Audra Gaiziunas

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What’s your current role at the AHA, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
I am an owner in DSSOLVR in Asheville NC and serve as our CFO. I also serve as an independent fractional CEO/CFO for our industry and have worked with well over 300+ breweries over the past decade. My humble beginnings within craft beer stem back to 2009, when I was hired as the Controller at Dogfish Head. Within the first five months of my working there I was inspired to start homebrewing (all-grain from batch #1), and my life has been centered around independent beer ever since. I eat, drink, sleep, and dream beer every day.

What’s new at your brewery?
DSSOLVR recently opened a new taproom in Durham NC, and we are expanding our current space in Asheville to accommodate a greater number of private events and curated experiences.

What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
The community and camaraderie are unlike any other industry where I’ve worked. As a gregarious, extroverted accountant who has multiple creative pursuits, I know I can be myself without judgment. This industry is my home. It has always felt like home.

Name a favorite food and beer pairing.
I love a spicy Thai-style chicken basil dish paired with a West Coast IPA. I also love pouring a New Glarus Raspberry Tart over a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream in a glass for dessert.

What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
While earning my MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill I traveled the world as a stage performer, model and makeup artist while holding down a full-time job as the Controller of an architectural design firm. More currently, I’ve had a beer in all 50 states and have run at least a 10K in 29 of them.

What’s your favorite beer from another brewery?
I can not turn down a New Glarus Spotted Cow (preferably paired with Wisconsin cheddar cheese curds).

What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
I am a Star Wars cosplayer, a member of the Rebel Legion and Mandalorian Mercs. In other words, I attend pop culture/comic conventions dressed as a character from the Star Wars Universe in order to raise money for non-profits and bring smiles to faces. I also love to travel to hidden-gem locations to have a beer with my partner in our converted skoolie.

What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer and why?
My partner and I lived out of a campervan for almost two weeks when we visited Iceland, and we were given a map of all the independent craft breweries within the country. I’m fairly certain we stopped at roughly 75% of them, and most every beer we had was exceptional. There’s nothing like sitting in a natural geothermal pool, local beer in hand, in the middle of the rural countryside while snow flurries fill the sky.

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