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Consuming the Craft

Jeff "Puff" Irvin

Interviews and entertainment in the craft beverage industry. Join Puff as he explores the wonderful world of craft beer!
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John Hedburg is the founder of Bottle Rocket Design, an alumni graduate of the Craft Beer Institute program, and a web designer for craft beer breweries across the industry.

John joins me today to discuss how to build brand loyalty by designing a stellar website. He shares the factors you should consider when planning your website design, the importance of using professional photos and videos on your website, and the difference between using a website builder platform such as Wix or Squarespace versus hiring a professional web designer. He also explains why it’s important to design your website with a mobile-first mindset, how to create engaging and relevant content to build your brand and website authority, and why it’s important to keep your website content up-to-date in an ever-changing online environment.

This week on Consuming the Craft:

  • The most important factors to consider when designing a website for your craft beer brewery.
  • The information your website should include.
  • Copywriting best practices when creating text content for your website.
  • The importance of using pictures and videos on your website.
  • Why you should hire a professional photographer for your website photos.
  • Optimizing your website for viewing on desktop and mobile devices.
  • The Booze Clues Armagnac surprise.
  • The limitations of website building platforms like Wix and Squarespace.
  • Having a mobile-first website strategy.
  • How to create relevant, engaging content to keep website visitors coming back to your site.
  • The importance of keeping your website content up-to-date.

Connect with John Hedburg:

This episode is brought to you by...

McConnell Farms - Taste the Way You Remember. Enjoy homemade ciders and ice cream made from only the best produce on the market. Visit the McConnell Farms website to learn more our seasonal inventory and delicious creations you can make with our homegrown produce.

Consuming the Craft is produced by Podcraft. You can create your own great podcast - faster and easier - at Podcraft.com

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Jen Currier is the Maven Wood Cellarman at Wicked Weed Brewing Company and a graduate of the Craft Beer Institute. At Wicked Weed, she works in the sour production facility where she focuses her skills on creating unique, sour beers. She holds an Associate degree in Applied Science, Brewing, Distillation, and Fermentation from the Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College and a Bachelor’s degree in Human Biology from North Carolina State University.

Jen joins me today to share her career journey into crafting sour beer and the new Wicked Weed beverages hitting the market. She shares some of the flavor profiles she’s used when crafting sour beer and why she believes craft beer should not maintain a consistent taste from batch to batch. We also discuss how we can improve the Booze Clues peach brandy and enjoy a second serving Booze Clues with a snotty Black Angel sour black ale.

This week on Consuming the Craft:

  • How Jen got started in sour beer production.
  • Various flavor profiles she’s used to craft unique sour beer flavors.
  • The daunting task of preparing pears for beer production.
  • Why she believes beer should not maintain a consistent taste.
  • Booze Clues peach brandy.
  • Double shot of Booze Clues with sour black ale.
  • Jen’s first experience with ‘snotty’ PDO.
  • Why she believes yeast needs a rebrand.
  • What is spontaneous beer?

This episode is brought to you by...

McConnell Farms - Taste the Way You Remember. Enjoy homemade ciders and ice cream made from only the best produce on the market. Visit the McConnell Farms website to learn more our seasonal inventory and delicious creations you can make with our homegrown produce.

Consuming the Craft is produced by Podcraft. You can create your own great podcast - faster and easier - at Podcraft.com

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Eric Lebsack is the Seller Master of Ponysaurus Brewing Company. Ponysaurus is a 6,000 square-foot brewery with locations in Asheville, Charlotte, Wilmington, Greensboro, Raleigh, and Durham. They are known as a forward-thinking, backward-tasting brewery dedicated to creating a beer designed to be savored and appreciated.

Eric joins me today for a double dose of Booze Clues to discuss the new products Ponysaurus plans to release into the marketplace. He explains why it’s crucial for brewers to get the flavor of new beers ‘just right’ before they hit the market and the evolution of your senses as a craft brew drinker. We also discuss rum-injected Boston butts, using wormwood in your brewing recipes, and how distilleries get that interesting green color in liquor.

This week on Consuming the Craft:

  • How Eric got started at Ponysaurus.
  • The Booze Clues Brown Spirit Surprise.
  • The new barrel and can beers Ponysaurus expects to hit the market soon.
  • The importance of ensuring the flavor of a new beer is ‘right’ before releasing it into the marketplace.
  • Injecting Boston butts with Captain Morgan.
  • A double dose of Booze Clues.
  • Using wormwood in your brewing recipes.
  • How distilleries make green-colored liquor.
  • What’s next for Ponysaurus?

Connect with Eric Lebsack:

This episode is brought to you by...

McConnell Farms - Taste the Way You Remember. Enjoy homemade ciders and ice cream made from only the best produce on the market. Visit the McConnell Farms website to learn more our seasonal inventory and delicious creations you can make with our homegrown produce.

Consuming the Craft is produced by Podcraft. You can create your own great podcast - faster and easier - at Podcraft.com

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Diane Currier is the founder of Honeygirl Meadery, a meadery based in Durham, North Carolina. Diane first discovered mead after visiting her sister in Alaska and experiencing her first taste. In 2012, after earning a second-place ribbon at the North Carolina State Fair for her hibiscus lemon thyme mead recipe, she decided to launch her company with the goal of producing high-quality, handmade meads that promote and support beekeeping and honeybees while improving their natural habitats.

Diane joins me today to explain what mead is and how she learned the art and science of mead-making. She shares how she finds inspiration for new mead flavors, the current trends happening in the mead industry, and why she decided to venture into making session meads. She also discusses the ‘grassroots’ of the Mead Revival and how she has grown - and helped establish - the culture of mead making.

This week on Consuming the Craft:

  • What inspired Diane’s passion for mead-making?
  • How she learned to make mead.
  • The pre- and post-production processes of mead-making.
  • How she finds inspiration for new mead flavors.
  • Pairing flavor profiles of mead to compliment food dishes.
  • Trends currently happening in the mead industry.
  • Why she decided to venture into session meads.
  • Why she believes it’s important that mead drinkers are more adventurous than brand loyal.
  • Why mead makes great-tasting cocktails.
  • How to find mead products at your local wine and spirits store.
  • How the techniques used in the mead making world have evolved.

Resources Mentioned:

Connect with Diane Currier:

This episode is brought to you by...

McConnell Farms - Taste the Way You Remember. Enjoy homemade ciders and ice cream made from only the best produce on the market. Visit the McConnell Farms website to learn more our seasonal inventory and delicious creations you can make with our homegrown produce.

Consuming the Craft is produced by Podcraft. You can create your own great podcast - faster and easier - at Podcraft.com

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Chris Harshman is a ‘Whiskey Enthusiast’ and the Director of Technology Services at A-B Tech Community College in Asheville, NC. Chris holds a Full Stack Web Development Certification and Computer Software Engineering Certification from Free Code Camp, a Bachelor’s degree from Elon University, and a Law degree from Temple University. Additionally, he holds a Green Belt in Lean Six Sigma and a PMP Certification from the Project Management Institute.

Chris joins me today to share how he became a whiskey and bourbon enthusiast and why he believes there’s ‘no wrong way’ to drink bourbon. He describes the various ways he enjoys drinking good bourbon and shares how staying hydrated throughout the day impacts your experience. He also discusses the sensory experiences and challenges that many bourbon judges and tasters experience when judging various types of bourbons as well as the differences between store picked and non-store picked bourbons.

This week on Consuming the Craft:

  • What inspired Chris’s enthusiasm with whiskey.
  • Why your taste for whiskey may change as you get older.
  • How he enjoys drinking bourbon.
  • How proper hydration impacts your experience of drinking alcoholic beverages.
  • The challenges associated with whiskey and bourbon tasting and judging.
  • Why it’s important for bourbon judges to swallow the bourbon, instead of spitting it out, when judging different bourbons.
  • What aromatic compounds are and how they impact your whiskey tasting experience.
  • How the processing process impacts the ‘mouth feel’ while drinking whiskey and bourbon.
  • The benefits of “barrel picking” and the importance of distillers establishing relationships with vendors.
  • The Booze Clues Old Weller store pick vs non-store pick bourbon challenge.
  • My 10-part whiskey tasting method.
  • How your sensory memory and recognition impacts your preferred whiskey choices.
  • Does non-chill filtering truly change the taste of whiskey?

Connect with Chris Harshman:

This episode is brought to you by...

McConnell Farms - Taste the Way You Remember. Enjoy homemade ciders and ice cream made from only the best produce on the market. Visit the McConnell Farms website to learn more our seasonal inventory and delicious creations you can make with our homegrown produce.

Consuming the Craft is produced by Podcraft. You can create your own great podcast - faster and easier - at Podcraft.com

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Audra Gaiziunas is the founder and CEO of Brewed for Her Ledger, a management consultancy firm helping businesses and entrepreneurs in the craft brewing and cider communities improve profitability through business plan reviews, operational auditing, designing financial management systems, and providing full-service bookkeeping solutions. She is a Maven of Breweries and Wineries that has worked exclusively in the craft beer industry for a decade. She holds an undergraduate degree in accounting and business management from Loras College and a graduate degree from the prestigious Kenan-Flagler OneMBA Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Audra joins me today to share how she became known as a “fractional CEO” and beer maven. She shares her first experience of home brewing an all-grain smoked porter beer and why she runs half marathons for beer. She explains how your systems and processes impact your numbers and why it’s important to regularly review and update your Chart of Accounts. She also shares some of the most common mistakes she sees small breweries and wineries make as well as the benefits of working with a “fractional CEO” to improve your business operations and increase profits.

This week on Consuming the Craft:

  • What is a “Fractional CEO” for breweries and wineries?
  • How Audra helps brewery and winery CEO’s bridge the gap between their passion for bubbly beer and understanding the numbers.
  • Her first foray into home brewing.
  • Why she runs a half marathon to “earn her beer.”
  • How your systems and processes can help you improve your numbers without sacrificing quality.
  • The benefits of working with a “fractional CEO.”
  • The impact of trying to micromanage your brewery employees.
  • The most common mistakes Audra has seen in breweries and wineries.
  • The Super Boozey Booze Clues orange golden toffee liquor and the unconventional lessons Audra has learned from her mother.
  • The different flavor profiles between blackcurrant and redcurrant.
  • Audra’s mother’s Eastern European spirit concoctions - including her interesting take on a traditional cavass recipe.
  • The interesting - yet unknown - Lithuanian beer culture.
  • Why the Lithuanian beer culture is the heart of craft artisan beer.
  • The Game of Thrones Viking Effect of mead.

Connect with Audra Gaiziunas:

This episode is brought to you by...

McConnell Farms - Taste the Way You Remember. Enjoy homemade ciders and ice cream made from only the best produce on the market. Visit the McConnell Farms website to learn more our seasonal inventory and delicious creations you can make with our homegrown produce.

Consuming the Craft is produced by Podcraft. You can create your own great podcast - faster and easier - at Podcraft.com

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Sara Stender is the empress of loose-leaf tea. She is the founding CEO of 3 Mountains, LLC., the Founder and Executive Director of Africa Healing Exchange, and the owner of Tima Tea. After learning about the Rwandan genocide at the age of 22, she was on a mission to help the Rwandan people and ecomony. By 2012, she founded the Africa Healing Exchange and in 2016, 3 Mountains and Tima Tea were born. Tima Tea currently offers several organic tea products including black tea, green tea, tulsi lemongrass tea, silver tea, and white tea with several new flavors expected to hit the market soon.

Sara joins me today to discuss how the Rwandan genocide inspired her mission to bring direct Rwandan tea to the US while helping to improve the Rwandan economy. She explains the difference between bag tea and loose-leaf tea and explains how tea bags were actually created by mistake. We discuss the unhealthy side effects of drinking bag tea and how sales from Tima Tea helps grow the Rwandan economy and inspire communities. She also shares some of the latest ventures and products Tima Tea expects to release this year.

This week on Consuming the Craft:

  • What’s included in the Get Loose Kit.
  • The unhealthy side effects of drinking bag tea.
  • The Booze Clues Sparkling Mushroom Tea surprise - Tea in a wine glass?
  • What inspired her mission to bring Rwandan-direct tea to the United States.
  • The creation of Tima Tea’s upcoming products: Harvest Gold and Platinum.
  • Blending black tea with a sweet apple juice flavor.
  • Why they decided to put a gorilla on the can design.
  • Tima Tea’s newest venture: The Tulsi Lemongrass Tea
  • How Tima Tea sales are helping to build legacies in Rwanda as well as improve its economy.

Connect with Sara Stender:

Consuming the Craft is produced by Podcraft. You can create your own great podcast - faster and easier - at Podcraft.com

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CBI010 Improving Quality & Consistency of Fermented Brews with Dan Kuleric of Precision Fermentation

Dan Kuleric is the COO of Precision Fermentation. Since it’s founding in 2017, Precision Fermentation has been dedicated to providing real-time monitoring solutions to craft brewers that dramatically enhance their control over the fermentation process. With over 20 years of experience in the brewing industry, Dan is passionate about craft beer and the people that produce it.

Dan joins me today to share how Precision Fermentation got started and how they help brewers improve the quality of their craft while working more efficiently. He explains what the BrewMonitor is and how the data it collects helps brewers ensure brew consistency from batch to batch. He also explains how the system allows brewers to spend more time with their families while monitoring the fermentation process in real-time through the use of technology and artificial intelligence.

This week on Consuming the Craft:

  • How Precision Fermentation got started and how they help brewers improve the way they monitor the fermentation process.
  • What the BrewMonitor is and how it helps brewers monitor the quality of their fermented brewed products.
  • How CBI plans to use the BrewMonitor with our students.
  • How the data collected with the BrewMonitor can help brewers ensure brew consistency.
  • How the BrewMonitor uses AI technology to alert brewers when their fermentation benchmarks are not met.
  • The Booze Clues ‘Hoppy Pale Ale’ surprise.
  • What’s next for Precision Fermentation?

Connect with Dan Kuleric:

Consuming the Craft is produced by Podcraft. You can create your own great podcast - faster and easier - at Podcraft.com

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Leah Howard is the owner of H&H Distillery, a 4-year-old craft spirits distillery based in Asheville, NC. H&H Distillery currently distills three great-tasting spirits: Hazel 63 Rum, Asheville Coffee Liqueur, and Hwy 9 Gin - all of which are available in ABC stores throughout North Carolina as well as select locations in Illinois.

Leah joins me today to share the story of how H&H Distillery got started, why they decided to spend the first full year in business focusing on crafting their product, and the importance of learning to properly run and manage your still before launching your product into the market. She explains the risks and legal implications associated with home distilling and the challenges many small distilleries face regarding the new bills and legislation occurring in the industry. She also explains the importance of connecting with others within the craft beverage community, how it can impact the growth of your business.

This week on Consuming the Craft:

  • How H&H Distillery was born.
  • Why it took the company a full year to release their first product to the marketplace.
  • The importance of developing your product before bringing it to market.
  • The legal amount of wine and beer you can make in a home-based brewery.
  • The risks and legal regulations regarding distilling at home.
  • The challenges associated with selling craft spirits.
  • New laws, bills, and legislation occurring in the industry that can affect small craft spirit distilleries.
  • The difference sales codes distillers must comply with in order to sell their products to consumers.
  • The Booze Clues ruby red cocktail surprise.
  • The importance of connecting and networking with other professionals in the industry.
  • How cultivated cocktails enhance the customer’s drinking experience.
  • The concept behind the Bro Wall, Tampon Flasks, and Cocktail Cans.

Connect with Leah Howard:

This episode is brought to you by...

McConnell Farms - Taste the Way You Remember. Enjoy homemade ciders and ice cream made from only the best produce on the market. Visit the McConnell Farms website to learn more our seasonal inventory and delicious creations you can make with our homegrown produce.

Consuming the Craft is produced by Podcraft. You can create your own great podcast - faster and easier - at Podcraft.com

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