How did you become a brewer?
I actually learned it from the ground up at the Great Dane. I started in the kitchen doing every job there was to do there. I offered to help whenever it was needed in the brewery. As time went on, there was more and more work that needed to be done in the brewery, so eventually I made the transition from the kitchen to a full-time brewing position. Shortly after that the Dane sent me to brewing school at Siebel Institute in Chicago where I completed the Diploma Course in Brewing Science and Technology (fall class of 1997).
What drew you to brewing and specifically to craft brewing?
I grew up in Stevens Point, so the brewing tradition was very strong in my Point Beer community. I discovered imported European and craft beers shortly after graduating from high school, which really piqued my interest. While living in Milwaukee I came across a concept new to me- the brewpub (which happened to be Water Street Brewing Co.) The idea of brewing and serving beer on premise was brilliant, and definitely the start of my true brewing passion.
Any parts of the profession you find particularly enjoyable or particularly tedious?
I really enjoy looking out from the brewhouse at a crowd of guests on a busy night. To see all the people smiling and laughing, all while enjoying our beer is a real treat!
How do you reach beyond the hard-core beer drinkers and into the general public to sell your beer?
I think getting out and and doing beer tastings events around the community, especially with some of the non-profit organizations allows you to reach a large number of people who are not already seeking you out.