Kurtis Cummings

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What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
I’m president of Switchyard Brewing Company in Bloomington, Ind. I got started in the craft brewing industry like many others, from a love of homebrewing. I worked as a medic with our local ambulance service and on my days off, I would tinker in the garage, brewing on a 10-gallon homebrew setup.

What’s new at Switchyard?
We are just over a year old! Located in the Big 10 college town of Bloomington, Ind., we just got through our first summer without 50,000 students buzzing around. We are beginning to self-distribute outside of our comfort zone and into the Indianapolis metro area. We also recently brought six new staff on board. I love stepping in and teaching part of our new-hire beer camp and can’t wait to see what they will all accomplish in the coming years.

What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
We couldn’t do this without our local community support. I love the camaraderie we have as small, independent craft brewers. I love visiting other taprooms and experiencing what drives others to do what they do. Seeing their hard work and passion literally translated into a living, breathing physical space is something I still get awestruck by, even after visiting so many breweries in the last 10 years.

Name a favorite food and beer pairing.
I really enjoy beer + BBQ. There’s nothing quite like a quality, lightly hopped pale ale and a slab of St. Louis-style ribs!

What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
My daughter. My wife and I had been in the adoption process for over eight months, patiently waiting to be matched with birth parents. While building out the brewery, in the thick of demolition, we got the call we had been waiting for. Bringing her home and seeing how she has grown up, literally right alongside the brewery, has been my greatest accomplishment.

What’s your favorite beer from another brewery?
Schlafly’s No. 15, an American dark wheat, will always have a special place in my heart because it’s what got me into craft brewing.

What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
Spend as much time with my daughter and wife as possible. My daughter is a fish, so we try to get over to the Y and go swimming or play in the splash pad as much as possible.

What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
St. Louis. Several years ago, a good friend moved from Bloomington to St. Louis after graduation. I helped him move, and we went on a mini brewery crawl. I was amazed at the flavors and local focus in a town known for A-B. We went back home, pulled out his stovetop homebrew setup, and I brewed my first extract batch. I still love the brewing scene in St. Louis and I always trace my love for craft beer back to that weekend.

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