Brewer Magazine Q&A: Kurt Randall, Ska Brewing

This is a part of a continuing series of Q&As with brewers from across the U.S.

Brewer Magazine will share business and personal insights from Brewmasters, Head Brewers, Brewing Managers and others each Wednesday to help you, a fellow brewer, Brewmaster or brewing manager get to know each other better in the industry and learn more to better develop your own brand.

Kurt Randall, Head Brewer, Ska Brewing — Durango, Colorado

BREWER: What is a lesson learned within your position that sticks with you to this day?

RANDALL: It takes longer for anything to get to Durango. I am planning 3-4 weeks ahead

BREWER: Who is your mentor in the industry and why? What have your learned from them?

RANDALL: Matt Brophy of Flying Dog Brewery. When I first started in the industry he was the Head Brewer. He kept an even keel and always had an answer to any question I ever asked. I enjoyed working for him and learning from him.

BREWER: What have you added to your brewery lately that’s unique or making your business more successful?

RANDALL: In true Ska fashion we are pushing the limits on styles and releasing beers we want to drink.

BREWER: In today’s business climate for craft beer, how will your brewery grow?

RANDALL: Sustainably. We have no desire to be the next nationwide brewery. We are sticking close to our roots and keeping Durango and the Four Corners saturated in great beer.

BREWER: What sort of innovations in craft beer excite you?

RANDALL: Pushing limits. Looking at traditional styles in a new light and using ingredients not typically associated with beer

BREWER: If you had one strategy that you could implement to better the craft beer business, what would it be?

RANDALL: Better understanding and communication with your hop suppliers. Most of us are over-contracted and using them as creatively as possible. A lot of breweries are not contracting for hops because they can buy them off the Internet for less than they were originally contracted for. Eventually the tables will turn and we will all be scrambling for hops.

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