Q. What’s your roll at OUB?
Managing Partner, and Chief Recipe Tester. What that really means is that I have to pay the bills and am only allowed to consume and not create our product. I guess you gotta do what you do best.
Q. What is your favorite accomplishment in your career?
A.Giving direction and advice to young people and watching them run with it to make themselves successful in business.
Q. What drove you to the beer industry?
A. I have always had an interest in the beer and wine industry. My first tour of Anchor Steam in 1980 was an eye opener. I remember telling my friends in Grad School at Cal that we should open a small craft brewpub in Berkeley and serve authentic Chicago style deep-dish pizza! They all thought it was a stupid idea. I guess you should never listen to your friends. I tried making beer on my own and never did very well… so glad to have Shane Aldrich onboard. Things would be a hot mess if I had to brew.
Q. Who’s your biggest influence?
A. Patrick Lencioni. No, he is not in the beer business. He owns a management consulting company in Marin and is a prolific writer. His books are inspired works on Team Work, Business Management and customer service. If we can master 1/10th of his ideas, we will be able to make all of our customers wildly successful, which will be a measure of our own success. In the beer business, it would have to be Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head. I can think of no greater honor than to meet him someday. His unselfish devotion to the industry is truly inspiring.
Q. What is your favorite beer moment?
A. Aside from the first taste of Hamm’s that my grandfather gave me when I was 8 years old?… Probably the time I “made” my first beer in a 10-gallon batch in Palo Alto. My daughters bought it for me for father’s day. I tried to make Sierra Nevada pale ale by throwing in a ton of cascade hops. Not quite, but it was drinkable. Big surprise. I’m told I can drink anything. I gave it a pretty weird name though… I labeled the bottles “You Bet Your Butt I’m Bitter Ale”. Stole the idea from a friend that always ended his thank you cards with “you bet your butt I’m bitter.” Somehow he always managed to insult you and we loved him for it. Go figure.
Q. What is your favorite spot in Oakland and why?
A. The spot no other city in the U.S. can claim… Lake Merritt. It is the largest urban lake in America. I love running around the lake on weekends and seeing the rest of Oakland relaxing on the shores.
Q. If you could have a beer with anyone in history of the world who would it be? and what would you be drinking?
A. Robert F. Kennedy. He was one of my four heroes as a kid. It would be interesting to hear from his own mouth how he evolved from being an attack dog for Senator McCarthy to becoming an amazing and thoughtful human being.
Q. If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only have one brew for the rest of your life what would it be?
A. Anything made by Shane.
Q. What was the first beer you ever tasted?
A. Hamm’s. I come from the Midwest and grew up with the Hamm’s Bear commercials… From the Land of Sky Blue Waters…
Q. What is your favorite thing about OUB?
A. The people I work with and the potential that Oakland United will play some small part in furthering Oakland’s future.
Q. What is your favorite sound?
A. Two sounds: the muffled silence of hiking or skiing in a snowstorm. The other would be the sound of a bald eagle screech while you are fly fishing a river in Alaska with not one else around…except for a couple of bears that are also intent on fishing.
Q. If you weren’t in the beer industry where would you be?
A. That’s easy… probably drinking a beer or a glass of wine and smoking a cigar, all the while wondering “what should I do next?”