Smith Mathews

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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 brewmaster and managing partner at Southbound Brewing Co. [in Savannah, Ga.] I got my start in the brewing industry while in college. I began working at a local brewery and instantly felt it was the right fit for me. Upon graduating college, I attended brewing school from the World Brewing Academy at the Siebel Institute of Technology and Doemens Academy, then came back to the same brewery to accept a brewer position. It pretty much all kicked off from there.

What’s new at Southbound?

We are a fairly new operation. All of our brewing equipment and virtually everything other than the building is brand new. As for beers, we have a new saison coming up that should be really tasty. I also plan to put a good portion of it into wine barrels for aging. We’re always brewing something new and playing with different ideas. That’s what keeps it interesting.

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

I’d have to say the community itself. It’s made up of such great people doing something we all love. Trying new things, sharing ideas, collaborations, etc. is what makes it a great community. You rarely see this camaraderie in other industries.

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

What time away from the brewery? I spend virtually all of my time there. When I’m away I really enjoy getting out on the water, whether that’s fishing, boating, kiteboarding, beaching, whatever. Beer is the perfect beverage for that as well.

What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?

I’m extremely fond of a nice IPA and high-end blue cheese. An imperial chocolate stout with pecan pie is a close second. Ah, it’s so good.

What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?

I’d have to say graduating with three different degrees. I received a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Georgia Institute of Technology, WBA International Diploma in Brewing Technology from Siebel and Doemens, as well as an MBA from Georgia Southern University. I never thought I would have so many diplomas hanging in my office, let alone my own office. Sweet!

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

That’s always a hard question because it depends on what I’m in the mood for. Currently I’ve been very fond of Hopslam from Bell’s. This regularly changes, however, almost daily.

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

I recently visited Wicked Weed Brewing in Asheville, N.C. I thoroughly enjoyed their huge variety of barrel-aged sours. Their food and atmosphere was incredible as well. I just love it when brewers push the limits with experimentation.

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