Changes Abound for Jester King Brewery

The departure of one head brewer means the promotion of another for Jester King Brewery and the Austin, Texas-based facility is looking west to give a hand as well.

The brewery’s Production Manager, Averie Swanson, has become the new head brewer after the departure of Garrett Crowell.

Swanson has been at Jester King for over four years, starting as a volunteer and working her way through an apprenticeship as a brewer up to Head Brewer.

“She has displayed wonderful commitment, intelligence, ingenuity and leadership along the way,” said co-founder Jeffrey Stuffings. “Her promotion is testament to the power of hard work and dedication.”

Stuffing said that Swanson most recently oversaw and ran beer making at Jester King. She coordinated the brewing and fermentation schedule, managed barrel aging, blending, and fruit refermentation, supervised the facilities’ brewers and packaging team, sourced raw materials, came up with new ideas for beers, and fixed innumerable everyday problems through sheer commitment and grit.

“She will continue on with all of these responsibilities as Head Brewer,” he said in a blog post. “On top of all these duties, Averie has been a wealth of new and powerful ideas for other parts of the business, as a member of Jester King’s management team. She has and will continue to represent Jester King with professionalism and class at home and abroad by managing our offsite events and giving brewery tours. Overall, we could not be more pleased with the job Averie has done over the years at Jester King, and can not think of a more deserved and qualified person for this promotion.”


Stuffings, along with fellow co-founder Michael Steffing has also agreed to form a partnership to help Fair Isle Brewing in Seattle, Washington.

Fair Isle is a brewery in planning headed by longtime friend of the brewery, JeAndrew Pogue, and his business partner Geoffrey Barker. The two plan on opening a Seattle brewery focused on mixed culture fermentation and local agriculture in early 2018. Jester King will help along the way with its guidance, advice, and creative input. The brewery will also own a small stake in Fair Isle.

Pogue is an old friend of Stuffings and Steffing and helped the two during Jester King’s early days by building the brewery’s tasting room bar, and also helped brew and bottle and did video and photography work.

“We’re happy and excited to return the favor by helping Andrew and his partner Geoffrey get their vision off the ground and see it succeed,” the Jester King founders wrote in a blog post. “We know Andrew and Geoffrey to be very smart, hardworking, thoughtful individuals, and we expect great things from them in the months and years ahead.”

To get things started with Fair Isle, Jester King brewed a batch of beer together at the Jester King facility in November: A mixed culture farmhouse ale fermented in stainless steel with Washington Fireweed. The beer will be available at Jester King this spring.

Crowell recently announced he was leaving Jester King to open his own brewery about 50 miles west of Austin.

“Garrett has done wonderful work for us during his almost three years as our Head Brewer and two years prior to that as brewer and volunteer,” Stuffings said.

Most notably, Stuffings said Crowell created the brewery’s mixed culture of brewers yeast, native yeast, and native bacteria that it uses to ferment all of its beer, apart from 100 percent spontaneous fermentations.

“Garrett has done an exemplary job helping us make beer tied to a time, place, and people,” Stuffings said. “His work has helped us document our natural surroundings through beer and breath life into our core philosophy. He’s also done a wonderful job representing us publicly and spreading the gospel of mixed culture fermentation.”

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