(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.)
Kevin Selvy, 29
President and Brewmaster
All About Beer: Tell us about your brewery.
Kevin Selvy: Crazy Mountain Brewing Company is a craft brewery in the Vail Valley of Colorado. We went into business in January of 2010. We produce handcrafted beers that are available throughout Colorado, Texas, Florida, California, Ohio, Minnesota, Massachusetts and Oregon. We pride ourselves on our unique take on traditional ale styles and our passion to deliver the freshest and highest-quality beer to our consumers.
How did you first get into brewing?
After I graduated from college, I spent time backpacking through Europe. While I was on a tour of the Heineken brewery in Amsterdam, I had an epiphany that what I wanted to do in life was to open a brewery. I came back to the states and began brewing at home, which I figured was the logical first step to opening a brewery. I was making so much beer that I was giving it away to friends and neighbors and one of my neighbors shared my beers with some employees at Anchor Brewing Company, who called me and asked me to come in for an interview. They ended up offering me a job and I went into my finance job the next morning and quit and then went straight to work at Anchor. I was 22 when I started brewing beer.
What was the first beer you ever brewed and where did you do it?
The first beer that I ever brewed was an American pale ale in the kitchen of the San Francisco apartment I was living in at the time.
What’s your favorite beer style?
If I had to pick one, my favorite style of beer would be a saison.
Do you have a mentor in the brewing world?
Fritz Maytag of Anchor Brewing Co. and Brian Hunt of Moonlight Brewing Co., among others.
What inspires you when you’re brewing?
Music. You can’t make good beer without good music.
What do you attribute to your success?
Preparation and timing. We spent four years planning our business and developing our recipes before we opened our doors. I couldn’t imagine having done it any sooner then that. When it comes to timing, we had opened after the craft brewing industry had already been established and many of its growing pains were behind it. After the work done by Anchor Brewing, Sierra Nevada, New Belgium and many others, craft beer as a market segment was established and its growth was impressive.
What do you think drives the popularity of craft beer?
A resurgence of the communal realization that craft beer is an essential part of a healthy and happy community. Craft beer has been around for thousands of years. With changing times, technology and a period of probation, craft beer in America disappeared for a relatively short amount of time. The current popularity of craft beer is nothing new but rather is proof that consumers and communities alike benefit from and in some ways depend on craft breweries.
In general, how do you think the next generation of brewers will shake up the craft beer world?
The next generation will continue to push the boundaries of the industry by challenging and restructuring the way the industry operates; both through brewing innovation and continuing to establish the craft brewing industry as a role model for responsible and sustainable business.
In particular, how will you contribute to that shake up?
We will contribute to the craft beer industry by continuing to produce a product of exceptional quality and to continue to approve upon it constantly while doing our part to educate our consumers on the value of the craft beer industry. Perhaps more importantly, we will work to run our business in such a way that our employees, community and consumers can have tangible proof that our company, and our industry as a whole, is making the world a better place.
Last one: Cascadian dark ale or black IPA?
Cascadian dark ale. If you ask me, this is a style that is 100 percent of American origin. I think calling it a Black IPA would tie its stylistic origins to Europe, which I do not think would be appropriate.
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