Interview with the Evil Genius Beer Company

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The Evil Genius Beer Company is on its way to enter the market of craft beer in America soon. I had the chance to ask Trevor Hayward, one of the three founders, some questions before they start.

Nick: Building a brewery isn't that simple and can't be done from one day to another. What’s your setup?

Trevor: We looked hard into building a brewery, and ultimately decided that the cost of doing so, coupled with the resources we had available to us wouldn't work. So we looked for a contract brewery to produce our beer while we work to build brand equity, and prove our brand is viable to potential investors.

We found a brewery out in South Bend IN called Four Horsemen Brewing Company. They are a start up like us, and were looking for a brewery to help fill their tanks while they got going. They're a fantastic group of people to work with.

Nick: Joining forces seems like a very good idea. It’s probably better than taking huge loans when you are starting up. You can split the workload up to more people and everyone is working on the same goal, too. How many people are involved? Who are they and what are their backgrounds?

Trevor: There are three of us. I originally come from Dublin, Ireland, and moved here three years ago to pursue a masters. While doing my masters, I met Luke, my business partner. We were both so much in love with craft beer, and really wanted to get involved with the industry that we talked about starting a brewery. The idea grew from there.

Although we had both home brewed we also knew we didn't have the complete technical knowledge needed to run a brewery, so we looked for someone to add to our team. We met Mark, who at the time was the head brewer at a small brewpub in Pennsylvania. We instantly clicked with Mark in terms of what type of beers we wanted to make. Mark is a really versatile brewer, and makes incredible beers.

Nick: Ireland is lovely; I lived there for two years back in 2006. You guys must be really keen to get your beer out to the customers. When will you start production?

Trevor: Our first batch of beer will go into production on August 25th, with an expected release date of early September.

Nick: With how many products will you start?

Trevor: We'll be launching with just one product, Good 'n Evil, our German style Kolsch, but that will quickly be followed by our West Coast style American IPA, Evil EYE PA, a few weeks later.

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Nick: Kölsch is one of my favourites. The mixture of top fermented yeast with hops is really good. In Germany it is a niche product nearly only available in Cologne. Why are you starting with it?

Trevor: We're starting with a Kolsch because we think it’s a great session beer, something that almost any type of beer drinker can enjoy, and a style that doesn't get brewed as much as some others (although this is changing).

The American IPA was chosen because of the huge demand for them in our market (Philadelphia). We wanted to make sure we could do a great one, and we've spent a long time sourcing ingredients, and running test batches of it.

Nick: I totally agree. You pretty much can’t run a brewery without having an IPA in your portfolio. While talking about Kölsch & IPA I’m getting thirsty. Will you do bottling?

Trevor: We will be bottling, but that will come a few weeks after draft beer, probably towards the end of September/early October.

Nick: So we have to wait a little but that’s ok. Good things take their time. Where can I buy your beers?

Trevor: Our wholesaler is Origlio Beverage, based in Philadelphia, and Indiana Beer in South Bend Indiana. They really get to decide where the product will be placed to start with, and that’s not something that's been finalized yet. I'll definitely update you as soon as I know.

Nick: What’s your aim for the yearly output?

Trevor: We expect to do between 800 - 1000bbls in our first year. We don't expect to be taking over the beer world anytime soon [laughs]. Our aim is continued and sustainable growth. We want to be able to support our brands in our markets and make sure that our customers are able to get our products when they need it.

Nick: Are you going to export some?

Tevor: I'm originally from Ireland, so I'm constantly being asked by friends and family when they'll be able to get it over in Ireland (I also lived in Australia for 2 years and get similar requests from friends there). It’s definitely something we'd like to eventually explore, but for now we'll be sticking with the U.S.

Nick: Belgian beers are very trendy at the moment. Are you going to brew one in the future? And… what are your plans for the future?

Tevor: We have lots of plans for an array of styles, which we'll announce as we go along. In terms of Belgian beers, I'm a huge fan of Saisons, so I think that's something we'll look to do at some point in the future. We have no definite plans for it yet, but it’s certainly on our wish list.

Nick: Thank you very much, good luck and may the beer be with you.

The next interview is with the Kernel Brewery, London.

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