David Walker of Firestone Walker Brewing Company (Courtesy)
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.,the winner of four Mid Size Brewery of the Year awards in the World Beer Cup, has made its way to the San Antonio area from the Paso Robles, CA area. The veteran craft brewery is launching across the state and will be available at local H-E-Bs, Specs and in bars.
Founder David Walker called in to the Current during his trip to SA to talk about his beers, what people should expect and why they chose to launch in Texas.
What brought on the SA launch?
We actually came through the whole state over a period of 12 months, checking the market and visiting with partners and wholesalers, talking to great retailers like H-E-B out of SA and sort of getting a sense of the market.
What was it you liked about SA?
It has the same sort of feeling as the area where our brewery is in central California. It's in the middle of the state, it's quiet, no coast to speak of. There's a similarity of pace.
What exactly do you mean by mid-size brewery?
The World Beer Cup has three categories, one for best big brewer, mid-size and so on. The mid-size category can range from 10,000 to 2 million barrels. We're producing 120,000 barrels a year. We held off coming into Texas for a couple of years to create the production capacity of the brewery to be able to support that demand.
You're toasting the craft beer revolution...
When we started it wasn't easy to sell craft beer. People thought we were a bit bonkers building a brewery, but now it's the thing to do. There's almost 3,000 craft breweries and there were less than 400 when we started. I think people are looking for different options in terms of beer for different occasions. The American palate is becoming much more agreeable.
What beers do you think will stick?
We work really hard to make our beers balanced and drinkable, so I think all our beers will be well-received...they won't clash with the San Antonio palate. We're bringing our Double Barrel Ale, Pale 31 and Union J.