Brewing Exceptional Beers Behind the Scenes
Karbach Brewing Co.
Karbach’s Eric Warner was working at a pizza joint in Portland, Oregon, during his senior year at Lewis & Clark College, where he studied German and English. They poured beers like Redhook, Thomas Kemper and Widmer, and one Saturday the owner arranged for a brewery tour. “And boy,” Warner reflects, “there was just something about it that struck me.”
He was soon deciding between law school and brewing school.
With minimal homebrewing experience, Warner headed to study brewing at Weihenstephan in Germany, having spent his junior year in Munich. He’d started brewing hefeweizens there and soon developed this into an expertise, taking gold at the 1992 AHA National Homebrew Competition and 1994 Great American Beer Festival. (He also wrote German Wheat Beer, for good measure.) He started a brewery with some friends, which eventually merged with Left Hand, then worked as the general manager at Flying Dog. “I’ve been on the brewery side of things for 25 years,” Warner explains.
He’s been finding plenty of success in his latest venture, which sold its first beer back in August of 2011. Karbach blew well past its original business plan and just added a $15 million facility that includes brewing, retail and fermentation space. Warner says he now better appreciates people simply choosing to make his beers a part of their lives. “When you get older, you get a little more philosophical about some of this stuff.”