Meet a Member: Paul R. Kan

In “Meet a Member,” we highlight the people who make up the North American Guild of Beer Writers. It’s a chance to learn more about the wide collection of journalists, podcasters, bloggers, and vloggers who cover the industry. See an archive of these Q&A profiles.

Where can people find you on social media?
@notoriouspauliek on Instagram

Where can people find your work?
My book is in print and available online. If you’re in Hawaii, you can find it in bookstores and even CVS Drugs in Honolulu. I also have a small blog on my brewery’s website where my buddy Jacob and I celebrate the beer of Central Pennsylvania.

What topics do you regularly cover?
I’m very new to beer writing. My scholarly works cover everything from drug cartels to North Korea. But I’m very interested in covering the social history of beer, how it has influenced societies, politics and economics and how these have, in turn, influenced beer. As I retire from academia, I want to turn my attention to more beer pursuits.

What topics would you like to cover more in the future?
I want to dive deeper into the relationships between beer and other artisan food and drink segments, as well as writing more in-depth, personal stories about the way food and drink can get in touch with deeper aspects of who we are as people—our cultures, memories, mental health, etc.

People should consider me an expert on __ … and why:
Other than my work on Hawaii’s beer history, I’m also a partner in a local craft brewery. I call myself the brewery’s “senior beer historian.”

What’s a favorite thing you’ve created in the last year?
Other than my book that came out last year … the favorite thing I’ve created is a campaign at my brewery called “Pint with a Purpose.” Every month we donate 5% from the sales of one of our beers to a local charity. We’ve helped a local food pantry, a homeless shelter and a program that helps young women who have aged out of the foster care system. It’s been wonderful to do good work through beer.

What’s the last great thing you read or heard? (beer or not)
Hands down it was Louise Erdrich’s book “The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse.” The story is awesome, but her prose is poetic in the way she creates the sense of place and meaning. I wish I could write like she does.

What’s a fun fact, hidden talent, or something you enjoy that has nothing to do with beer?
I’m a shodan (black belt equivalent) in kendo, or Japanese fencing. It’s been a while since I’ve sparred. I was getting hit in the head too often…which many people have said explains a lot about me.

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