Russ Melton

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

I am President and Chief Beer Officer. I started the brewery in 2000 after developing a great affection for craft beers and small breweries. But really it started when I lived in Germany 25 years earlier. They also have great beers, lots of breweries and a culture where beer is well respected and admired.

What’s new at Diamond Bear?

We’ve recently expanded the brewery and doubled our capacity. We also have made a major change with our distribution base and have been growing our business significantly since that change. Our flagship Diamond Bear Pale Ale is still our dominant brand, but our Presidential IPA and Paradise Porter have both been growing rapidly.

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

Great people who really have a passion and appreciation for great beer. I don’t know of another industry where people are so helpful and friendly with one another. In a capitalistic world where it is so often dog eat dog, the craft brewing industry is such a wonderful exception.

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

I really enjoy spending time with my family and friends, often while sharing great beers in the process. We’re very involved in our community, local politics, our church and many charities. I also enjoy playing golf, but tend to not drink until after the game is over as the beer can have an adverse effect on my already challenged golf game.

What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?

Foods with flavor and spice, such as BBQ, Cajun and steaks.

What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?

My family, without question. I am so fortunate and blessed to have such a wonderful family, whose support and encouragement have made it possible to start Diamond Bear. From a career standpoint, I had the opportunity to serve in the U.S. Army for several years and it was one of the most rewarding times of my life. It also was a venue that allowed me to learn about the great beers of Germany.

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

There are so many out there, but being a hophead, I would have to say Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Odell IPA. For a Pilsner, I really like Saint Arnold Summer Pils.

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

It would probably be Salzburg, Austria, where my co-founder and I were married. And yes, we did tour the local brewery on our honeymoon.

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