Brewer Magazine Q&A: Scott Ungermann, Anchor Brewing

This is the first in a series of Q&As which we hope will be a long-lasting weekly feature with brewers from across the United States. 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.

Scott Ungermann, Brewmaster, Anchor Brewing – San Francisco

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

UNGERMANN: Safety and quality matter more than anything else. Safety because you care about the people, quality because you care about the beer and the people that drink it. It all comes back to people.

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

UNGERMANN: Like all of us, I have several mentors, but here are my top four brewing mentors:

  • Dr. Michael Lewis taught me that all brewing knowledge is a vast landscape of human  and biological interactions, and that you never stop learning.
  • Joe Hertrich taught me the importance of understanding where all my raw materials come from and how they’re processed.
  • Mark Carpenter taught me how to make the perfect Steam Beer.
  • Fritz Maytag taught me the importance of having vision.

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

UNGERMANN: We added mobile hopping units for dry-hopping that we call the Tacocat. They allow us the opportunity to dry hop our beers much more aggressively.  We also added a 7-barrel pilot brewery and tap room called Anchor Public Taps last year that allows us to be much more focused in our innovations and to sell them directly to customers right here in San Francisco.

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

UNGERMANN: For us there are two main strategies: First — we need to focus on our flagship — Anchor Steam Beer. It is a beautiful and unique beer that is synonymous with San Francisco. We need to remind the city and the world of the beauty of this beer by allowing people the opportunity to try this beer if they never have, or pick one up again if they haven’t had it in a while. Next, we need to continue to innovate, we need to give the people what they want. If the people want IPAs, then we need to brew more IPAs.

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

UNGERMANN: The concept of “Juicy” intrigues me. There are so many ways to arrive at juiciness and so many wonderful flavors and aromas to bring out in beer whether that is done with just hops, or with hops and juices and purees.

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

UNGERMANN: Better consumer education. The more people know about beer, about how it’s made, about all the wonderful styles and techniques that continue to evolve, the more they will enjoy our beers and want to share them with their friends.

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