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Undercover Billionaire exclusive: Glenn creates visionary Erie craft brewery dream team

Glenn's million dollar business plan is for a craft brewery in Erie. Pic credit: Discovery
Glenn’s million-dollar business plan is for a craft brewery in Erie. Pic credit: Discovery

On Tuesday’s episode of Undercover Billionaire, Glenn forges a meeting of the minds and creates a dream team of Erie, PA people who have bought into his vision of creating a brewery that has the potential to go statewide, then perhaps become a franchise chain across the USA.

Last week, we were introduced to Glenn, who made a connection and was hired by Iron Empire Clothing owner R.J. Messenger, who even did a TedX Talk.

Messenger, who has a criminal record he has overcome, took a chance on Stearns, who presented himself using a different name and under the guise of shooting a documentary, not a TV series. Stearns had to show R.J. he had the gumption to do menial labor in his shop. To his credit, Glenn did the work.

And why Erie? The producers told Monsters and Critics at the recent Television Critics’ Association that they picked a random place where Glenn had no contacts or business holds. They swore that Stearns had no idea he was heading there.

Now, this self-made billionaire has cobbled together a team of like-minded entrepreneurs who have bought into his idea of turning a brewery in Erie, Pennsylvania into a nationally spun-out craft brewhouse destination.

These are big dreams for a town that has seen better economic days and is filled with people who are struggling with obstacles that have put them in neutral vocationally. Good people with ideas and ambitions but not the wherewithal to put them into action.  This is where Stearns resonates with the locals who are wondering who this guy is anyway, as his words fill the void of forward momentum energy that galvanizes the participants in this social experiment on Discovery.

Stearns is a consummate salesman and pitch man. Pic credit: Discovery
Stearns is a consummate salesman and pitchman. Pic credit: Discovery

Sitting at a table in the brewery, Glenn is joined by Matt Sanders, veteran Chris Trott, Second Chance restoration owner Chris Norris, carpenter Armando Reyes and R.J. Messenger.

Leading the meeting, Stearns toasts: “To the future… yeah the older, you get you get more conservative because you think, I don’t want to start over again… well I thought I’m gonna start over again. I mean why not? I don’t know what’s gonna happen, but I don’t want the nine-to-five job right now. ou have a dream and a vision and you go for it.”

He adds: “I want to do a brewhouse but also brand it and get it bigger so it can go statewide and then see if it can go bigger than that and I tell you I really couldn’t think of a better place than Erie.”

In a separate b-roll interview, Glenn says: “Even in the short amount of time that I’ve been here, I love Erie. I think the most important thing that we can do is make this brewery about the local underdogs the hard-working people of Erie.”

As Stearns leaves the table, R.J. holds court with the team and says: “One concern I have is, okay, so this guy not from Erie and you want to come [here] to the area and start a brewery…who knows nothing about brewery… ”

The guys concede that to Stearns credit, he is not using any outsiders and has kept the vision and the plan strictly local.

Matt Sanders says: “Most of the time, when somebody says you know I should start this business, blah blah blah… and it never goes any farther and here Glenn is at [age] 55 and he’s like ‘no we’re gonna do this,’  I got to have respect for that and I would love to be a part of that because that’s awesome.”

Raising a toast, Stearns says: “Thank you all, appreciate everything. It’s great hearing from the team and I love their enthusiasm and they sound invested and I think they see the vision and that’s important this is going to belong to them.”

Also on this turnabout episode, Stearns becomes violently ill and must head to the hospital, spending nearly the last bit of money he has to pay the bill.

Undercover Billionaire airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on Discovery and Discovery Go.

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April is an accredited entertainment writer, interviewer and television critic. She is a current member of the Television Critics Association (TCA), Gay and Lesbian Entertainment... read more
April Neale
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