What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
I am currently the co-owner/brewer at Piney River Brewing Company [in Bucyrus, Mo.] My wife, Joleen, and I have always enjoyed craft beer, and a few years ago we started homebrewing in the kitchen of our 100-year-old farm house, fermenting in the cellar, just like the old timers did it. In July 2010, we partnered together to revive a 70-year-old barn made from red and white oak harvested off our farm, and Piney River Brewing Company was born. Our craft beer celebrates the Ozarks—the heritage and the nature that abounds around us.
What’s new at Piney River?
Everything is new at our brewery, and we’re planning to add even more new things as we expand our operation, increasing the capacity of our brewhouse and adding packaging capabilities. The only part of our brewery that is not new is our barn—christened BARn. The old rafters and post and beam structure are still visible, and we are brewing where cows were milked while they ate out of the hay manger. We have recycled the old barn wood and rusted tin roof, using it for décor on the interior of the BARn.
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
We are having the time of our lives with Piney River Brewing Company! Personally, I’ve found it very satisfying to put so much effort into a small business endeavor that has been met with so much enthusiasm from everyone around us. Craft beer makes people happy.
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
When I’m not brewing beer, I enjoy spending time with Joleen and our 5-year-old son, Andy. We raise a few beef cattle, spend time fishing on lakes and rivers, and rooting for the St. Louis Cardinals.
What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?
I really enjoy a good homemade pizza—crusty dough, wild boar sausage, and blue cheese—with one of my own McKinney Eddy Amber Ales.
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
Being a husband and a father is my biggest accomplishment and the very best thing I get to do.
What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?
Rainy Lake in Minnesota is one of my favorite places to fish with my family. I have many great fishing memories, and after a day of fishing I really enjoy a Summit Pale Ale.
What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
While on a trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame, Joleen and I stumbled upon the big, old barn that’s the brewhouse for Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, N.Y. It was an inspiration to us in turning our barn into the BARn. The beer is excellent, too.