Brewer Bytes With Foothills Brewing Co.
An Interview With M. David Gonzalez, Pub Brewer
Posted on 10/9/2012 by Chops
When discussing the breweries that best represent the amazing North Carolina craft beer scene, the Foothills Brewing Company out of Winston-Salem will almost always top the list. This brewery is crafting beers so delicious that they flat out demand you take notice. Beers like the Seeing Double IPA and their highly coveted Sexual Chocolate Imperial Stout have solidified them as a go-to brewery for the region. We recently caught up with Foothills Pub Brewer M. David Gonzalez who was kind enough to take time out of his regional conquest to offer up some Brewer Bytes.

What inspired you to get into brewing?

I graduated college to become a high school Social Studies teacher. During the summer months, waiting to start teaching, I got a job in a beer distributor. I would go home every day with 2-5 different beers to try them. I really enjoyed most of them, and started to then learn more about making these delicious brews. I gave up teaching, and decided to go to brewing school and then make the plunge into brewing. So great beers got me into brewing.

What do you feel sets you apart from other brewers?

I think there are a few things. I've been in the business for a long time, and have worked for other breweries, and I think our passion and commitment to great beers is above some others. It starts with ownership and works it's way down. I'm also thankful to have awesome owners: One whom is a trained brewer, so beer comes above. Another item that is important to us, and why we stand out, is that we love hops. We are a southeastern brewery that brews hoppy, west coast style beers. We were one of the first to do this, especially in North Carolina, back in the mid-2000s.

Where do you see your brewery in the future?

Growth! As well as brewing in our downtown brewpub location, we recently opened a second production facility, with A LOT more capacity than the pub. With this facility, we have also been able to fully dive into bottling, starting with our acquired Carolina and Cottonwood brands. We have expanded our bottling of the Foothills brands in 22oz bottles, and will start to do the 12oz format soon. Currently we distribute in four states (NC, SC, eastern TN, and western VA). We want to slowly expand that to a 300 miles radius of Winston-Salem, and then, eventually, a larger radius. The brewpub location has started to become more of specialty, one off, and seasonal beers. Yes, we will still carry our core beers at the pub, but we want that facility to become some R+D and fun stuff. Beers that can only be gotten at the pub (which might some day see the market). We recently expanded out draft offerings at the pub from 10-15, so there's plenty to offer our guests. So, growth is where our brewery is, and will be.

What is the best thing about being part of the beer industry?

There are too many to list. I think the number one for me is the camaraderie amongst everyone in the industry. Yes, there is competition, but, for the most part, it's a friendly one. Most everyone is willing to help each other out. Also, the beers! There are so many great breweries out there producing great beers. Another one is the "fans": people that like your beers. It's always nice when you get a compliment from someone about something you made: hand crafted.

What advice would you give to a new craft beer fan?

Just to try beers, any beers. Obviously, people have different tastes, so not every beer is for everyone, but try them all, and decide what you like and don't like for yourselves. Try to get an appreciation for it all. For example, I, personally, don't care for sour beers, BUT can appreciate them for what they are and what their place is.

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Foothills Pub Brewer M. David Gonzalez
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