1. Where is the brewery?
At the end of the rainbow. Lagunitas Brewery is nestled in Petaluma, California (Sonoma County). Our second brewery is in Chicago, where Tony Magee, proud father of Lagunitas comes from. Both taprooms are wide open to visitors Wednesday through Sunday for beers, cheers, and hangovers.
2. What was the first beer that made you realize that craft beer was going to be a bigger part of your life?
That's an easy one. Last Snow from Funky Buddha. I was at a point in my life where happiness (for lack of a better word) was being pulled from me every day at the brewery where I had been working. I would escape work and drive 45 minutes north to Oakland, Florida to get my share of Last Snow. It was John Linn, now Brand Director for Funky Buddha, who first introduced me to it. Linn’s honest nature and passion for beer sparked my drive to find a new brewery to call home. Thanks John!
3. What is your favorite style and why?
As of late I've been swinging by M.I.A Brewing, Wynwood Brewing, and Biscayne Bay Brewing. These guys have character and it shows in their brews. Styles are for home brewers and academics. For us and the dudes mentioned above, they are jumping-off points for further improvisation.
4. If you were stranded on an island (with a working refrigerator that automatically replenished itself) and you could only have one beer for the rest of your life in that fridge, which would it be?
How amazing would that be, huh?! You have a sick mind Craft Commander, I dig it! Lagunitas Czech Style Pilsner. Its delicate, crisp, and easy to drink. Tony Magee best describes this brew as “the child you put through college because it will become something someday. Where ales are street, lagers are ‘haute couture’. Where an ale might hit you over the head and take your wallet, lagers donate to charity and adopt stray cats. While an ale might steal your car and try to date your daughter and keep her out all night for who-knows-what-purpose, a well-bred lager would offer to clean your house while you’re on vacation and leave fresh chocolate chip cookies and coffee for you when you return. Now, don’t get us wrong, ales can be a lot of fun to hang out with when you’re in the mood, and if you have bail money on you. But what’s wrong livin’ uptown from time to time, on the nice street, where the doormen all wear those funny uniforms, the air smells like flowers, and lagers rule the Earth.”
5. What's your favorite music to listen to on the job?
All types of music. Really it all comes down to the day, mood, and strand. Lately it has been lots of Sublime, Green Day, and Chet Faker sprinkled into the mix. I am currently listening to Cypress Hill – (Rock) Superstar at Wynwood Brewing with Alex G-Money (Taproom Manager). Tony Magee is very musically minded. You can find him jamming out on stage with his band at most Lagunitas brewery parties. Come out to Fat Cats in Ft. Lauderdale 9/20 and rock out with us! Party starts at 11pm.
6. Which other brewery has inspired you the most? Why?
According to Urban Dictionary, to “inspire” means to infuse with spirit. Based on that definition Luis Brignoni, Founder of Wynwood Brewery, is an inspiration to me. Talk about determination and drive. Building and managing a brewery is no cake walk. I will give you an idea of what a day in the life of Tony Magee (our founder) was in 1994, six months into the business. Keep in mind he had a fulltime job in printing, his only source of income at the time. He had bought one additional fermentation tank and needed a fourth one to keep up. Days went something like this: He would mill grain around 9pm the night before a brew, wake up at 3 am, mash-in at 3:30 am, knock out the kettle at 7:30 am, clean up by 10 am, and then do printing work all day--- sometimes even while making keg deliveries, after which he would often fly to L.A. overnight to meet printing customers at the plants to approve press runs, while still doing brewery business the whole time. So next time you drive by Wynwood Brewing swing by and give those guys a high five for me. There is more than just beer in our bottles. There is hard work and love for this craft.
7. Where is your favorite place to get a beer after work and why?
Where the bar is the best seat in the house.
8. What is on piece of advice you'd give to someone who thinks they want to get into the craft beer industry?
If you want to dive into this industry and decide that the supplier side is where you belong, check with your liver first. Start by researching breweries you find interesting and relatable. Find the one that best matches your lifestyle, full of like-minded-people like yourself. Oh and you must enjoy the liquid. That’s a fact. In our case we have a reputation as quirky and irreverent, with a let-it-all-hang-out ethos. I’m living the American dream. I work for a brewery that encourages us to think freely and gives us a license to party. Tony says it best “We are in the tribe-building business. Beer just happens to be our common currency”. Craft beer is as prosperous now than ever. Expand your knowledge by tasting beers, follow your pallet.
9. Dogs or cats?
Dogs 110+%. Loyal. Honest. Loving. Fun. We are all stray dogs roaming through life looking for the right places to call home. Lagunitas is made of a bunch of strays who have had their share of ups and downs. This is why every Lagunator you meet is humble, kind, and proud of the beer they represent.
10. Best place to eat after a night of debauchery?
Stray dogs love the Waffle House.