romance novels about craft brewers…”

I’m not generally a fan of the romance genre, but when I searched for “Liz Crowe” on Amazon last week, 25 books popped up. The craft brewers were there, and the mostly self-published books were getting good reviews—208 for her most popular novel, bona fide success for self-published authors.

I checked out lizcrowe.com and liked the woman with the sassy attitude and funny writing who seemed to know a lot about 1) craft beer brewing and 2) how to market her books. I also learned she’s a part owner and founder of Wolverine State Brewing Co. where she worked full time as the marketing partner for 5 years. Today she is a marketing consultant for start-up breweries. What the heck? Before going to bed, I emailed to say I’d just downloaded one of her novels and signed up for her mailing list. The next morning, I woke up to a very long reply.

Liz and I have been trading emails, and I’ve read and reviewed Paradise Hops (5 stars) on Amazon. In one of those messages, she wrote, “Even though I piss off more hardcore romance readers than I care to admit with my very much non-traditional-formula plots and characters—I have managed to carve a bizarre little niche for myself actually somewhere between “chick lit,” “romance,” “New Adult” in some cases . . . ‘mainstream fiction.’”

Carving your niche is what it’s all about for writers today. I have huge respect for innovative brewers/writers like Charlie Papazian, John Palmer, Ken Grossman and Sam Calagione. In her own way, Liz Crowe has set a standard for future “brew fiction” writers.


  1. Thanks so much for the mention and the read/review of Paradise Hops!
    Looking forward to your book!

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