Owen Williams

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

My current position is janitor/co-founder/brewer at Ritual Brewing Co. in Redlands, Calif. I began as a homebrewer, but my consumption surpassed my production abilities so I volunteered in a local brewpub until they decided to pay me. Within 18 months of being the “go-to guy,” I moved on to be the first brewer for BJ’s Pizza, Grill and Brewery and eventually the director of new brewery operations. After 11+ years, due to desires to cut costs and “decommission” most of the 11 breweries we had built, it was time to move on.

What’s new at Ritual?

Ritual Brewing Co. opened to the public in November 2012 and we are still building. We try to repurpose and reuse as much as possible, like our new tavern tables, which are old bowling lanes from Tulsa, Okla. The metal stands holding up the bowling lane/tables are the metal supports used in the shipping of our fermentation and brite tanks. In the last couple of weeks we’ve added cask conditioned ale poured from a beer engine, and we make our own sodas: Root Beer and Orange Cream—both made with natural ingredients, flavors, and cane sugar. Wit’s End, Ritual’s spin on a classic Belgian-style witbier, won a gold medal and Fat Hog, a Belgian-style barleywine, won a silver medal at the 2013 California State Fair Craft Beer Competition.

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

Almost free beer most of the time. The camaraderie of brewers is better than many other industries. Brewers help one another out; they are not out to slit throats—rather more like a huge extended hoppy family. I don’t feel that breweries are in competition; rather they compliment and complement each other.

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

Chillax with my wife, work outside, travel, and enjoy good food and good beer in good company.

What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?

Well-aged New York steak and Ritual Brown Ale or Extra Red Ale.

What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?

Sailing the South Pacific and sharing my life with my lovely wife.

What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?

Domestic: Sierra Nevada Celebration. Import: Chimay Blue.

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

The Society Islands. The local beer is Hinano, which loses so much in travel here to the mainland. But when you are there, the sun is reflecting off the lagoon, 85° F seems hot, the water is about 75° F, after a good dive and you are thirsty, no other beer tastes as fresh or refreshing!

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