LoneRider Brewing Co. is a brand spankin’ new brewery in Raleigh, NC. Yes, another new craft brewery in the South, which makes us infinitely happy. Their flagship, Shotgun Betty, is a 5.3% Bavarian-style wheat beer. We sat down with CEO Sumit (who we found on Twitter). After you’ve gotten to know Sumit and LoneRider, make sure to read past interviews with brewers. Thanks to LoneRider for indulging us, we wish you success and hope to try your beer soon!
1) For readers that may be unfamiliar, give us a sense of who you guys are and what you’re about.
We are three partners who started the brewery out of a desire to brew great beer, and get more control of direction we wanted our lives to go in. We met while working at Cisco. I have moved over to work at Quintiles now, and both my partners still work at Cisco. I refer to the movie, ‘Office Space’, as a perfect example of our start though we never had to write TPS reports, and we actually like our jobs. But we do have cubes!
2) How did you get into beer brewing?
Steve has been a home brewer for a long time and has been the influence on both Mihir and I to get into brewing.
3) How did you decide to launch with a hefeweizen? At first glance it doesn’t seem the obvious choice.
Funny how the style we like becomes the beer of choice. Seriously, besides that, we looked at the market and saw that nobody was brewing a German Hefeweizen locally as a flagship. We also saw how wheat beers, and session beers were becoming more popular. With the proliferation of great beers in the market we had to look for ways to differentiate ourselves. We also have plans to come up with great 60 bbl (or 30 bbl) releases.
4) You’ve accomplished a lot in one year while keeping your day jobs. How much longer do you plan on working full-time and who will be making the leap into full-time brewing first?
I don’t remember last time I went to bed before 2 or 3 at night. It’s just become a part of the daily routine. We would like to transition working full time at the brewery, but its not going to happen for a while. Don’t get us started on who wants to transition first, because we all do. Time and need will determine who can.
5) What single marketing tactic has had the most unexpected return for you thus far?
I would say we have gotten the most compliments on our rebel image, and how the *characters (beers)* of our brewery display a common theme.
6) If you were to build another brewery from scratch (perfectly hypothetical), what is one thing you would do different next time around?
Phew ! That would be a long list. First, quit any full time jobs! Haha.
On a serious note, one thing would be to raise ‘much more than needed’ capital so that we are not always stressed out. In quite a few areas our projected costs got to be 50% more than anticipated. Completely unexpected things happened, for example during inspection, that required capital we hadn’t planned for.
7) That all sounds great. Any plans to be in Georgia?
Can’t even stand yet in NC mate, Georgia is a distant possibility right now.