Interview with Jamie Long, 2016 January 9

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  • Introduction and background
    Partial Transcript: "I grew up in Culpeper, Virginia..." "...I was part of the opening staff of a restaurant.. they were really one of the first motivating, for one, craft beer, so they were really a motivating force for what's going on in downtown Harrisonburg." "I just love creativity, so I spent a few years with him brewing."
    Synopsis: Long discusses his background. After graduating from college he decided to pursue a career in craft brewing. He had started home brewing with his father as a hobby and decided he'd rather follow that as a career than going into law school. He discusses his time learning how to brew beer at the Siebel Institute in Chicago, Illinois. Long outlines his first several jobs at craft breweries.
    Keywords: Clementine; craft beer; Crozet, Virginia; Culpeper Virginia; Flying Dog Brewery; Harrisonburg, Virginia; home brewing; Jack Brown's Beer and Burger Joint; James Madison University; law school; Pale Fire Brewing Company; Siebel Institute; Starr Hill Brewery
  • Working as a cellarman at Flying Dog Brewery
    Partial Transcript: "Cellarmen make beer." "I was in the cellar for two or three months and got promoted to the brew house... few more months went by and I got promoted to the lead brewer position..." "Hops are one of the biggest barriers to entry in the industry right now..."
    Synopsis: Long talks about working at Flying Dog Brewery and his rise from cellarman to lead brewer. He says that the personal and professional connections he made working there helped him create the network necessary to start his own brewery.
    Keywords: brewers; brewing; cellarmen; community; Flying Dog Brewery; hops; management; wort
  • Getting the idea to start Pale Firing Brewing Company
    Partial Transcript: "Tim and I had been buddies for a while..." "It's been nice... to now have a successful production brewery."
    Synopsis: Long talks about founding Pale Fire Brewing Company. He describes the features of Pale Fire and future plans for growth and expansion.
    Keywords: Brothers Craft Brewing; Calhoun's Brew Pub; cold storage; craft beer industry; Harrisonburg, Virginia; hops
  • Developing the business plan for Pale Fire Brewing Company
    Partial Transcript: "Tim was the original, kind of, creator of the business plan, probably back in 2013..." "Our brewhouse and most of our fermentation vessels are all from Premier Stainless..." "The entire building was gutted, basically..."Doors opened... mid-April 2015."
    Synopsis: Long talks about the business plan of Pale Fire Brewing Company. He talks about how they got help from other brewers in writing their plan. He also discusses their three stage plan for future expansion.
    Keywords: Blue Mountain Brewery; bottling; business growth; business plan; Harrisonburg, Virginia; Pale Fire Brewing Company; planning; Premier Stainless Systems LLC; production
  • Distributing Pale Fire Brewing Company's beer, company growth, and choosing what beers to brew
    Partial Transcript: "I can play with yeast..." "I've always loved playing with farmhouse beers... and for hoppy beers, I'm a hop head..."
    Synopsis: Long talks about Pale Fire's distributors and beers. He describes his favorite beers to brew. Long talks more about plans for the future and his desire to keep Pale Fire distribution primarily in Virginia.
    Keywords: American ale; Deadly Rhythm ale; growth; hops; saison; Salad Days Saison; Specialty Beverage; Virginia Eagle Distributing
  • Making the choice to focus only on beer distribution in Virginia
    Partial Transcript: "At our stage right now, we can keep everybody in stock in markets where we're at." "Organic and well thought out stage growth is important for any brewery."
    Synopsis: Long talks about the importance of organic growth for Pale Fire. He says that he wants to serve local customers first, and that he uses locally made products when possible. He talks about the challenges of growing hops in the state of Virginia. He also talks about Pale Fire's own yeast strains. He also discusses Pale Fire's quality controls.
    Keywords: ale; Brewing Science Institute; distribution; hops; local business; malts; quality control; saison; Virginia; Washington; yeast
  • Definition of craft brewing, quality ingredients, and collaboration within the industry
    Partial Transcript: "I think that the most important part is freedom of expression in styles that we brew..." "The collaboration efforts are really important too." "Make what you say we're gonna make... If i can't get the flavor naturally, it just wan't met to be made..."
    Synopsis: Long defines what craft beer means to him. To him it means using quality ingredients. He says that if he can't make a flavor come together without resorting to artificial flavors then it was not meant to be. He also says that working with other breweries is an important part of the craft beer industry.
    Keywords: artificial flavors; community; competition; craft brewing; Harrisonburg, Virginia; high fructose corn syrup; purity; quality; recipes; yeast
  • Pale Fire's collaborative brewing efforts
    Partial Transcript: "Before our brewery even opened we participated with Brothers and Collaborated with them." "We don't like to do collaborations just for the sake of collaboration.. we kind of meet up at festivals, share a few beers a few laughs... the comunication keeps up..."
    Synopsis: Long talks about Pale Fire's approach to collaborating with other breweries in order to make different kinds of beers.
    Keywords: brewing; Brothers Craft Brewing; Champion Brewing Company; collaboration; Downtown Harrisonburg Renaissance; Pale Fire Brewing Company
  • Beer competitions and marketing
    Partial Transcript: "I will definitely say that we're not competition brewers... we don't gear up like some do..." We got a bronze medal at the Great American Beer Festival for our Salad Days..." "It probably took six to twelve months just to develop our logo..."
    Synopsis: Long talks about beer competitions. He says Pale Fire is not focused on winning contests, but that the is happy one of their flagship beers earned a medal at the Great American Beer Festival. He also says its a good marketing tool. He talks in depth about marketing and brand design and describes how his brewery found the graphic designer who creates their logos and packaging.
    Keywords: advertising; branding; brewing; competitions; graphic design; Great American Beer Festival; images; labeling; marketing
  • Developing the customer experience at Pale Fire Brewing Company
    Partial Transcript: "From the beginning we were leaning away from the food aspects of a brew pub... mainly for simplicity." "For us, we see distributors as our best customers."
    Synopsis: Long talks about developing the customer experience at Pale Fire. He says that they chose to operate a taproom instead of a brew pub for the sake of simplicity and space. He says that they see beer distributors as their best customers, because they can perform marketing and consumption research that Pale Fire lacks the infrastructure and money to do for themselves.
    Keywords: advertising; branding; brew pub; distirbutors; IRI data; marketing; performance; production brewery; regulations; retail; taproom
  • Pale Fire's staff and creating with new kinds of beer
    Partial Transcript: "We've got three full time..." "Sometimes breweries can go fourteen, sixteen hours." "Some times, actually a lot of times our new beers are just kind of shoot from the hip..." "Ultimately, we're gonna brew what we want."
    Synopsis: Long talks about the staffing situation at Pale Fire. He also describes their process for making new kinds of beer. He also talks about how they get feedback in their taproom from customers and from the data collected by their distributors and beer rating apps.
    Keywords: Beer Advocate; brew staff; creativity; employment; experimentation; feedback; Untapped; work
  • Thoughts on the craft brewing bubble
    Partial Transcript: "The only bubble that's really gonna happen is one of quality." "...there's so many very inexpensive ways to check quality within your brewery... I think some of the new breweries aren't taking that very seriously..." "All the profit that we do make goes back into producing more beer..."
    Synopsis: Long offers his thoughts on whether or not there is a craft brewing bubble. He does not think the bubble is an economic bubble, but a quality bubble. As he explains, any brewer that maintains a somewhat conservative approach to spending their money and brews a high quality product can succeed.
    Keywords: beer; bubble economy; craft brewing; management; pricing; quality
  • Designing the taproom at Pale Fire Brewing Company
    Partial Transcript: "We wanted to maintain some industrial concepts but also throw in some comforts of home too..." "Comfort is what we wanted to have for all of our guests." "We've got a little free library here..."
    Synopsis: Long talks about the interior design of Pale Fire. He says that they wanted to mix their industrial space with a home like space. He describes Pale Fire's small and growing free library. He says that the only TV in the taproom is turned on only on request, instead he prefers that people talk to each other or read. He says that he is pleased with how successful this model has been so far.
    Keywords: branding; comfort; decorating; interior design; library; Pale Fire Brewing Company; sound; Sustainable Solutions of Virginia Inc.; taproom
  • The state of craft brewing in Harrisonburg, Virginia
    Partial Transcript: "...plenty of young professionals that have moved into this city have this taste for craft beer..." "There's plenty of other restaurants and bars that stock craft beer up to their ears..."
    Synopsis: Long talks about the state of craft brewing in Harrisonburg Virginia. He provides a brief history of brewing there from the early 1990s to the present day and talks about Pale Fire and the other brewing companies currently operating in the city.
    Keywords: beer; Brothers Craft Brewing; craft beer; Downtown Harrisonburg Renaissance; Germans; Harrisonburg, Virginia; Interstate 81; James Madison University; Pale Fire Brewing Company; Rosetta Stone; Three Notch'd Brewing Company; Wolf Street Brewing
  • Consumer education and craft beer culture
    Partial Transcript: "I'm all for any kind of education for the consumers... every now and then if someone asks me for a tour I'm ecstatic to take them to the back..." "I wouldn't characterize it as German or English... just a classic three vessel brewing system..."
    Synopsis: Long talks about consumer education. He says that while there are no official tours at Pale Fire he is always happy to take customer into the back for a tour if they ask for one. He thinks that its important for beer drinkers to understand what goes into their beer. He explains the brewing system at Pale Fire Brewing Company and why they chose the type of brewing set up they did.
    Keywords: boiling; brew house; brewing system; craft beer; decoction mashing; education; English brew house; German brew house; malts; mash; saison; tours
  • Water quality in Harrisonburg, Virginia
    Partial Transcript: "I mentioned that yeast is the most important tool in our beer, water is arguably the same or more." "More brewers are starting to pay attention to water, which I think they should."
    Synopsis: Long talks about water quality and water testing. He says that the water in Harrisonburg, Virginia is generally good, but that they do use filters and add salts and other minerals to make sure the water they use is perfect for their beers. Long stresses how important water quality is in making beer. He talks about the importance of regional water quality in the creation of regional varieties of beer in Europe.
    Keywords: beer; brewing; filter; Gose; hard water; Harrisonburg Virginia; India pale ale; IPA; minerals; pale ale; pilsner; quality control; Silver Lake; soft water; stout; Switzer; water
  • The state of the craft brewing industry and future plans for Pale Fire Brewing Company
    Partial Transcript: "...I think Americans are proud of their right to manufacture and produce alcohol..." "I can't dive into the minds of some of these owners that sellout..." "..I hope older Jamie doesn't even consider that option.. I think I would just get out of the industry..."
    Synopsis: Long talks about the state of the craft beer industry today. He laments craft brewers selling out to large brewing companies. He says that he hopes he will never sell out. He says that he wants Pale Fire to grow as long as he can produce a top quality beer. He says if they get too large to produce a beer that he feels is a high quality product, he will stop producing beer at that level.
    Keywords: AB InBev; Anheuser Busch InBev; brewing; craft brewing; freedom; innovation; Miller-Coors; prohibition; quality; rights