Sunday, August 15, 2010
The Beer Buddha Interviews: Andrew Godley from Parish Brewing
So I thought it would be fun to line up a bunch of interviews with brewery owners, brewers, beer bars, beer stores and maybe even other beer bloggers from Louisiana. I wanted another way to promote beer in Louisiana and promote those people who are working hard making Louisiana a better place for beer. We're gonna call them The Beer Buddha Interviews.
I've decided to start with Louisiana's newest and smallest brewery Parish Brewing out of Lafayette, Louisiana. Now I'll warn you not all my questions are normal questions. I find some interviews in magazines and such pretty boring so sometimes I like to throw curveballs out there. Here is my interview with owner Andrew Godley from Parish Brewing. Enjoy!
You call yourself a nano brewery. What exactly is that?
A nanobrewery is a recently coined term to describe a brewery that is so small it isn't even in the same category as a microbrewery. I've even seen the term picobrewery, which would be even smaller, like homebrewing size. Other self-proclaimed nanobreweries out there are about the same size as my pilot brewery, so I guess that makes me a nano too. I can brew 1.5 bbls per batch (about 45 gallons). And I brew 2 or 3 times per week. My brewery is really a pilot brewery as I will be building a much larger brewery soon and graduating from the nano ranks.
Opening a brewery is a huge investment. What made you decide to take the risk and open Parish? What did you do before opening Parish?
I've worked for over 8 years as a chemical engineer and also have an MBA (still the day job). It's been an interesting career, basically designing and running chemical manufacturing processes - perfect experience for running a brewery. I also love good beer. I have an infatuation with beer and brewing it. It's art and science combining to create a the best kind of beverage in the world. Plus I would like to work for myself. Starting a commercial brewery seemed like the only option really. Oh, and also the free beer.
Who is your favorite A-Team member and why?
Does the van count? If so, the black van is my favorite A-team character. I used to have a matchbox one and that sucker got driven up and down every wall, stair railing, and couch in the neighborhood.
How do you feel about online beer sites like Ratebeer.com and Beeradvocate.com? How do sites like this affect you as a brewery?
Those websites are great for promoting beer culture. I am all about getting everyone to appreciate craft beer, to educate and enlighten. Those sites are great at facilitating beer talk, so consider me a fan overall. Getting people to talk about beer is good, period. As a brewery I hope that the sites can provide feedback from what is essentially a large panel of experienced beer drinkers. They are my audience and I want to make beer that most of them enjoy. A couple negatives about the sites - beware of the uber beer geeks. Sometimes they can be a bit condescending to new folks trying craft beer for the first time. Also, the ratings need to be taken with a grain of salt. Sometimes people will rate certain beers higher or lower based on preconceived notions, hype, etc. and not just on the beer itself.
Louisiana breweries have been popping up right and left over the last 2 years. What do you see for the future of craft beer in Louisiana?
The future for beer in LA is bright, but there are still many roadblocks that will keep growth slow. With the 3-tier system firmly entrenched, it creates a huge barrier to entry for any startup brewery. The margins that the brewery makes on beer are tiny and when you force them to sell through a distributor and also a retailer, both of whom take their own margins, the profit gets even smaller for the brewer. Also, keeping the brewer from selling direct to consumers limits our beer culture. When people can go to the brewery, buy beer there, and experience the brewing culture, it grows awareness and appreciation for better, hand crafted, artisan beer. Right now people have no idea where beer comes from so you cant really expect them to get into higher quality beer when they dont understand it. I want to team with other brewers in LA to change laws and start enabling breweries to sell direct to consumers from the brewery. Growlers anyone? The future of beer here is going to be better than it has ever been before. It is inevitable. The only question is how fast we get there - and I believe we can get there faster by changing the 3 tier laws.
I get a lot of crap for my weird infatuation for macro lagers. What is your favorite macro beer and why?
My guilty pleasure is non-skunked Heineken. If it comes in a 12 pack box it tastes great because it hasn't been light struck. VERY hoppy... mmmm... It's also great on draft. I wont touch it from a 6 pack though
Wine sucks. So how can we convince wine drinkers that beer is a much better product?
People like wine because you can open a bottle and share it amongst a table of friends. We need to paint that picture in people's minds, but replace the wine bottle with a nice 750mL Saison, Tripel, or Lambic. They will prefer beer, they just haven't introduced it into their paradigm yet. Wine is boring with limited options. But that also makes it accessible for people. Beer can sometimes be intimidating because people are not educated yet. I bet way more people in the US have heard the word Chardonnay than have heard Saison and Tripel combined.
Cheers, drink dat, geaux Saints.
Thanks Andrew for the awesome interview! If anyone is wondering where they can get some of Parish's beer you have to make your way up to Lafayette. The distributon right now is pretty limited due to Parish's size but be ready! Things are looking bright here in Louisiana as far as beer goes. We've got new breweries opening up and new beers entering into the market! It's good time to be a beer drinker in Louisiana!
The Beer Buddha