How do you go about naming your beers at Ironfire?
Honestly, when me and John have free time, we literally sit down with a beer and start spitting ideas with each other. From there, usually one thing leads to another and we create these outrageous storylines, ideas behind our labels and names. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. It’s just us kicking up ideas in our free time.
Is there a beer style you would like to see develop more of a following?
I would love to see more people into the barrel-aged beers. By the end of this year, we’ll have three different barrel aged beers out. I love barrel aged beers. There are just so many things you can do with a barrel, from the bourbon barrel, to using wine barrels with our IPAs, to making sours with wine barrels. The barrels, you have so many possibilities with making a beer as far as the ingredients go, then you can take, depending on what type of barrel it is, where it’s from, what it was used for previously, and you can create something that nobody has seen or tasted before. That’s what’s really cool with the barrels, and that’s something we really want to start focusing on. We just quadrupled the amount of barrels we’ve had this past August.
What are some of your most satisfying moments of working with craft beer?
Waking up every day and loving what I’m doing. Waking up every day, and even if I’ve had a shitty day, it’s better than any day I could have sitting in a cubicle.
Who are some other people in the craft beer community that you look to for inspiration, guidance or advice?
Definitely my business partner, John. My old boss, Yuseff Cherney, the head brewer of Ballast Point. Earl Kite, the Director of Sales & Marketing at Ballast Point. Ballast Point’s been a huge influence. Every piece of advice I could ever need, they’ve helped me with, and they’ve supported us 100% since we left them. Also, Ray Astamendi, who was the original brewer of Mission Brewery, and he also brewed at Saint Archer when they first opened, he is the guy who individually got me into craft beer. I don’t talk to him that much anymore, but I do see him from time to time and remember that he was the guy that basically shoved me through the door.
What will it take for you to consider your work with craft beer a success, if it isn’t already?
For me, it’s all about never having to apply for another job. If we can keep Ironfire growing and build a brand and make a name for ourselves, and we’re having a good time doing it, that’s all I’ll ever need.