Oral history interview with Kalif Mathieu, 2018

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

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0:00 - Opening credits / introduction

0:37 - Background

Play segment Segment link

Segment Synopsis: Mathieu talks about his educational background and work prior to entering the brewing field.

1:46 - Entering the brewing industry

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Segment Synopsis: Mathieu discusses how he initially chose to become a brewer and his initial brewery job, working for a friend in Michigan.

3:13 - Comparing the beer scene in North Carolina to Michigan

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Segment Synopsis: Mathieu discusses the differences he sees between beer and brewing in Michigan (where he began his career) and North Carolina (where he now works).

5:21 - History of Pig Pounder

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Segment Synopsis: Mathieu discusses the history of Pig Pounder, prior to his arrival. This includes the source of the brewery name.

7:22 - Describing Pig Pounder today

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Segment Synopsis: Mathieu explains how he would describe Pig Pounder today. He notes that Pig Pounder offers 12 beers of different styles on tap and has a barrel-aging program beginning.

8:36 - Pig Pounder's Midtown Greensboro location

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Segment Synopsis: Mathieu describes Pig Pounder's location in the Midtown area of Greensboro and the ways in which their location away from most other Greensboro breweries in the Downtown area affects their business.

11:01 - First impressions of Pig Pounder

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Segment Synopsis: Mathieu describes his first impression of Pig Pounder as "a diamond in the rough."

15:45 - Changes to brewing business models over the past four years

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Segment Synopsis: Mathieu describes how the industry has shifted from 2014 to 2017 or 2018.

19:11 - Changes initiated at Pig Pounder upon his arrival

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Segment Synopsis: Mathieu discusses the ways in which he implemented changes that impacted both the beer and the business model upon his arrival at Pig Pounder in 2017.

24:30 - Physical growth and expansion

Play segment Segment link

Segment Synopsis: Mathieu explains the current efforts to grow the public spaces at Pig Pounder, including a taproom renovation and construction of a covered patio outdoors.

26:59 - Comparing the brewing scene from 2012 to today

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Segment Synopsis: Mathieu describes the changes to the overall brewing scene from when he first entered the field in 2012 to today (2018). He specifically mentions the ways in which this is reflected through the perspectives of brewers.

32:15 - Day-to-day challenges of a head brewer

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Segment Synopsis: Mathieu describes some of the day-to-day challenges he faces as head brewer at Pig Pounder.

34:48 - Resources for growing as a brewer

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Segment Synopsis: Mathieu describes the importance of working in different breweries with different people as a way to learn more about beer and brewing.

36:38 - Collaboration among brewers

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Segment Synopsis: Mathieu explains collaborations between brewers, including sharing of ingredients when needed as well as developing formal brewing collaborations.

40:01 - Brewing industry in the next three to five years

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Segment Synopsis: Mathieu explains where he sees the brewing industry going in the next three to five years, including a focus on the hyperlocal and growth of public interest in craft beer.

43:16 - Pig Pounder's signature beer

Play segment Segment link

Segment Synopsis: Mathieu names the Boar Brown as Pig Pounder's signature beer.

44:11 - Favorite beer from a North Carolina brewery other than Pig Pounder

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Segment Synopsis: Mathieu describes the challenges of selecting a favorite beer, but discusses his current interest in the Shrimp Gose at Preyer Brewing (Greensboro).

45:28 - Favorite Pig Pounder beer

Play segment Segment link

Segment Synopsis: Mathieu names the Pigmosa, a mimosa beer, as his current favorite beer at Pig Pounder.

46:37 - Interview conclusion / closing credits

0:00

RC: So, if you can just start by saying and spelling your name for us.

KM: Kalif Mathieu K-A-L-I-F M-A-T-H-I-E-U

RC: Today is Friday May 25, 2018 and we are in Pig Pounder Brewery in Greensboro,

North Carolina. I am RC, talking today with Kalif Mathieu, head brewer, as part

of the Well Crafted NC project. So to get started, if you can tell us a little bit

about yourself.

KM: Well, where to begin. I assume we're going to talk about beer a whole lot today

so I'll take this opportunity to not talk about beer perhaps. I don't know.

RC: Maybe.

KM: I was born in Haiti. My parents were living overseas there for about ten years.

But I didn't grow up there. I grew up in central Illinois and went to college at

1:00

Alma College in Michigan and majored in English and Political Science. And

that's kind of where I hit some stumbling blocks. Went to work in D.C. for a little

while, doing some grant writing. It wasn't super fun so I joined the Peace Corps

instead.

KM: Went to China for a couple of years and taught English. That's where I met my

wife. Moved back to the States and that's kind of where I found my footing, got

in with a college friend of mine, brewing beer at a brewery in Michigan. And

that's where I sort of found my passion and found my way.

RC: Okay. Well that leads into, how did you first become interested in the brewery

industry?

KM: Right. So when I was in Peace Corps, I decided that paper pushing and teaching

and stuff was all right but not great. I felt like I needed to find something to do

2:00

where I was producing a physical product rather than some amorphous

measurement of achievement. So I was looking around at going to the Bakken

Shale oilfields or maybe Texas or something like that and being a rig hand or

starting something in that direction.

KM: And that's when my college friend Chris Noel, slash fraternity brother, was

looking to bring on some assistant brewers and I kind of jumped on that

opportunity as, hey you can do this for ten bucks an hour. It's just scrubbing

buckets but you'll learn the trade and I got real excited at the opportunity and

jumped on board. And so my passion from brewing kind of happened as lowest

3:00

of the lowest levels in a craft brewery. Just scrubbing the floors and doing some

real basic stuff but learning how to make beer. And it just kind of snowballed

from there.

RC: Awesome. So since you moved from Michigan to North Carolina, how would you

compare the beer scene in both states?

KM: Honestly?

RC: Yeah.

KM: The beer scene changes by geography almost slower than it changes by

timeframe. So I was brewing, I started in 2012 and in 2016 moved down to

North Carolina. So 2012 to 2016 was a very different phase of life if you were to

say in craft beer in general, in the country. If you were here in North Carolina in

2013 versus now, it's a different world versus up in Michigan, kind of the same

4:00

story.

RC: Right.

KM: There were 28 or so breweries in the Grand Rapids area that you could drive to

in 40 minutes or so. So there's quite a bit of diversity already there. Some big

names that you could go visit. Bell's, Founders. New Holland was just coming up

as a huge regional producer. And so you have these big volume guys but also

lots of very small pub shops, even multiple places that would be just making

beer on a ten gallon system on the stove, where they would also cook food on a

sandwich pub environment.

KM: So you'd have the full gamut. But I would say it's simply more advanced down

5:00

here in North Carolina than where it was when I was up in Michigan. But that's

probably simply because it was 2013, 14, 15 and 16, not 2017, 2018 where you

have just this explosion of new beers and new breweries.

RC: Sure. Okay. So pouncing on the Pig Pounder. How did the brewery arrive at the

name Pig Pounder?

KM: Pig Pounder comes from our owner Marty Kotis purchasing the last Darryl's

Restaurant on High Point Road. It's City Boulevard now. A number of years back

and Darryl's had a beer brewed, contract for them back in 1988 called the Pig

Pounder. And it was served in a 16 ounce bottle, hence the pounder. A pint's a

pound. And the pig obviously is a reference to the Darryl's brand and their

barbecue and all that.

6:00

KM: And so he had the IP [intellectual property] for beer, a wonderful label and

jumped off of that to set it up for a sort of the structure for the brewery as the

icon that over a couple of years, believe it or not, the bobble head of the tap

handle didn't come along until 2015, 2016. The brewery opened in 2014. So it

was actually a little bit down the road that we arrived at the point where the

bobble head is sort of our figure.

RC: Did that original beer move to the brewery too?

KM: So that is sort of a shelved, interesting research project for me to find the

original recipe for that beer so that we can re-brew it. I think it would be really

exciting because it's so different from what we normally do here. You could call

Pig Pounder an ale house. We only make ale. We don't brew lager, yet.

7:00

KM: And I think it would be wonderful if our first lager to be produced at this facility

is the original recipe for the Pig Pounder in 1988. But because of course, that

wasn't a light American lager recipe. Nobody was drinking anything else back

then.

RC: Right. So if someone were unaware of Pig Pounder how would you describe the

brewery to people who have never been here or didn't know what you do?

KM: So we are a little bit off the beaten path, cool, funky but also conventional place

that tries to offer a good spread of different things. So we have currently 12

different beers of our own that are on tap. Anything from light to dark to fruit to

sour and we're also running a bourbon barrel aging program, so that's

something to look forward to in the winter months coming up.

8:00

KM: And it really is ... Of course, I talk about the beer, it's really about the beer and

that's sort of the focal point. But of course, if you've got a group of friends and

you want to head out to this, that and the other place don't feel like you're

excluded. We also have a good offering of North Carolina wine and California

wine and local ciders from both city and other places.

KM: We always like to try to mix it up because not every day, even as a brewer do

you want to have a beer.

RC: And so you touched on this already a little bit, just briefly. But most breweries in

Greensboro are clustered downtown. So can you talk a little bit about your

unique location and how that has affected your business model, and maybe

your customer base.

KM: Sure. So we're located in what's called now, midtown which is this corridor of

Battleground Avenue coming out of downtown and then shooting up towards,

9:00

kind of across ... You can reach Friendly Center and then if you go north, then

it's mostly housing for a general bit. But there's also quite a bit of shops and

locations just within, say a mile here that starts where we are and runs up north

for at least a mile of various different shops and locations that you can go to

since Battleground is such a thoroughfare.

KM: And that sets the area apart right there from downtown, where if you're on, as

you're saying downtown. Well, almost you could say South Elm Street

specifically. There's a nice tight little neighborhood there where everything is

walkable. And so you can get around to this that and the other hole in the wall

type place.

KM: So you can find some food here. You can find some beer there. You can find

10:00

some shops and browsing over here. You have all these different things that you

can discover and interact with and find. And it's close enough to not worry

about how you're going to get there. And that is something that midtown is in

the process of becoming, where you can get around to this, that and the other

place without worrying too much about how you're going to get there.

KM: It's not quite there yet though. And so that informs quite a bit of the business

model as well. Being outside of downtown and being further away from say, a

restaurant or something like that next door, you kind of need to structure

yourself to offer a little bit more of a destination rather a piece of the puzzle.

RC: Okay. So when you first came to Pig Pounder in 2017 what were your first

11:00

impressions?

KM: Diamond in the rough to be gentle. Pig Pounder was part of a family of

restaurants with Marty Kotis, starting his restaurateur program to try to ... I

don't want to speak for him, but he's very passionate about good food, good

beverages, high culture and he wanted to bring those things here to

Greensboro. And to execute that vision he started up Marshall Freehouse

English style house across the street from Pig Pounder.

KM: This brewery as well, following along later on Burger Warfare, which is still

across the street and their open. But the Marshall Freehouse never quite made

it. And then that was retooled in 2017 to the Traveled Farmer, which was a very

farm to table type setup. Which also didn't quite find its stride here in

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Greensboro. What most folks who went there say, is that it was all excellent but

the price point just didn't quite make sense.

KM: So maybe it was a factor of how many super high-end ... I don't want to say

millennial but, super high end restaurant locations can Greensboro support in

2014, 2015, 2016? And it was just the challenge of that. And Pig Pounder was

sort of a part of that vision where it was set up to brew exclusively English style

beer to pair with the English style pub across the street.

KM: Cask ale style all day and a wide variety of different kinds of modern English

beer. So nothing funky or weird or experimental at all. And that also struck me

13:00

as a little strange for ... When I came to the brewery in 2017, I was scratching

my head. It's 2017, not 2014. In 2014 maybe you could get by brewing classic

styles of a specific origin and that's it.

KM: But in 2017, it's a very different environment where you have more breweries

and a lot more craft beer being consumed. So you have more people in North

Carolina that are craft brewery customers so to speak. And so you have a very

different, you have a very different dynamic of what's going on around you. So

you got to kind of take that and inform how you structure yourself.

KM: So when I came into the brewery, it was ... I don't want to say mothballed, but

close. There were a couple of placeholder folks in positions to keep brewing the

14:00

beer because Sam Rose, the original head brewer who started the project in

2014 had moved on to Funky Buddha in Florida. And that left the brewery

without any strong beer leadership and the restaurant group was very much

tied up what was happening in the Marshall Freehouse and then converting that

into the Traveled Farmer.

KM: And so you had a lot of folks who had a lot of opportunity to get involved

distracted by other projects. And Pig Pounder as simple as it was could just brew

some Boar Brown and some extra special and could get by and could keep

serving the restaurants and keeping everybody satisfied with enough beer. And

that was enough for the project through 2016. But I was brought on as part of a

15:00

team of people in 2017.

KM: So it was myself, Cassi Winfree as a sales and taproom And Jake Murphy as our

general manager, who actually got borrowed from the movie theater across the

street, Red Cinemas to really start giving Pig Pounder some focus and some

drive.

RC: And one thing I noticed is that you indirectly addressed the speed of change in

the industry too, because you're comparing 2014 to 2017. So that's only like

three years. But we're talking about complete changes in what the businesses

are doing. Breweries, for example.

KM: Sure. Absolutely. In 2014 you could say here in Greensboro you had Natty

Greene's downtown with their restaurant and pub which is kind of the original

16:00

model of a craft brewery, what people used to call a microbrewery. And they

offered your standard fare of American beers. We have a pale ale. We have an

IPA. We have an amber. These kinds of things that were new and interesting

when craft beer was just getting started.

KM: And if you offer that together with a good restaurant setup, then you have a

pretty respectable model. And you can basically be a grassroots type restaurant

that also happens to brew their own beer as almost a side item. But that model,

which I would say probably got started back in the 1980s when the very first

microbreweries starting opening-

RC: Right.

KM: With the nation-wide legal environment. That starts changing when you start

17:00

opening up craft to the point where you have waves of people excited and

interested to try this whole new beer thing. And so what happens is, some

breweries that are well-positioned and figure out their game plan scale their

volume production to take a ten gallon stove top system in, let's say 2006 and

by 2016 they're brewing on a 40 barrel system and they're cranking out 25,000

barrels a year.

KM: And that's a very methodical step by step process that happens. The other

aspect in addition to that of, okay so you have an established brand and you can

figure out your growth plan and execute that, what also happens is you get lots

18:00

of new places starting at that ten gallon system or maybe ten barrel system

something in that neighborhood, volume range.

KM: And that also provides a whole different dynamic where okay, now you have a

whole bunch of different opportunities, so an aspect of the craft beer taking off,

I'd like to try some new things with interesting and bold flavor. Now you can get

a wider variety of that. And the demand is still there, and the passion is still

there to grow more, so you get more and more and more locally focused

breweries that are excited to sell beer directly to their consumers.

KM: They're not worried about scaling up to brew 20,000 barrels a year or something

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like that. They're interested in serving a neighborhood, a unique and interesting

and exciting product.

RC: Awesome. So when you got here, what changes did you initiate to better reflect

your brewing approach, interests or philosophy? Which is kind of three

questions.

KM: Okay. Approach, interest and philosophy. Well so, the beer informs the business

and the business informs the beer is kind of what we've been teasing around

here all morning. Originally the business was set up to be a volume producer of

English style beers that were a very high quality in 2016. The Boar Brown took

home the world beer cup for best English brown ale. So the execution was very

much there. The passion was very much there.

KM: But the strategy to make that make sense as a business didn't quite make a

20:00

whole lot of sense at that point. Partially because of the stumbling blocks of

losing the head brewer and then not really having a whole lot of time and

attention paid to the business. It was, let's stabilize for a while. And then I was

brought in as part of this other team, and so myself sort of being the beer

expert, the biggest shift that Pig Pounder needed to make from my perspective

...

KM: And I'm not a big business guy, but the general understanding was in addition to

myself, everybody else who came on board, was that Pig Pounder is too small to

try to do a wholesale volume production. So just make three or four beers and

make a lot of it and sell it as far-reaching as you can get. That business model

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just doesn't quite work be we brew on a seven barrel system and we have four

seven barrel fermenters, so single batch fermenters and two 14 barrel

fermenters.

KM: If you even want to start talking about wholesale volume production you need

to be brewing ... If you have a seven barrel brewhouse, you need to have 20

barrel fermenters. And you need to turn that brewhouse three, four times to fill

each fermenter and you need to be doing that three times a week. So the

brewery was not constructed for volume.

KM: The brewery was constructed for variety, single batch fermenters to brew

different things. So the structure provided makes sense to be a locally focused

brewery that's excited about retail rather than wholesale. So it's all about

having the brewery itself be the business and customers visit you rather than

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simply selling kegs of beer to restaurants.

KM: And so with that in mind, the brewing philosophy needed to step out of only

four styles of English beer and move more towards variety and also some

experimental stuff and some basic sessionable beer, so you have a wide spread

of offerings that is continuously changing. Because if you want to focus on being

more retail, one of the biggest drives is to have a variety of things that's always

developing so if you come by in June and then you come by again in July, there

are different beers you can try.

RC: Right.

KM: And that's a big part of the brewing philosophy, kind of following hand in hand

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what the business model should look like. So that was very exciting to me

because that's what I always wanted to do, was more variety and more

interesting stuff and more funky things. Because yes I'm excited about a good

kolsch. I enjoy the blonde ale. In fact I drink one almost every day.

KM: But I'm also very much interested on the production side of trying new things

and using unconventional ingredients and brewing different kinds of styles

depending on the season and so on. And so that was the primary shift there as

far as what beer Pig Pounder makes. That came out of mostly myself is more

variety, more different things and so we came from in 2017, myself just finding

my footing and rebalancing what was already going on.

24:00

KM: Now in 2018, we've grown our spread of different styles of beer from, there

would always be five for all year and one for each season. So from five beers on

tap at any one time, all the way up to twelve right now. And that's something

that we want to continue growing.

RC: Awesome. Which actually building on what you're saying about the business is

that the brewery is undergoing a lot of renovation and expansion of late,

including new spaces and a pavilion so what all is going on and what are your

goals with all the renovations?

KM: Well, so I don't know if the camera shows everything but this taproom was built

out almost like ... My impression when I walk in is okay, I'm coming by a wine

bar to taste and then purchase some bottles to bring to dinner. That's the

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impression that I get from this taproom here at the brewery where the

production facility is behind here. We have our tap faucets. We've got space for

about 15 people to sit at the bar and you've got 20 in here and it doesn't fit

anymore. It's that small.

KM: So to again bring that ... Pig Pounder should be its own identity. It should be a

fun place to hang out. It should be a place to go. To inform that, basically we

need more space. And so to work on it, the simple project, the small project is

to have a patio for outdoor seating. And that's currently getting a pergola put

over for a little bit of shading to improve that out there. And that provides a

whole bunch of space. I think seating out there is something around 30 or 40.

26:00

KM: And then next door is the big project at ... So our address here is 1107 Grecade.

At 1111 we're installing a second bar with lots of seating and picnic table type

setups and maybe a lounge area with some couches and ping-pong and foosball

and lots of cornhole and things like that, that is a much larger space, that's

almost the size of the production area and this bar combined, just for space to

hang out in. And so that's kind of again, part of the vision of making Pig Pounder

a fun place to go and experience new things and try new beers and have some

fun.

RC: So what is it like to work in the craft brewing industry today?

27:00

KM: Versus?

RC: Over your career.

KM: Right. Versus in 2012. Well-

RC: Which you did touch on about being in Michigan.

KM: A little bit. I would say that the brewing scene has elevated quite a bit in this

amount of time, because imagine I started in 2012. Okay, how many other

brewers started brewing in 2012? Okay, that was six years ago. Now myself and

all those folks have six years of production experience or what have you.

Something. Doing something in the brewery or doing all the things in the

brewery, which happens a lot when it's a small place.

KM: So I would say a huge facet of that is simply getting over the novelty of 28:00what a

craft brewery is and what it is like to work there and what you're tackling every

day. And getting to the point where, okay we've done this before. We kind of

see what's going on. And especially is the case, more often than not, certainly in

my case but others as well, you'll spend time at multiple breweries. So I was at

one brewery for two years and then another for two more years and now I've

been here at Pig Pounder for about a year and a half.

KM: So three breweries almost even spread in experience. And these all have very

different dynamics. One was mostly focused on retail, but they serviced huge

crowds as a vacation destination spot. So the variety of beer was just not there.

It was volume, but at retail. And that was on a ten barrel brewhouse, so that's a

29:00

certain kind of brewing and that's a certain kind of skillset as it were, of

managing yeast, of managing ingredients, things like that.

KM: Then moving over to another brewery that was in the scaling process of moving

itself towards 20,000 barrels a year on a 40 barrel brewhouse, it was a team of

maybe 12 full-time people every day in production to make the beer. All the

way down to the warehouse and so if you're one person in that twelve person

team, you're usually doing one thing every day. So that provides you an

opportunity to get really good at that area but you start to lose focus on the

bigger picture, simply because you're not involved, so it can become very

narrowing.

KM: And that wasn't quite where I found my passion. Some folks certainly did. And

30:00

you could operate a centrifuge every day and still feel like your adding more

value or you're doing new things. Like you're growing your understanding of

that aspect of the business and you can continue to get even tighter on that

specific item.

KM: And folks like that will definitely find their place much better at a larger brewery

because you can afford to focus more. But for me it was more interesting to

take a holistic approach and pull different aspects together, both from a

business side as well as making beer side to kind of get a better understanding

and better utilization of how it all fits together. Something that I've discovered

now here at Pig Pounder with such a small scale setup, where we have myself,

31:00

another full-time brewer, Genisis [Dancer] and then our manager who we see

twice a week, maybe.

KM: And Cassie on taproom and then maybe four or five bartenders, and that's the

whole team. We end up being involved in all of the different steps of the

process. And it is ... I hate to say it, but it's very easy to get distracted from

making beer and just doing small business stuff instead. Because you've got all

these different moving parts and different people and different places and

phone calls to make and things to order and so it can become very distracting to

the point where you lose focus on what's actually happening with brewing the

beer.

KM: So that's been a little bit of a push-pull relationship for myself of rediscovering

32:00

how to design, develop, produce new styles of beer as the same time as keeping

the walls from coming down around you just in normal operations.

RC: So what are some of the other challenges you sort of face on a day to day basis

as the head brewer?

KM: Oh jeez, there's a CO2 leak across the street at Burger Warfare. Can you please

some down and fix it? Sure. Or, that was just two days ago. Or there's a, okay

we need to go take a look of what sort of draft line system in the new Darryl's

up on Cone Boulevard. Or, it doesn't really stop. It just kind of keeps happening

over and over. Like, there's a lot of stuff happening almost every day. Just

yesterday we had a fun event with the delivery driver who we just brought on to

33:00

drive beer all around to all of our restaurant accounts.

KM: And he had brought the wrong beer and so that was five or six phone calls just

that way, the other way to figure that out to make sure that puzzle was put back

in place, so to speak. But, so there's always something new and interesting

happening. And it's almost, fortunately it's almost never the beer. The beer is

just ... You know you taste it every day and-

RC: Yes.

KM: And the yeast does all the work there so that's handy.

RC: So as like you mention, a lot of your challenge is actually exterior to the Pig

Pounder itself and have more to do with the rest of the businesses that are

attached to it in different ways.

KM: Certainly, sometimes. Yes. Absolutely. Or training is another big one. And that

primarily is going to be the bartending staff and then working with them to

make sure that ... Because not everybody gets to be a beer nerd. A lot of what

34:00

times makes a good bartender is somebody whose not a beer nerd. So I don't

want to name names but we probably have one beer nerd bartender, and then

we have three really good bartenders who are excited about beer. And if you're

excited about beer that is very infectious.

KM: And so they pick up on it as well. But training out how beer is different than

other things in the bartending world and how to present and what little details

here and there and everywhere are important or not important is pretty much

ongoing as well. So that's always a process.

RC: So what resources have you drawn on to help you grow as a brewer?

KM: Oh, man. I would say primarily people. It has been working in different

35:00

breweries with different people over the years that has really grown my own

ability. I really enjoy saying because it's true, I don't have a single original idea.

But I work closely with all these folks and learn from them and everybody's got

different things that they can add to the puzzle and can add to your own

personal understanding. And that's been a big experience for me as getting the

opportunity to work with so many interesting and driven people in these

different breweries.

KM: But also, if I'm working at Pig Pounder, like I know several of the brewers in

town really well. And to the point where we'll call each other if we need to

borrow some grain or some hops or something like that. Or talk about this or

that recipe or how this beer came out, or how these hops are a joke and we

36:00

shouldn't use them or things like this, that is very continuously communal. And

so that's something that I really appreciate about the business, that I have not

yet met anybody in the business who's just awful.

KM: Everybody's great and there's always a lot of drive to collaborate and to share

experiences and to learn from each other. And so that's been, for me that's

been the most beneficial.

RC: So what are some examples of this collaborations you just mentioned?

KM: Well, of course there's the odd emergency situation where you don't have any

yeast to pitch but you need to brew a beer tomorrow. So you run up the road to

Founders and pull off a brick off one of their fermenters or Saugatuck or

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something like that. I remember that happened once in my first year of brewing

back in 2012. Or three days ago, I have to give Stephen [Monahan, Little Brother

Brewing] a call because I'm short a bag of grain because I had to bump it up on

anther recipe. So I was short 50 pounds of 2-Row, just base malt for a Golden

Gilt and so, you know I send out some text messages to folks and I happen to

get a hold of Stephen at Little Brother and he's able to give me a bag and I'll be

able to exchange that later when I get another shipment in.

KM: Usually you're ordering around for us, at least 2000 pounds at a time so it's a

little awkward to try to get 50 pounds of something. This is a really big bag of

grain to drop-ship. But that's a great example or on the deeper level, also Steven

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at Little Brother, he was starting up his brewery downtown with a very small

system and lots of taps but only three fermenters. And so to tackle that

problem, he set up a program to simply work with lots of breweries in the

neighborhood to brew beer off-site as a collaborative recipe design and

collaborative execution, off-site with these other facilities production volumes.

KM: So he worked with Natty Greene's. He worked with us. He worked with Wooden

Robot, a whole bunch of folks and is continuing to do so. And we did our first

kettle-soured beer, the agent orange, together with them. And that was a lot of

fun. Where he would come up here to the brewery. We'd design the recipe.

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We'd brew it on our system. He would help out on the brewhouse, so it was an

easy day. He got to shovel the mash out, so that was nice. But that was quite a

good experience for us as our first collaborative batch of beer that I have

brewed here at Pig Pounder with other folks.

KM: And we're currently working on potentially others in the future. We've been

preoccupied with simply filling out our tap handles. It was only last week that

we finally had 12 of our own beers in addition to the collaboration on tap. And

so now that we've kind of crossed that hurdle it affords us a little bit of an

opportunity to start growing a program and do more collaboration,

collaboration beers with other folks.

RC: Awesome. So where do you see the brewing industry growing in the next 35

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years?

KM: Well, kind of in two directions but not really pulling apart I wouldn't say. But as I

might have mentioned earlier you have, through the past five, three to five

years you have scaling up in some breweries in volume so you get these regional

powerhouses that are producing 20, 30, 50, 100,000 barrels a year. And then

you also have far more locally focused retail breweries that are simply

structured to be a place to go to enjoy their beer and they simply don't worry

about trying to sell beer in kegs to restaurants as was, I might argue, the older

model.

KM: So the newer model, through the next three to five yeas is going to be more

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locally focused breweries, so people have more varieties not just in the beers

that they drink, but also in the breweries that they go to, to get the beers that

they drink. And I would probably argue, a lot more overall shift. I don't think it's

going to slow down all that much away from basic domestics and towards craft.

Again, in that general trend of more people are getting interested in craft beer.

KM: So you're going to see more of a shift there, continuing on as well. And again, I

started in 2012 brewing beer and now in 2018, I've got all these years of

experience of brewing different kinds of beers in different ways. You're going to

continue to see a refinement of the process and all these different craft

breweries are going to be better beer, more interesting beer to a higher level of

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quality than we've seen in the past.

KM: And again, that's simply a continuation of a trend that is already in process now.

I remember back in 2012, going to a beer festival and trying other people's

beers and so many of them not being very good. And that has been improved so

much just in the few years that I've been experiencing the scene. I hear stories

from folks from back in 2005, 2006 and it was a different world of ... People

were still figuring out amber ale. People were still figuring out how to brew a

clean blonde that didn't have a whole bunch of buttery diacetyl in it

and all this sort of stuff.

KM: Where regional breweries could handle that, small local breweries were

brewing pretty funky, and by accident funky stuff. But the trend now is that

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you're going to get a lot more very high quality retail, local breweries serving

local customers to a much higher degree than they have in the past.

RC: Awesome. So what would you say is Pig Pounder's signature beer?

KM: The classic beer for Pig Pounder is the Boar Brown, which has stuck around since

the opening of the brewery with the English style roots in 2014. And that is your

classic northern English brown ale. Think Newcastle but without any caramel

dye. And it's an excellent beer brewed with English ingredients. The only thing

that's American about it is, well aside from the brewer who's making it, would

be the water that we use. We use the Summerfield well water off the High River

basin. And obviously that's going to contribute a little bit there. But that 44:00beer is

definitely the signature. If you ever run across Pig Pounder anywhere, that's the

on you've got to try.

RC: And what is your favorite beer from a North Carolina brewery, other than your

own?

KM: Okay. As a brewer that changes actually every month if not more rapidly. So it's

a tough question to answer but I would take it as like a snapshot in time. So

right now, on May 25th, 2018 and it will change probably next week, because it

will find something else ... That's such a big aspect of the business is trying new

things. So of course, being a nerd in the business, that's what I'm all about. But

right now, I could not advertise enough, Preyer Brewing Company Shrimp Gose

for sure, super cool.

KM: You take a unique and interesting and why would anyone ever use that to make

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a beer ingredient and do it well. That's what's exceptional about it. Lots of times

you get lots of new breweries trying new ingredients lots of time, but it

sometime always work. However this was an excellent example of it working

and working really well. To the point where it could probably win some high

level awards.

RC: Awesome.

KM: So, yeah. I would definitely say that one.

RC: So what is your favorite Pig Pounder beer?

KM: Well again, we'll be coming out with something else in a couple of weeks so it's

... Right now I'm really enjoying the Pigmosa.

RC: Okay.

KM: That's what came out last week. The Pigmosa obviously is a Mimosa beer, so we

brew a relatively conventional ale to start out. But hopefully we emphasize a

little bit of the fruity esters from the ale yeast to come out and the beer is very

light and clean. It starts out at a 4.5 alcohol or something like that and then we

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mix in orange juice, just like you would make a Mimosa. And that brings it down

to about 4.1 % alcohol so it's super clean, super light, super drinkable.

KM: You can have ... You don't have to worry about the alcohol content being so low,

so you can have ... It's definitely a session beer so to speak. You can have two or

three for myself anyway, without worrying about it too much, and so that's

definitely been my jam lately.

RC: Awesome. Awesome. So anything else you'd like to add?

KM: Not really. I would say it's been a pleasure having you guys over here. Thanks for

conducting this project. I think it's really excellent that somebody's caught on to

it and is recording all these weird and crazy stories. Yeah, and I really appreciate

you putting in the effort for it.

RC: Well, thank you very much.

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KM: Yeah.