What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
I am the founder and chairman of Fireman’s Brew, a Los Angeles-based craft beer company, and a full-time Los Angeles-based firefighter/paramedic. Like a lot of other craft brewers, my start in the industry began as a passionate homebrewer with a thirst for building my own business. The spark of inspiration actually came to my partner and me while we were working on a brushfire in the local mountains. We were super-thirsty and dreaming of an ice-cold beer, when I turned to my partner, Ed, and said “Why don’t we make our own?” From that point on, we set out to create handcrafted beer made by real firefighters, while giving back to the firefighter community through charitable donations to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.
What’s new at Fireman’s Brew?
We’ve been growing rapidly and have expanded our distribution footprint over the past year to 14 states. We recently opened up distribution in Ohio and Kansas, while also strengthening our distribution throughout California. We also recently released a new private stock offering, giving qualified investors (like firefighters) throughout California the opportunity to own a piece of their very own craft beer company.
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
The camaraderie of a growing, enthusiastic driven industry and the creative, competitive spirit of breweries. Nearly everyone that you meet in the industry is open to lending a hand, guidance, or support, while at the same time we’re pushing each other and the craft beer category forward.
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
Being a full-time firefighter/paramedic and running a business leaves precious little time for anything else. Outside of work, my family is really my top priority and spending time with my two young kids is my favorite way to reconnect.
What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?
Fireman’s Brew Brunette paired with Korean short ribs. One of the firefighters at our station is an amazing chef and has created a number of unique recipes featuring each of our beers.
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
In my firefighter role, I’m also assigned to an urban search and rescue unit that’s been deployed to help victims of natural disasters in Haiti, New Zealand, and Japan. They’ve all been really unforgettable experiences that I’m immensely proud of.
What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?
I love West Coast IPAs and topping my list of favorites right now is Figueroa Mountain’s Lizard’s Mouth Imperial IPA.
What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
My wife is a native Hawaiian, so every chance we get we head over to the islands, visit with her family, and sample the local beers. But it seems wherever I go, I’m always searching for great locally brewed beers.