Starting small: Brewing beer with Jolly Fox

We stopped by a new Brewery in Pittsburg called Jolly Fox to talk with Joel Stewert about how he went from an independent brewer to owning his own business.

Jesse: Joel tell me what has gone into this.

Joel: A lot of blood, sweat, tears, and drinking going on to try to be where we’re at. It’s such a complex deal. There’s a lot of moving variables to it. Like the other day I had the health inspection in here, she gloved everything. She asked me if I filled out the FDA paperwork and I didn’t even know I was supposed to do that. So I had to spend two hours filling out paperwork I didn’t even know I had to do. One step leads to three more steps.

Jesse: It creates more steps, but at the end of the day you’re putting together something that’ll stand for a long time.

Joel: Yes, it’ll stand for a long time. There’s moments that… When they first started putting the roof on, I’m not an emotional guy, but I had to leave the job site because I kind of teared up a little bit. You sorta started seeing the height of the building, some definition, and it was kind of overwhelming. There’s been a few spots like that where I walk in where I realize it’s a lot bigger than I thought and there’s a lot more to it, but we’re narrowing it down.

Jesse: How long have you been working on it? What’s the timeline for this place to open?

Joel: Mid-September is our shot. That’s the goal. And I’ve been working on this for about four years.

Jesse: Ultimately, you’ve brewed beer for a long time, but to do it on this scale.. That’s a huge change. Is it gonna taste the same?

Joel: It’s gonna taste the same. There are gonna be a couple details to work out, like your hops utilization. But it’s not gonna be 50% off, it’s gonna be maybe 5-10% off. So it’s not gonna make the beer taste more or less hoppier. The part I’ve gotten to do is…like there’s a lot of valves on here I’ve gotta know what these do. That’s why we’ve got a technician coming down next week to walk me through everything. We’ll do a couple of brews and we’ll get everything down.

Jesse: Well you’ve got guys working day and night to make this happen. It’s part of something bigger which is the Pittsburg Block 22 project – What’s it like to be part of something bigger than just Jolly Fox?

Joel: I mean that’s one reason we chose Pittsburg is there was a lot of investment going on, a lot of pro-business talk going on, let’s get this done. So to us, it made sense to put Jolly Fox here and join in with the movement of everyone else that’s investing in. The last time I was talkiing to Jay, he said there’s going to be 45 new business permits issued this year, 12 of which are downtown. What a belief in Pittsburg itself. So there’s a lot more jobs, and the contractor I’ve been working with has been bidding left and right here in Pittsburg. So people don’t have to travel 20-30 miles away to find work, they’ve got plenty of work here. So it’s just a good time to be in Pittsburg.”>