What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
I am co-owner and head brewer at the Weston Brewing Co. in Weston, Mo. Mike Coakley and I had been friends since we were kids living down the street from each other. As the years went on, we brewed together to stay in touch, and decided to open a small brewery. While searching for locations, we found some abandoned brewing equipment on the site of the original 1842 Weston Brewing Company location. The original brewery had been converted to an awesome Irish Pub and Restaurant. We decided to go all in and now run the whole location.
What’s new at Weston Brewing?
We just acquired a small inn next door to the brewery and are working on getting into the hotel business to promote tourism of the brewery. It is fun to have customers come to town for the day or weekend and get to really learn about the history of brewing and our current process. It also helps when they can walk to their room after a day of sampling.
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
We learned right away how helpful everyone in the industry can be. We had a lot of learning to do when we started making beer for distribution. Boulevard Brewing is only about 30 miles from us and they were always kind and helpful. I also had the pleasure of getting to know some of the folks at Sierra Nevada who made us feel like peers despite us being about 1/800 their size.
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
I like to go hunting and camping but spend most of my time away from the brewery looking for exciting brewing opportunities.
What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?
Nothing is better than beer and pizza. Everyone at the brewery laughs at me because I bought a pizza oven from a restaurant that went out of business and hooked it up in a hallway since we didn’t have room in the kitchen. That hallway gets hot, but there is no substitute for homemade pizza and a Hot Pepper Ale.
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
Managing to keep a great wife on a brewery owner’s schedule.
What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?
Boulevard Single Wide IPA is one of my favorites, but I am probably most well known for forcing people to drink cans of Old Style with me.
What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
We took a very long ferry ride to the island of San Juan, Wash. years ago and there was a little brewery there that was amazing. I have heard it closed, but even then it amazed me that someone could make wonderful beer in such a secluded location.