Who are you and what is your background?
My name is Jesse James Searls. I was born and raised in Sydney, Australia to a Kiwi mum and a Yank dad.
Your job and current title?
I am the Head Brewer at Young Henrys Brewing Company.
In what city?
The suburb of Newtown in Sydney, Australia.
A word to define what type of worker you are:
Hands-on, leading from the front.
Where does your interest in microbrewery come from?
I lived in the UK for 3 years and did a lot of traveling in Eastern Europe during that time. I went from being a staunch ‘macro beer’ drinker to really starting to think about what beer tasted like with all the new stuff I was trying in all the different places I was. When I returned from Australia, I took the next step by leaving my old career (8 years of Hospitality Management) and becoming an assistant brewer, knee deep in the yeast, here at YH.
What makes your beer unique? Why?
Our beer is superbly made to an extremely high level of quality from a process point of view. It is approachable and relatable to a lot of people, and it comes with a whole culture behind it which makes people feel like they’re part of it all.
What is the size of the brewery (number of barrels per year, etc.)?
We have a 20HL (528.3441 Gallons to you imperial blokes) IDD HEBS Brewhouse and can produce roughly 2 million liters a year.
What tools are essential to your life (app, software)?
Google Sheets, Google calendar, Gmail, my phone, and most importantly, my two hands.
What does your office space look like?
A Brewery generally.
Do you have a way to organize your days to optimize your work?
I jump between AM and PM shifts to suit the workflow of the team and to be there for any special process that we’re doing.
Any “tips” to improve productivity?
Keep your team happy. A happy team means a happy life.
Can you give us a tour of your local craft beer brewery scene?
Newtown (where YH is located) is in the Inner West district of Sydney. This is by far the most Bohemian and forward thinking part of Sydney. There are almost 15 craft breweries in the relatively small area that is the Inner West now, and some people refer to it as “Little Portland”.
How do you control the growth of your microbrewery?
I am only ever worried about making more great beer and how we can do it. The growth of the company has actually been phenomenal so its not something I personally really need to worry about.
What is your strategy for making your beer known? (tastings, festival, etc.) Why this strategy?
YH has a great marketing team and an extremely strong brand. We are in all 8 states and territories of Aus, and have been for a while. Our ties with local music scenes and generally similar mindsets make our brand really geared for success amongst the kind of people we want to be associated with.
About design, what does your brand represent/reflect?
Our design is very rocking ‘n’roll, so is our attitude as a company.
Design: how was it designed? By who?
We have many contributors to all our designs. Most of them are friends or local artists. I’m not sure who exactly designed the current logo.
What inspires you and motivates you to go to work every day?
Making great beer goes without saying. Other than that, looking after my team, seeing them learn and grow is really something that keeps me going.
What is the best advice given to you?
Probably what I was told when I recently became Head Brewer. When I’m up in the middle of the night freaking out about shit at work, to remember that “I can’t do anything about it from bed”. This has gone a long way to keeping me sane recently.
What are your end and start routines?
Get coffee. Check on my team or get everyone on task. Put some music on. In the end, it’s usually the inverse of this except I replace coffee with Beer!
What were your biggest challenges as an entrepreneur?
I’m not an entrepreneur but I imagine its bloody challenging.
What advice would you give someone who wants to start a brewery?
Have lots of money and be willing to part with it (from what I hear).
Apart from your computer and your phone, what gadget cannot you do without?
Any new projects coming soon? (eg products, etc.)
We are constantly brewing specialty beers but we have our 7th birthday coming out next week and we’ve done a double version of our flagship beer Newtowner which is an Australian pale ale. I’ve been filtering the 14,000L of it today while writing this email and its tasting fuckin’ grouse! (Australian for really, really good)
At the end of the day, what kind of beer do you drink to relax?
My favorite style of beer has always been Czech/German pilsner so I love that when I can get my hands on it. Otherwise, I go through phases of other beer styles. I’m actually not that fussy when drinking beer outside of work. Much more so when critiquing our own product. So generally anything that is well made and tastes good.