What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
I’m the owner of Wages Brewing Company [in West Plains, Mo.] and I handle virtually everything except brewing and taproom design, which are handled by our brewer, Amy Fischer, and my wife/co-owner, Amber Wages, respectively. Since discovering craft beer in 2004, I wanted to open a craft beer bar. Then I started homebrewing in 2008. In 2011, a local business incubator held a class to help potential business owners assess their business idea, and that prompted me to put my two goals together. It only took five more years to get the doors open!
What’s new at Wages Brewing?
We opened in August 2016 as soon as our first state beer approval came in. Soon thereafter, our taproom nearly doubled in size. In the nearly one year we’ve been open, we’ve brewed many batches of our flagships (Whatknot Ale, Landlocked IPA, and Good Mornin’ Stout) plus countless experimental and one-offs. My goal has been to release a new beer every week. Lofty as that is, we’ve gotten fairly close to that goal!
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
The openness and friendliness of everyone we encounter. We recently attended the Craft Beer & Brewing Brewers Retreat in Astoria, Ore. (yes, our brewer did the truffle shuffle in front of the Goonies house), and were met with open arms by all the brewers there. I don’t think it’s as easy to become friends with people in other industries.
Name a favorite food and beer pairing.
I love a great cerveza or sessionable IPA with anything Mexican, especially street tacos.
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
Snagging and keeping my better half!
What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?
I guess if I had to pick just one, it’d be Heady Topper. That beer was a revelation to what IPA should be. Locally, I’m a huge fan of Piney River’s Aleiversary DIPA and Side Project’s Grisette (beer engine please).
What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
I visited my father in the Bay Area of Northern California last year while waiting for our TTB approval to come through. He drove me around to some of the best breweries in that area. The Rare Barrel was the star of the show, though the entire trip was just amazing. There’s nothing like getting fresh oysters then heading over to a great brewery serving farm to table food.
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
I am a songwriter, comic book collector, computer strategy gamer (Civ VI atm), and I enjoy playing around on my 30-acre farm where I forage wild mushrooms, grow random ingredients for the brewery, and harvest homegrown peppers, tomatoes, garlic, and more. That is, when I’m not still working at my day job!