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Craft beer industry mourns Barnaby Struve, ex-VP of 3 Floyds and 'champion of the outsider'
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Craft beer industry mourns Barnaby Struve, ex-VP of 3 Floyds and 'champion of the outsider'

The craft brewing community is mourning the death of Barnaby Struve, the former vice president for 3 Floyds Brewing and a "champion of the outsider."

Struve often had served as spokesman for and helped manage the day-to-day operations of the Munster-based craft brewery before departing in 2015. He went on to work on other projects, including helping to finance Wayfinder Beer in Portland, becoming head brewer at Stigbergets Brewery in Sweden and starting a record label called Puppy Mill Recordings.

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"Two weeks ago we lost our brother Barnaby Struve," 3 Floyds said in an Instagram post. "It is difficult to quantify what he meant to us, as his influence forever changed the course of the company. He was a social colossus. His ability to engage with people, to make them care about what we were doing, to make them want to join us was magnetic. He was a force to be reckoned with, creating alliances with the music and art world. He was a champion of the outsider and was proud to be exactly who he was and encouraged us to do the same."

Colleague Chad Wulff remembered Struve as a kindhearted and creative soul who quoted Murder City Devils lyrics and Orson Welles and brought "mayhem and hilarity" wherever he went.

"Barnaby clearly made an impact on those that he met and engaged with. I consider myself very fortunate to have crossed paths with him," he posted in an online tribute. "While most of us live one life, he lived a thousand."

Gabe Mauch, co-owner of Grindhouse Cafe in Griffith and Whiting, said he was sideswiped by Struve's death.

"Barnaby took a chance on me as a line cook almost 16 years ago," he said. "I worked my way up to chef there, and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I don't think there would be a Grindhouse if it weren't for the opportunity that Barnaby gave me. He used to come into the kitchen and talk about punk rock with me. Whenever we would share a drink, we'd toast 'to evil, and its triumph over good,' which I still say to this day every time I drink a shot of espresso or whiskey with co-workers."

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Struve cared about his employees, doing drawings for them and standing up for them, Mauch said.

"There was one time when I was working in the kitchen where a customer was disrespecting a female server, and Barnaby heard about it and he immediately dumped their beers out the side door and kicked them out. It was the first time that I had ever seen a boss stand up for their staff. It really stuck with me," Mauch said. "I saw that 3 Floyds referred to him as 'a champion of the outsider.' I was an outsider/misfit that he gave chance to, and I'll forever be grateful for that."

A celebration of life took place this past weekend at a craft brewery in Houston and an art, beer and music festival is being planned in Struve's honor in Portland this summer.

People have been sharing memories online at barnabystruve.com.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.

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