Who are you and your current job?
I’m Ryan Pitman, Head Brewer and Owner at Eastlake Craft Brewery.
What was the inspiration behind your brewery?
Eastlake is located in a neighborhood that was thirsty for some good craft beer, inside a public market with 15 eateries as our neighbors. Providing our neighbors somewhere to meet and get to know each other was one of our main goals, and it’s been wonderful to see successes in that area.
We like to brew the beers that we like to drink, so there are always several hugely hoppy beers of various styles, summer patio pounders, always two or three sours on tap, and malt-forward beers to match Minnesota’s varied seasons. This also plays into our branding, where we have eight animal characters (all native to Minnesota) that represent the wildly varied people in our Midtown Minneapolis location. It’s a blast!
Can you give us a tour of your beer scene?
The beer scene in the Twin Cities (and Minnesota in general) is wonderful, and growing quickly, not only with new breweries opening but with residents' thirsts for hand-crafted full-flavored beers. There are great camaraderie and mutual respect between the breweries. Taprooms here are larger than I’ve seen in a lot of cities, and each place has a unique atmosphere that sets them apart not only from each other but from other bars as well.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a brewery?
I would advise someone starting a brewery to keep studying. There’s always something to learn. Sometimes that involves experimenting with a pilot system, reading everything you can, and sometimes it just involves drinking as much new beer as possible. It’s a long process and can be capital intensive. I’d also recommend thinking about a potential brand, it goes so much further than just a logo. The feel of the taproom, the personalities of the bartenders and sales reps, the “voice” of the company as far as social media and beer naming. These are all as important as making the best quality beer you can make.