Brewer Magazine Q&A: Molly Eveleth, Swamp Head Brewery

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 weekend 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.

Molly Eveleth, QA/QC Manager​,​ Swamp Head Brewery​ — Gainesville, Florida​

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

​EVELETH: Probably the biggest lesson that I learned early on is that communication is key. An issue can often be solved a lot faster if you let it be known, instead of just trying to fix it on your own. Trust the people around you and use their knowledge to your advantage.

​BREWER: Who is your mentor in the industry and why? What have you learned from them?
​EVELET​H: ​It’s impossible to choose between these two guys, one of whom is Matt Burnstein. He’s currently the lab manager at SweetWater, and he played a huge part in introducing me to quality in the brewing industry. My other mentor is Nick Dunn, my current boss. From Day 1, he has taught me that you can never be done improving; that there is always something that can be done in a better way, and that there is always an achievable solution to any problem. He has such a vast knowledge of beer and is constantly encouraging me to keep learning and growing our lab.

​BREWER: What have you added to your brewery lately that’s unique or making your business more successful?
​EVELETH: ​Over the past couple of years we have become a lot more self-sufficient as a brewery, in many areas of production. Our lab now produces 100 percent of our yeast in-house, which saves money and allows us more freedom to experiment with different beer styles and yeast strains.

​BREWER: ​In today’s business climate for craft beer, how will your brewery grow?
​EVELETH: ​What’s unique about Swamp Head is that we never plan to grow outside the state of Florida. Our goal is to be “Florida’s brewery,” so that allows us to focus on expanding in our current markets, which for me is exciting from a quality perspective. By continually improving quality and consistently putting good beer out into the market, we will be able to continue to beer and steadily grow.

​BREWER: What sort of innovations in craft beer excite you?
​EVELETH​:I’m excited by anything that allows us to learn something new! When there’s a new trendy style out there that we want to put our own spin on, the process of making pilot batches, experimenting with new yeast strains, and all the other aspects that go into it allow us to learn quite a bit. So I’d say that the continuous innovation happening as far as new and altered beer styles is what’s most exciting to me.

​BREWER: If you had one strategy that you could implement to better the craft beer business, what would it be?
​EVELETH: I think as far as the current state of the industry, the main thing we need to focus on is improving quality across the board. If a consumer drinks your beer for the first time and there is an issue with it, there’s a slim chance he or she will continue to purchase your brand. Especially if this person is new to craft beer, they may decide they’d rather not take the chance on another bad beer and just stick to their usual macro beer. This hurts the craft industry as a whole, and I would love to see more breweries investing in their lab and quality programs.

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