Q&A with Coronado Head Brewer Mark Theisen

Mark Theisen was recently named the Head Brewer for Coronado Brewing.

A veteran of the craft beer industry Theisen came from another brewery to Coronado two and a half years ago. His background assisted in understanding that there is more than one right way to do something, it is important to remain open minded and maintain a collaborative spirit.

“Always think in context of the bigger picture,” he said. “Be willing to learn and to accept you don’t know everything. The more willing you are to hear other ideas and evolve the more effective leader you can be. Being with Coronado and having such a supportive management team also allowed me to relax and put everything into context. “I make beer, it’s fun” has sort of became the unofficial mantra for the production team it allows us to re-center be positive and make the best product we can.”

More from Coronado’s new Head Brewer:

BREWER: I see you like to design things: beers and buildings (Theisen has a degree in City Planning). What is it about creativity in brewing that excites you?

THEISEN: Honestly, I never really considered the design connection between the two, but I like the idea of creating something that can be experienced.  When I was studying city planning I was fascinated by public space.  When designing a space, you must consider sight, sound, smell etc. and how they play into the perception of place.  Beer is a very sensory experience.  When designing a beer, I often reverse engineer it from an experience.  I want the tastes and smells to act as memory recall triggers.

BREWER: On the flip side, what about today’s craft beer climate frustrates you?

THEISEN: I don’t have a lot of frustrations with today’s beer climate to be honest. One thing I found interesting recently is the whole hazy vs. bright IPA debate.  Some people in the industry are frustrated that it has caught on to such an extent because it goes against what they have come to accept as a standard. But what I love about American craft beer that in the grand scheme of things we are still the new kids, and nothing is off the table from a creative standpoint. I feel like we have gotten to where we are by understanding and appreciating where we’ve been and using that knowledge as a path to the future rather than a roadblock. I hope that what we do doesn’t ever get so mired in tradition that we aren’t willing to push boundaries.

 

BREWER: Where does a craft beer producer in this climate of business look for growth? How is Coronado dealing with that thought process and how do you play a part in the overall plan for growth?

THEISEN: I think the answer is in diversification, not just stylistically (which is also important). As a distribution brewery it is important to release new, exciting and different beers occasionally. The craft beer consumer is constantly becoming more beer savvy so as a brewer we need to stay on top of trends. I think it’s becoming crucial to be more than just a distribution brewery that makes interesting cutting-edge beers. I think satellite locations are a great way to diversify. As the amount of craft breweries in the United States continues to multiply it is important to maintain that sense of community. I like that you can get a pint of Islander IPA in Chicago while we are still the local brewpub or taproom in a few different parts of San Diego county. I think my role in that scenario is to ensure that the distribution beer fosters that same community spirit while maintaining the standards of consistency and quality across all locations.

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