The Big Shift That Singley Sees in the Industry

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.

Devin Singley, Head Brewer, Local Time Brewing — Holly Springs, North Carolina

BREWER: What do you feel have been new challenges in your position that have helped push you and make you better at your job?
SINGLEY: Not here, but my last job was head brewer at a place that did contract brewing. I worked with people who had varying levels of experience. Sometimes I was the teacher, some times the student. I would often brew for three different beer companies in a week. By working closely with so many people, you learn a lot. Beer company A might want to use local malt that requires mill gap adjustments. B might have a water technique that’s uncommon and C might need my help scaling their recipes.   

BREWER: Why did you enter the craft beer industry and what makes you love being a part of it and staying in it?
SINGLEY: I love the history and culture of beer. I actually used to be a librarian at a public library before being a brewer. I entered after economic forces closed my library and I needed a new career. I love making things, sharing stories, and being a part of a gathering place.  

BREWER: What are some recent trends within your job and expertise in the industry that you’ve tried or are excited about trying?
SINGLEY: Advanced hop products. The way we use hops in beer has been constantly evolving- from whole cones to pellets to extract. The way we hop beers is constantly changing. The way I approach dry hopping now is completely different from how I did it 10 years ago. If hops could start over today, without any preconceived notions of how to them, they would be put in the form of extracts. The craft brewers market is now more interested in using hop extracts and some very creative products are coming out that have deeper aroma and more flavor.  

BREWER: What was your business’s greatest accomplishment during the past year, and what are your goals for your brewery this year?
SINGLEY: For us, just opening the door was the big accomplishment! Next year I want to find ways to add some small package beer and possibly barrel aging.  

BREWER: What are some changes in the industry that you’ve observed in the past few years, and how has your business adapted to it to stay competitive?
SINGLEY: The biggest shift has been from needing to be big, to needing to be small. The going business model used to be that a brewery would get a cheap warehouse for space, and brew a lot of beer to sell to the open market. Now the pendulum has swung back to smaller locations in accessible spots, with small batches produced so the offerings can constantly rotate. The money used to be in distribution, now it’s all in taprooms. Local Time opened with the ‘smaller is better’ mentality. We can supply our taproom and a few outside accounts, but avoid the death-by-1,000 cuts that is broad distribution.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.