Zach Nichols

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

I’m one of the co-founders [at Sanitas Brewing Co. in Boulder, Colo.] and spend the majority of my time working on our marketing’everything from designing can labels to building the website and running Sanitas’ social media. I also manage most of our tap room operations and am in the brewhouse here and there. I got my start in the beer biz stocking the cooler at a local beer store at the University of Wisconsin. I fell in love with all the locally made craft beer and funky imported stuff and began homebrewing on the side. The hobby turned into an obsession over the years and before long I was brewing professionally at Gray’s Tied House, a brewpub outside of Madison.

What’s new at Sanitas?

We opened in early September 2013. We’ve really started putting a lot of focus into our rotating beers available in the tap room and on draft locally. While we have the Black IPA and Saison available in six-packs year-round, it’s been fun playing around with specialty beers like The Waker Espresso Stout, Bird of Prey Double IPA, and 360 Tripel. We also have quite a bit of beer aging in different barrels right now, so those are on the horizon.

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

The dedicated, kind people. However, I’m entrepreneurially minded so I really like the fact that this industry is in such a unique place right now. As a group we’re kind of blazing new trails together backed by the support of a growing number of educated, passionate consumers. Everyone, small to large, is learning on the go. We all truly believe in what we’re doing as an individual company, yet the future is so ambiguous as far as what craft brewing will look like in five or 10 years. It’s frightening, fun, and exhilarating.

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

Try other brewers’ beer while hanging out with family and friends. It’s tough for me to not mix business with pleasure. I also really enjoy getting outside, skiing, hiking, and kayaking. I played lacrosse in college so I try to catch a game here and there as well.

What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?

Well, being from Wisconsin I’d argue beer and cheese as the ideal pairing. They come from a similar genesis and each has such wide-ranging flavor and aromatic characteristics. They just seem to make each other even more enjoyable.

What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?

Probably playing sports at my dream school. I come from a long line of Wisconsin alum and am really proud to call myself a Badger. My girlfriend is pretty amazing as well. I definitely lucked out on that one.

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

Toughest question in the world. What time of the day/year is it? What’s the weather like? What am I eating? I tend to lean toward hoppy but drinkable beers. I drank a lot of Three Floyds Gumballhead while living in the Midwest. Locally I’ve been really digging Odell’s stuff as well as what our buddies down at Cannonball Creek in Golden have been putting out. They’re another new one to visit while in Colorado.

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

Chicago. It’s always been a fun city to visit, but I went there a few months ago and was blown away by how great the craft beer scene has become there. Half Acre, Revolution, Pipeworks, and Solemn Oath are some of the best new American breweries on the scene.

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