Brewer Magazine Q&A: Cody Welch, Freetail Brewing

This is a part of a monthly series of Q&As with members of the cider community from across the U.S. Brewer Magazine will share business and personal insights from decision makers in the cider industry to help you get to know each other better and learn more to better develop your own brand.

Cody Welch, Head Brewer, Freetail Brewing — San Antonio, Texas

BREWER: How do you feel your job has had to adapt in the beer market compared to a few years ago?
WELCH: Good isn’t enough anymore. Beer drinkers are paying more attention to quality, raw ingredients, and marketing than ever before. If our beer isn’t perfect or if we miss the mark on something, drinkers will let us know.

BREWER: Who is your mentor in the industry and why? What have you learned from them?
WELCH: Brian Mandeville, of Fine Creek Brewing Company in Powhatan, Viriginia. We worked together at Fullsteam Brewery in Durham, North Carolina. Brian’s attention to detail and work ethic are infectious. The dedication to craft beer as a whole that Brian has is what everyone should strive for. The biggest thing I learned from him is that no detail is too small. If you want to make great beer, keep great records.

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?
WELCH: A couple of stories come to mind, but my favorite is definitely having to rent and drive a 20,000-pound boom forklift in a very small, uneven parking lot. I have experience driving a Bobcat and small tractors. Those were nothing compared to this forklift . When the forklift got delivered the company handed me the keys and said have fun. After a few minutes of getting familiar with the controls the tanks showed it. We got the tanks unloaded and upright with minimal cussing and pain. After that experience it really boosted my confidence that I have the skills and knowledge to be in this industry. I’m far more willing to try things that I used to be intimidated by.

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)?
WELCH: We’ve had some pretty cool upgrades around the brewery recently. We added the Marks Hop Delivery System to improve our dry hop technique. We’ve seen a big improvement in our hop utilization compared to the over the top method. We’ve also added the Chai qPCR to our lab. It’s been great having nearly real-time results on our products. Having this information has helped us improve the ways we clean and sanitize around the brewery.

BREWER: If you had one business strategy that you could implement to better the brewing industry, what would it be?
WELCH: Never ask someone to do something you’re not willing to do yourself. If I’m not comfortable doing something myself why would I put my coworkers in the same situation. I believe this mentality can be used in every aspect of the brewing industry. From production and sales to the tap room and marketing

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