Brian Helton has been brewing beers for almost 25 years. For most of his career he worked for someone else. But, he had an itch. An itch to open his own brewery.
In 2016, he opened Helton Brewing Company in Phoenix, AZ.
This week on The Brewmance Podcast, Mike & Rob ask Brian for some of his lessons in business. He’s learned a few along the way in his entrepreneurial journey.
We’ve often said Brian Helton is a mad scientist. He’s a talented brewer. One of the best in Arizona and in the country. He drops some serious beer knowledge on us in this wide ranging discussion over a beer.
Brian explains what ‘dry hopping’ is as we drink Mother Road Brewing‘s Special Edition Tower Station, dry hopped edition (Flagstaff, AZ).
We also ask him about ‘selling out’ if a brewer gets a huge check, why some beers sometimes taste different in cans and what the term ‘sessionable’ means.
4:10. Helton talks about the lessons he learned by opening his own brewery including ‘celebrating every win.’ Brian also tell us his mentors helped his journey teaching him about their own failures.
6:30. Brian’s main lesson: not do everything yourself.
9:15. ‘What do you suck at?’
9:50. Brian explains what the Helton Adventure Tribe is.
11:35. How important connection and community are. Essentially this is why Brian and The Brewmance are friends. We both believe beer brings people together and can help solve problems and disagreements.
‘The human aspect of people helping good people out is really a cool thing.’
15:40. We touch on how collaborative the Arizona beer scene is.
18:45. How the beer and food scene connect us to Phoenix culture.
21:40. Why Brian doesn’t have an exit strategy.
23:30. Do breweries sell out when they get bought out by a bigger company?
26:30. Why Helton always advocates trying the beers in the brewery if possible. He breaks down what happens when cans or kegs of beer end up in stores and tap rooms. Weather, heat, sunlight and other environmental factors can change the flavor of the beer.
32:15. Brian has been working with chefs in the Valley and Willie Itule produce on a special project including brewing carrot sour. Huh?
34:00. What does ‘sessionable’ beer really mean? Brian gives us the best definition we have heard yet.
41:00. Why beer pairs well with food.
42:00. Reviewing Mother Road’s Special Dry-Hopped edition of their Tower Station IPA.
44:15. How hop buying works for brewers.