Brewer Magazine Q&A: Brent Cordle, Odell Brewing

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.
Brent Cordle, Head Brewer of RiNo Brewhouse, Odell Brewing — Denver/Fort Collins, Colorado

BREWER: How do you feel your job has had to adapt in the beer market compared to a few years ago?

CORDLE: Innovation and quick reflexes to this evolving market is more important now than it’s ever been. The ability to see what’s popular, what people want and keep new and exciting products on the shelves is imperative. My job is directly involved with product development so I stay busy. Brewing on a 10-bbl system enables us to try new styles and concepts out on a small scale, and in turn get the feedback we need from our taproom customers and co-owners. We always have plenty of new and interesting styles that can only be found exclusively here at the RiNo Brewhouse.

BREWER: Who is your mentor in the industry and why? What have you learned from them?
CORDLE: My mentor without a doubt is Odell Brewing’s COO, Brendan McGivney.  Too many reasons to list but here are a few. First, Brendan has taught me how to be a professional inside and outside brewery walls. Second would be the importance of detailed cleanliness from brew day, to tap day, and every step between has a direct influence on the finished product.  Brendan has guided me from packaging, cellar, production brewing and to where I’m at today as a head brewer. His knowledge in brewing science and every facet of a large production brewery is second to none and I continue to learn every time we chat about beer, while enjoying a beer.

BREWER: Can you share a success story that you are proud of in your job or maybe a story of how you learned from a situation that has altered your thoughts on how you do your job now?
CORDLE: Being apart of the RiNo Brewhouse project has been a success that I’m proud of. It was the first time I had ever sat at the table with architects, contractors and brewhouse manufacturers.  It was a humbling experience to understand the process and how each team must work together in order to have the correct end result. Every detail is important. I was basically along for the ride with other Odell co-owners who have the experience from previous expansion projects, but I learned a ton and consider myself better prepared for the next time if and when it comes along.

BREWER: Can you touch on something your brewery has added lately that’s unique or making your business more successful (it could be equipment, technology or people)?
CORDLE: In late 2017 we added a hammer mill to our collection of brewing toys. This enables us to take whole flower hops and create our “fresh grind” hops. What this process does is release or “Rupture” the lupulin glands from within the hop cones and create a much fresher aroma instantly. We take these fresh ground hops and infuse them directly into our wort or beer on the same day to capture all of that fresh essence and deliciousness. Rupture Fresh Grind IPA, was coined from this process. Keep your eye out for Hammer Chain Double IPA releasing in a few months which will use the same exciting process.

BREWER: If you had one business strategy that you could implement to better the brewing industry, what would it be?
CORDLE: I have three but they are all equally important to me. 1) Always innovate, keep a finger on the pulse of the industry and don’t get comfortable. Be agile. 2) Ensure quality before packaging, implement lab testing ASAP. ABC – Always Be Cleaning. Brewers are just glorified janitors, ask any of us. The ones that clean well usually have great beer. 3) Quality before quantity. One bad batch of beer in the market can ruin your reputation. Don’t be afraid to dump some bad beer to salvage the brand. It’s worth it.

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