Interview: brewmaster Dan Carey (New Glarus Brewing Company)

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Brewmaster Wisconsin

Photo courtesy of Dan Carey

Brewmaster Dan Carey has been a man on a malty and hoppy mission. In 1983, the San Francisco native earned a degree in Food Science, with an emphasis on Malting and Brewing Science, from UC Davis. Four years later, he became valedictorian of the Siebel Institute Course in Brewing Technology. He eventually became a Production Supervisor position for Anheuser-Busch before starting New Glarus Brewing Company with Deborah in 1995, delivering craft beer to Wisconsin. We recently spoke by phone, where Dan Carey better explained his background and approach.

What was your first beer related job, and how did it come about?

I did an apprenticeship. I studied brewing at UC Davis and my first job was an internship at River City Brewing In Sacramento, in 1980.

How did you get from there to Wisconsin?

When I graduated I went to work for a small brewing in Montana, Kessler. That’s where I met my wife. She was doing marketing, point of sale and graphics for the brewery. She was from Wisconsin, we got married, I went to work for various breweries and she wanted to go back to Wisconsin.

What’s your first beer memory, good or bad?

I’ve always loved beer, even when I was real little. My dad drank Olympia, and that was a nice lager beer. I have fond memories. I remember in the ‘70s tasting Anchor Steam, that was a local beer, and that was a really nice beer.

What was the first beer you brewed, and how did it turn out?

When I was in school, we made test brews, we were always brewing all kinds of stuff…I remember making a malt lager with Cascade hops, which turned out pretty well. I’ve pretty much always been a lager brewer.

What distinguishes New Glarus from other breweries in the U.S.?

The biggest thing is we only sell in our home state. This year we’ll sell over 100,000 barrels in our home state. What’s most unique about us is we’re an all Wisconsin brewery. We also make a wide variety of styles: light American style lager, to sour porters, Lambic style beers, double IPAs. We make the whole gambit. On a daily basis, we make a full range of beers.

What will it take for you to expand distribution beyond Wisconsin?

We kind of like staying small. We’d rather be a local brewery. We don’t want to be a large brewer, so we’ll most likely stay in our local area.

What’s the most recent beer that you brewed, and what was your approach with it?



Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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