Brewer Magazine Q&A: Matt Rattner, Karl Strauss Brewing

This is a part of a continuing series of Q&As with members of the brewing community from across the U.S.
Brewer Magazine will share business and personal insights from Brewmasters, Head Brewers, Brewing Managers, Sales Directors, QCQA Managers and others each weekend to help you get to know each other better in the industry and learn more to better develop your own brand.
Matt Rattner, ​President​,​ Karl Strauss Brewing​ — ​San Diego

​BREWER: ​How do you feel your job has had to adapt in the beer market compared to 30 years ago?
RATTNER: Our customers’ tastes have changed, which has been a fun transition to experience. A beer that used to be considered super hoppy when we opened in 1989, is now barely hoppy enough. There are seemingly endless styles of beers to choose from now — from IPAs to Sours to Belgians to Barrel-Aged beers to anything and everything in between. It has been a very tasty three decades so far.

​BREWER: ​Who is your mentor in the industry and why? What have you learned from them?
RATTNER: It’s easy to refer to so many of our friends and colleagues as “mentors.” That’s what craft beer is all about. A rising tide lifts all boats and when one of us has a question, an idea, or a problem, there are so many we can turn to. We are very lucky to be surrounded by an incredible group of independent breweries with talented brewers and passionate team members. And we know we’re not alone in that — San Diego’s beer culture has that same community spirit that is alive and well in beer towns throughout the country.

​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?
RATTNER: We have been around for 30 years, but we refuse to get stuck in our ways. I am very proud to say that we add to our medal case on a regular basis — we won 110 medals in the past decade! The fact that our team is constantly coming up with new and exciting beer releases is something that I am really proud of.

​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)?
RATTNER: Our brewery, tasting room, and home office are already next door to one another, and we’re proud to say we recently added to this Karl Strauss “campus.” We signed a long-term lease for 20,000 square feet of additional warehouse space, which includes a 6,200 square foot cold box and dry goods storage. This allows us to meet demand not only for our own beer, but our brewery partners that we now distribute on-premise.

BREWER: If you had one business strategy that you could implement to better the brewing industry, what would it be?
RATTNER: Make. Great. Beer.​ ​Be in this industry to make the best beer you can, not just to make money.

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