Brewer Magazine Q&A: Jason Ebel, Two Brothers

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.

Jason Ebel, co-founder, Two Brothers Brewing — Warrenville, Illinois

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

EBEL: You have to have a passion for what you do. When my brother and I first started our company over 20 years ago, there were so many days we probably should have quit. But we wanted this to work so badly, so we kept going. That passion is still as strong today as it was 20 years ago and that’s what keeps up going.

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

EBEL: I’ve been in this business for so long and the list of people who have helped me along the way is a big one. The great thing about the craft beer industry is it’s a community. We’ve had a lot of help along the way and we’ve helped some others as well. We wouldn’t be where we are today without all that help.

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

EBEL: A lot. We are always looking for ways to grow and evolve. We now have five restaurants, Two Brothers Coffee Roasters coffee, a distribution company and a new line of Two Brothers Artisan Spirits to go along with our craft beer. We feel that having that brand awareness across all these different areas has been very good for us and really helps us grow. Our newest projects include our spirits, which will be in stores and bars in the coming months, and our new Outlaw Mosaic IPA, which is the latest installment in our Outlaw IPA rotating hop series.

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

EBEL: The market has definitely become more competitive and increasingly difficult the past few years, but we have a strong culture and a strong team of people that know how this industry works after 21 years. That history and our reputation helps us stand out. It lets people know that they are going to get a good product every time, which isn’t always the case now with so much noise and product on the shelf these days. We also have focused on turning Two Brothers into a lifestyle brand. With our restaurants, coffee, distribution company, and now spirits, we have given ourselves several different opportunities for growth outside of just craft beer.

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

EBEL: We love pushing that envelope of flavor and looking for new and innovative ways to brew. We’ve dedicated a lot of time to learning and understanding how to properly brew a sour beer. It’s a tough process, but we are pretty excited with our results. And it’s not just the beer, but the process itself. As we get bigger, we constantly look for way to improve our processes and methods in general, both as a brewery and a company.

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

EBEL: One of our mottos here is that we brew with a purpose. We love to experiment and try new things, but with each beer we brew, we put in the time to make sure each product is something we can really be proud of. I think sometimes in this business, breweries are in a rush to release as many new products as they can. But if you don’t put time and thought into it, quality and flavor is often sacrificed.

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