LINCOLN, Calif. - Based in a smallbrewery in Lincoln, Knee Deep Brewing Co.is rapidly becoming a giant in the craft brewing industry.
Knee Deep CEO Jerry Moore was good enough to squeeze us in for an interview during the brewery's hectic Beer Week schedule.
Tell us a little bit about the history of the brewery
Jeremy Warren, our Brewmaster and partner, started the brewery two-and-a-half years ago in Nevada. He moved to our 1,000 square-foot brewery in Lincoln in 2010 and started production.
What was behind the decision to move to Lincoln?
Jeremy was living in Nevada where he was going to school at the time. I was living in Granite Bay and learned of the brewery becoming available. It was a turnkey operation with all the equipment ready for an easy, quick start.
How did youdecide on the name Knee Deep?
Jeremy was in the middle of an all-night brewing session in Nevada. He went outside into the snow and found himself knee deep and the name just clicked.
How would you describe Knee Deep's brewing philosophy
Simply make the best craft beer, and most consistent craft beer out there. If we make a consistent high-quality product, people will continue to enjoy drinking it. And that's what it's all about.
Where is it available?
We have growler fills every Friday at the brewery. We're also distributed in 6 different states and at major retailers like Total Wine, BevMo, Whole Foods, and even Costco.
What beers are in Knee Deep's lineup?
Our year-round beers are our "Citra Extra Pale Ale", "Hoptologist Double IPA", "Knee Deep IPA", "Tanilla Vanilla Porter", "Imperial Tanilla Porter", "Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout", "McCarthy's Bane Imperial Red Ale", "Simtra Triple IPA", and "Hop Shortage Triple IPA".
Do you have a flagship beer?
Our "Hoptologist" and "Simtra" are really both our flagship beers.
What's your most popular beer right now?
The two highest selling are "Simtra" and "Hoptologist". We sell them out every month.
Have any of your beers won awards?
"Hoptologist" and "Simtra" have both won awards. And "Simtra" was just rated second in "Beer Magazine's top 30 beers of 2012".
What's your personal favorite?
"Hoptologist" - I wasn't as big an IPA fan originally, butour beers converted me.
Outside of Knee Deep - What's your favorite beer?
I'm a big fans of what Dogfish Head is doing.
What's involved in Knee Deep's process of coming up with a new beer?
Research and sampling. Jeremy is always reading up on the industry to get ideas. We also sample a range of beers. It promotes the creative juices. Jeremy is also very talented on picking out specific hops and how they'll work together.
Knee Deep has done a couple collaboration beers lately, can you explain to those unfamiliar, why brewers do this and why you chose to work with Track 7 and Boulder Brewing?
A collaboration gives brewers the opportunity to get together and share some ideas. Brewmasters will share ideas and compare notes to collaboratively create something that aligns with both their core concepts.
In regards to Track 7, Ryan (Track 7 brewmaster) and Jeremy grew to really respect each other after meeting at several events. We brewed two batches of the our "Knee Deep in Beer Week" beer - one at Knee Deep and the other at Track 7. The Knee Deep batch was bottled and distributed to BevMo stores in Sacramento and San Francisco. The Track 7 batch was kegged.
The Boulder Brewing rep is a friend who likes our creations a lot, so Jeremy and Boulder's brewer got together. One thing kind of led to another and they came up with "Shakenbake" rye IPA.
Both collaborative beers were brewed in conjunction with San Francisco and Sacramento Beer Weeks.
What are your goals for 2013?
Expansion, expansion and expansion. We actually have a major announcement coming in 2-3 weeks.
Is the goal to go nationwide?
What do you make of the Sacramento craft beer scene?
Sacramento has a great deal of potential. It's in its infancy, but so is the industry in general. I see really good things, and I expect it to be a hub in the next two years.
Besides your beer, what do you feel separates you from other breweries?
I don't know if I can say "besides" our beer. It really is the quality of our beer. You can do all the advertising and have all the hype but if the quality's missing in the beer, people aren't going to come back.
You have 10 minutes left to live and you can drink 1 last beer. What is it?
Our Barrel Aged Imperial Tanilla