Mr. Skall took a few minutes from what is surely a busy schedule to share some insights about the brewery he is opening with partner Jeff Hancock in January 2011.
DB: How did Brandon Skall and Jeff Hancock Meet?
BS: "We met as fans of the local music scene several years ago, when we were both just starting to get into the beverage industry. After that we went our separate ways. Jeff moved out west, brewing in Michigan and I stayed here working in beverage sales, distribution, import and marketing. It wasn't until we were reintroduced at a party that the idea took off."
"Just to add a little more about my background. I was a fine wine specialist for a local wine distributor for 4 years but most recently I was the Mid Atlantic Regional Manager for a wine and spirits importer based in NYC. I was responsible for the sales and marketing of my brands in this region as well as designing sales incentives for my wholesalers."
DB: When did the idea for the brewery come about?
BS: "I had been contemplating a DC Brewery for quite some time when I re-met Jeff. I discovered he had the same aspirations and we decided to go for it. We got to working on a business plan and hired a lawyer and the rest is history."
DB: Where will the brewery be located?
BS: "The brewery will be located off of Bladensburg Rd, in NE DC."
DB: Can you tell us about the brewery system (number of barrels, who designed and manufactured it, etc)?
BS: "We are ordering a 15 BBL turnkey system from Premier Stainless in San Diego California. Both Jeff and I were very impressed with the quality of design and construction behind this manufacturer."
DB: When open, will product and merchandise be available for purchase at the brewery?
BS: "Merchandise yes, in fact we already have T Shirts for sale on our website. As for product, not at first. But we hope to have an on-site and off-site tasting room eventually."
DB: When will the first of the limited release beers be available? How will they be named?
BS: "We will most likely do a limited release sometime next fall. The goal is to get all three flagships launched in the market before we start any "crazy stuff." Our seasonal offerings will be named for different neighborhoods throughout the city. The limited release specialty ales will have no rhyme or reason behind their names...just whatever we come up with at the time, but I assure you they will be fun and witty."
DB: Do you have a preliminary list of stores, restaurants, and pubs that will carry DC Brau?
BS: "Yes we do. I don't want to name them publicly right now but you will be able to find DC Brau across the entire city. Last summer/fall we collected letters of support from ABRA licensed establishments. We used these letters in our investor presentations to show the current support for a hometown brewery."
DB: We are in the nation's capital and a prominent link on your site is DC Statehood. Do you expect DC Brau to be active on political and social issues?
BS: "One thing that makes DC special is that it is the political hub of the nation. This is the most unique and powerful aspect of DC. No other city in the country can claim that. While we don't want to be too political or choose sides, we can't imagine ignoring politics all together. DC Statehood is one issue we'd like to shed light upon. We plan on incorporating this into our packaging and our identity. We are not trying to say something is right or wrong. We believe this issue is just as much a part of DC as anything. It is something that everyone who resides here not only identifies with, but is also affected by."
DB: DC Brau is featuring aluminum cans and will recycle brewery waste. In what other ways are you hoping the brewery will be "green"?
BS: "We are hoping to re-capture evaporated water vapor from the kettle boil for initial fermenter rinsing. We are also giving all of our brewery waste to a local organic practice farm called Burnside Farms located in Haymarket, VA., where they will use the waste for composting and soil conditioning purposes."
DB: What else should we know about you two or about DC Brau?
BS: "DC Brau will be the first package microbrewery in DC since 1956"
DB: Want to share any breaking news?
BS: "Just put down our deposit on our automated canning line."