Nilanjan Datta

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What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?

I am president and CEO of Left Nut Brewing Company in Gainesville, Ga. I began this journey many years ago (1987), inspired by a visit to Anchor Brewing and then diving into the world of homebrewing. After 30 years in a demanding corporate career, I decided to take an early retirement package and pursue something I loved. Left Nut Brewing Company came into existence in 2016 after several years of planning, changing alcohol and zoning ordinances, and securing a beautiful 1927 textile mill as the brewery site.

What’s new at Left Nut Brewing?

Our brewery has become a center for many community events including fundraisers to benefit children with developmental challenges, as well as children who don’t get enough food due to various economic and other issues. To be able to establish such an avenue for the community has been a great privilege.

What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?

The community itself. It seems to have a set of core values and sense of camaraderie that have vanished in the mainstream corporate cultures where I spent most of my professional life. The pursuit of innovation and quality while engaging with the community in meaningful ways is truly amazing and inspiring.

Name a favorite food and beer pairing.

Belgian-style ales with smelly, runny cheeses.

What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?

Raising two sons and being happily and blissfully married for 30 years!

What’s your favorite beer from another brewery?

This is so difficult, as I love so many different beers. In general, I gravitate toward Trappist ales like Rochefort.

What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?

I have always enjoyed traveling, eating, and sampling the local wines and beers wherever I end up. You can learn a lot about cultures and what people value from their food and drink. I have always ended up in great conversations with many strangers over a glass of beer, wine, or a plate of food.

What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?

Prior to opening the brewery, I had the opportunity to spend some time in Belgium, traveling through the country and sampling a lot of beers. Sitting in a cafe by one of the canals in Bruges solidified my resolve to pursue my own brewery.

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