What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
I’m the president and owner of Octopi Brewing [in Waunakee, Wis.]. I have been involved in the beer industry for almost 12 years. I started consulting for large breweries, then opened my first brewery in Chicago in 2011. The brewery in Chicago was contract brewing at other facilities and the product was not good. I decided to leave and open Octopi Brewing, a state-of-the art contract brewing facility located outside of Madison, Wis. [Octopi Brewing also brews its own brand of beers called 3rd Sign.]
What’s new at Octopi Brewing?
Everything! We are brand new, and all the equipment is new and shiny. We have a 50-bbl, three-vessel system from Esau & Hueber in Germany, a GEA/Westfalia centrifuge, and a KHS bottling line. The last project we finished was installing an RO system to treat our water. We can recreate any water profile for our clients.
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
The best part, and what is really different from any other industry, is the camaraderie. If we run into a challenging situation, we can pick up the phone or email almost anyone in the industry and get their input. The larger the brewery, the more helpful they are.
Name a favorite food and beer pairing.
Fish tacos with avocado crema and our Pollux Soursop Witbier.
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
Living abroad in Seoul, Korea for a year. My team was in charge of buying the aircraft fleet for a commercial airline for the next 25 years. The order was in the billions.
What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?
I am really into tart IPAs lately. I tried Penrose’s Session Sour and loved it.
What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
Amsterdam. I found a little shop with the most amazing selection of beer I’ve ever seen. I chatted with the owner and he came back with a couple of Westys to enjoy.
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
I really like spending time outside. Wisconsin has so many beautiful places to explore.