These Chats Are Crucial to Chandlers Ford’s Future, Says Tibbs

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.

Doug Tibbs, Owner/Brewer, Chandlers Ford Brewing — Huntsville, Alabama

BREWER: What do you feel have been new challenges in your position that have helped push you and make you better at your job?
TIBBS: The technology made available in raw materials recently has been incredible. We’ve swapped to mostly domestic and craft malt from maltsters like Riverbend Malt House with the supply chain issues and import problems. All things Thiol have been super fun to work with while being very challenging to find a sweet spot. Utilizing Phantasm along with these new Thiolized yeast from Omega is such an exciting layer for brewers, and while there’s so much research to be done, there is still a lot of  information out there. Trial and error and experimentation is still the frontier. Sourvisiae has been a game changer for us in sour beer production. Not mentioning the revolutionary fermentation with Kveiks would be shameful!

BREWER: Why did you enter the craft beer industry and what makes you love being a part of it and staying in it?
TIBBS: I started my journey in 2012 when my hometown of Madison opened its first production brewery, Blue Pants Brewery. I started on the packaging/warehouse side and worked my way around the brewery/taproom/sales. The industry is very young here but it’s been great to be able to grow with it and learn through working through a few different models/businesses. I enjoy the camaraderie but most of all the creative freedom is what drives me everyday. Working with flavor development through science, engineering, and art is very fulfilling and with the constant evolution of the industry in general there are always new ways to get to a certain product.

BREWER: What are some recent trends in brewing that you’ve tried or are excited about trying?
TIBBS: The evolution of IPA has been very fun to watch. Although “Cold IPA” sounds silly, our results from the methodology have been very well received. When I started in 2012, IPA was not even considered as something I would want to drink. I think the only thing we had on tap for the first few years was a Rye IPA, haha! I was fortunate to spend some time with Weedy Weidenthal, now founding brewer at Tombstone Brewing in Arizona. He opened my eyes to saturated hop flavor and biotransformation potential and those beers really blew me away. I’ve been chasing that evolution ever since.

BREWER: What was your business’s greatest accomplishment during the past year, and what are your goals for your brewery this year?
TIBBS: We opened the brewpub in January 2021 after two years of buildout, so keeping things in front of us and staying afloat with everything that’s happened since is good enough right now. I like how we’ve honed in on what our market wants from us. We built a Lager-focused brewery from the start, so seeing our production at about 50-60% Lager is pleasing. There was a void in the market I thought we could fill and I think we’ve done a good job of letting that lead what we’re all about.

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?
TIBBS: I think moving to domestic grown and malted malts has been a big deal for what I want our brand to be associated with. High quality materials plus cellar procedures, plus yeast health tends to yield pretty good results for us. Keeping up with our relationships from the vendor side is something I really enjoy as much as anything I get to do. The people in this industry tend to be really level headed and willing to do anything to make us successful. With the landscape evolving constantly it’s crucial to keep those relationships healthy, and make sure they know how much they are appreciated.

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