Can Growing Pains Develop Future Growth? Lift Bridge’s Ust Thinks So

This is a part of a continuing series of Q&As with members of the brewing community from across the US.
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.

Randy Ust, Director of Operations​/​Head Brewer​, Lift Bridge Brewing — Stillwater, Minnesota​

BREWER: ​Why did you enter the craft beer industry and what makes you love being a part of it and staying in it?
​UST: ​Like most brewers, I started home brewing and decided this would be a lot more fun than what I was doing! I love seeing people enjoying one of our beers. It solidifies my decision to get into the industry. It’s all about sharing the moment with the perfect pairing, and I feel grateful to be a part of that process.

​BREWER: ​What do you feel have been new challenges in your position that have helped push you and make you better at your job?
​UST: The top three would be staffing, supply chain issues and price increases. I work very hard every day to build a good culture for my production team. Without them, we would not be able to do what we do and create amazing brews for our customers. As far as supply chain issues and pricing, it’s important to be resourceful to make sure we can get what we need in time for production and distribution while avoiding high costs. It definitely requires flexibility and creativity.

​BREWER: ​How has the definition of growth for your company evolved and how have you adjusted to be successful in that new definition?
​UST: The definition of growth is ever-changing in this industry. There is always a new product or trend that you need to adapt to and it’s so important that we keep our ears to the ground to stay up-to-date with changes in the craft beer world. As we grow we learn more about the dos and don’ts of the industry, there are many ways we can innovate. Some of the hardest growing pains develop into really great procedures for future growth.

BREWER: ​What strategic growth opportunity do you feel is still “out there” for your brand and how are you working on capitalizing on it this year?
​UST: Creating fresh and innovative brands as well as RTDs are areas for growth. We’re always looking to pair creations with the next big thing while staying true to the brews that our customers know and love. When it comes to RTDs, we see really exciting opportunities for us to grow and better enter the space. It’s definitely an exciting time to find new ways to innovate, and our customers are always thrilled when we come out with new brews. Having such loyal customers gives us more opportunities to experiment and try new things. This is what I love about the industry.

​BREWER: ​If you had one business strategy that you could implement to better the brewing industry, what would it be?
​UST: I think all consumers should start drinking more craft Pilsners so we can brew more of them! We obviously strategize our brewing tactics based on supply and demand, but finding a way to get people excited about Pilsners would be key to bettering the brewing industry (maybe I’m a little biased due to my love for Pilsners).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *