Co-founder and Brewer at Societe Brewing Co.
(Editor’s Note: This is part of a series in which we scoured the country to find 30 innovative brewers and beer professionals under 30 years old, each of whom hopes to further the scope and breadth of the American craft beer scene.)
Doug Constantiner, 27
Co-founder and Brewer
All About Beer: Tell us about your brewery.
Doug Constantiner: Societe Brewing Company was started by Travis Smith (Russian River and The Bruery) and me in 2011. We went out, raised money and built a brewery. We began brewing in May 2012 and had our Grand Opening on June 30, 2012. Our focus is specifically on West Coast (really San Diego)-style hoppy ales (IPAs), re-inspired traditional Belgian beer and sour beer.
How did you first get into brewing?
I remember being 18 and already discussing with my best friend about opening a brewery one day. But it wasn’t until I was 19 that I began homebrewing. My mom bought me a Mr. Beer Kit at Target while we were back-to-school shopping going into sophomore year of college. My friends and family knew about my love of craft beer (I fell in love with craft beer at 16) and were all supportive of me homebrewing while under 21. I only did one batch on the Mr. Beer Kit and moved to all-grain about one year later. Just like so many people, I became obsessed and it took over my life.
What was the first beer you ever brewed and where did you do it?
I think it was some sort of stout or a chocolate porter. I did it over at a friend’s apartment where I could use his stove and ample space!
What’s your favorite beer style?
It is hard to pick my favorite style. It really depends on my mood, the weather, what I am eating, what I am doing, etc.
Do you have a mentor in the brewing world?
Yes, and now he is my business partner. Travis Smith.
What inspires you when you’re brewing?
Beer inspires me. Quality beer. I got into beer to make the best beer in the world. The best is based on quality.
What do you attribute to your success?
Lots of hard work, long hours, discipline and a touch of luck and good timing.
What do you think drives the popularity of craft beer?
Consumers are smarter about what they are putting into their bodies these days. The days of “I’m a meat-and-potato guy” (i.e., “I’m simple and I like it”) are disappearing. People are once again enjoying flavor and variety.
In general, how do you think the next generation of brewers will shake up the craft beer world?
It will be scary (in a good way) what will happen with beer in the next 25-50 years. While talking to Garret Oliver (Brewmaster at Brooklyn Brewery) he told me how impressed he was with the people who are homebrewing now. He said that when he and others homebrewed in the 1980s it’s because they had to make their own good beer since good beer didn’t exist (for the most part). He said that this next generation is surrounded by incredible beers and we still are brewing our own. All I can think about is the world my children will grow-up in. It’ll be a world where macrobrew will be after the afterthought. Craft brewed, local beer will hopefully be at the forefront of one’s attention. This alone will create a better consumer, and in turn incredible brewers.
In particular, how will you contribute to that shake up?
I want to raise the bar. I didn’t get into this business to make money or because I hated my old job. I got in to join the ranks of AleSmith and Russian River. The only thing I think about in this world is beer (and my family). When I wake up in the morning, I am thinking about beer. When I go to bed at night the last thing that crosses my mind is beer. I am determined to create the best beer that I possibly can. Beer that goes well with food. I want to show the world what great beer is through my product.
Last one: Cascadian Dark Ale or Black IPA?
Neither. Well, it is definitely not Black IPA. I like American Dark Ale since the hop flavors people are looking for are mostly the American hop varieties. Here at Societe we made a San Diego Dark Ale. This is because we didn’t use Cascade as the main hop and we are not in the Cascade region, so we refused to tag that name onto it.
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