How Gentry Plans to Connect Hello Monty to Community

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.

Clay Gentry, Brewer/co-owner, Dynamo Brewing & Beverage/Hello Monty — Chattanooga, Tennessee

BREWER: What do you feel have been new challenges in your position that have helped push you and make you better at your job?
GENTRY: Designing my own brewery has been an interesting challenge. The new system takes time to master, even for someone who has brewed professionally almost 30 years. The brewery at Dynamo has a fantastic visual element of horizontal conditioning/serving tanks behind the bar. Providing an interesting and exciting beer drinking experience, this system allows for the freshest pour available while also engaging the guest — both important elements to the serving experience. 

BREWER: Why did you enter the craft beer industry and what makes you love being a part of it and staying in it?
GENTRY: I made my foray into craft brewing in 1993, managing brewing operations and designing breweries for Big River restaurants across the country. The opportunity to learn something new every day is what makes this profession so enjoyable. Also, watching people enjoy the beer first hand is an experience that is hard to duplicate.

BREWER: What are some recent trends in brewing that you’ve tried or are excited about trying?
GENTRY: I’ve been exploring the trends of using more local ingredients and producing more traditional style beers. The focus on sustainability is very important to me.

BREWER: What was your business’s greatest accomplishment during the past year, and what are your goals for your brewery this year?
GENTRY: One of my greatest achievements during the past year was getting our core beers to a state of consistency. (See above about mastering a new brewing system!) A goal for this year is teaching the market our beer culture.

BREWER: What are some changes in the industry that you’ve observed in the past few years, and how has your business adapted to stay competitive?
GENTRY: Material cost increase is a recent and very real challenge. Inflation has taken a toll on breweries. Beer has always been a more affordable “working man’s” beverage but breweries have been forced to raise prices. The shift to session style beers that are lower in alcohol and bitterness, which means people can enjoy more than one or two pints during a gathering, has enabled us to adapt somewhat.

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