Meet Eric Richardson, employee since 2014 and brewer since 2015. We sat down with him to talk about what it’s like to be a brewer at NoDa Brewing!
Q: When did you first realize that you wanted to be a brewer?
A: After completing the first two years of my Culinary Arts degree, I was planning to become a chef, but after spending a summer working in the kitchen at a resort, I couldn’t see myself working those late and long hours for the rest of my life. I knew that I would have the chance to shift gears in my last two years of school, and because I’ve always loved beer, I decided to complete my degree in the Beverage Program at Johnson & Wales.
Q: What kind of classes did the Beverage Program entail?
A: I took cocktail, wine-making and fermentation classes, but really focused in on the brewing classes. It was actually in my Brewing Arts class that I came to NoDa and met Chad [Henderson] and Todd [Ford]. As soon as I came here, I knew that this is the place I wanted to work.
Q: From that realization, how long did it take until you became an employee here?
A: That same semester, I tried to get my internship requirement fulfilled through NoDa, but we weren’t hiring interns at the time. After interning at Lenny Boy Brewing Co., I began reaching out to Chad to see if he would bring me on. After months (literally) of emailing Chad, NoDa brought me on to work in the brewery washing kegs, canning, delivering, and doing just about everything around here. A year later, there was an opening for the brewer position and Chad asked me to take it.
Q: What was it like to finally get on the stand as a brewer?
A: I was ready to do it and learn, but there was also a lot of pressure because I didn’t get a trial run; the very first batch of beer that I brewed was 60 barrels of Hop Drop ‘N Roll, which is a significant amount of cost for the brewery. But, the batch was a success, so that was a good feeling.
Q: What’s your favorite part of being a brewer?
A: Knowing that I get to be part of creating a great product is one of the best things about being a brewer. But, I also love getting to brew 60 barrels of beer and come back the next day to see the batch in fermentation — I like getting to see the process. Another satisfying part of being a brewer is the problem solving that’s involved every day. A lot of people who don’t work in the industry don’t understand how many moving parts there are in the brewing process. I love being a part of figuring out how to improve a beer, how to get more yield out of our ingredients, and just navigating the different issues that come up each day.
Q: What’s your favorite kind of beer to drink?
A: I really love German-style beers. My dad was stationed in Austria in the military, so I got that from him. But, working here has really expanded my palate, and I enjoy all kinds of beer now.