Brewer Magazine Q&A: Christian Ettinger, Hopworks Urban Brewery

This is a part of a continuing series of Q&As with members of the brewing community from across the U.S.
Brewer Magazine will share business and personal insights from Brewmasters, Head Brewers, Brewing Managers, Sales Directors, QCQA Managers and others each weekend to help you get to know each other better in the industry and learn more to better develop your own brand.

Christian Ettinger, founder & Brewmaster, Hopworks Urban Brewery — Portland, Oregon


BREWER: How has your business strategy evolved to help grow and stay competitive?
ETTINGER: ​Our business strategy has always been rooted in the brewpub model done sustainably. Our early move to grow production and move into cans has been a lifesaver lately. In addition, our DIY sustainability initiatives like green building and organics have evolved into B Corp and 1% For The Planet making us part of a global community of purpose driven businesses held accountable by real metrics and united by passion to do the right thing.

​BREWER: Who is your mentor in the industry and why? What have you learned from them?
ETTINGER: Being a generation 2 brewer in Portland for the last 25 years I have had an amazing opportunity to drink beers with a few of the greats.  Fred Eckhardt, Dean of American Beer writers was a frequent customer and friend, Michael Jackson came through on a beer tour, Jim Kennedy founder of Admiralty Beverage was a frequent customer and friend, and I worked for Karl Ockert at BridgePort Brewery after brewing school on the bottling line.

​BREWER: What idea did you or your team come up with lately that has been a big benefit to how your brewery functions?
ETTINGER: Touch-free takeout and delivery have been an incredible innovation for us here at HUB. We were able to pivot quickly and provide a way for our customers to get beer safely and quickly. It grew our dock sales from 3% of sales to 40% within a week.

​BREWER: If you had one business strategy that you could implement to better the brewing industry, what would it be?
ETTINGER: I would strongly encourage all breweries to look at becoming a B Corp. Benchmarking your current business behavior is an eye opener like no other. The B Corp journey quickly highlighted our successes and gave us a crystal clear direction for future projects and a unique and meaningful marketing platform as well. We are so proud of being part of a community using business and beer as a force for good.

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