Marc Gottfried, vice president of brewing and chief brewmaster for the new William K. Busch Brewing company, said he began brewing at the early age of 14. He was on hand Friday evening at Jefferson City's Hy-Vee, offering samples of the company's two lagers, Kraftig and Kraftig Light.
Sought after by the Busch family, Gottfried has more than earned the title of brewmaster. Starting out young, Gottfried began experimenting with brews as a scientific avenue. His mother, a microbiologist, let him investigate the processes.
"Every professional brewer I've ever known started at home," the 36-year-old said.
Gottfried took his first job at the home brew shop, after spending so much time hanging around. He later moved on to the Morgan Street Brewery, where he became assistant brewmaster at 19 years old. When he turned 21, he earned the brewmaster title that would stick for life. Sixteen years later, the self-taught brewmaster was tracked down by Billy Busch and asked to help develop a top-notch product.
"Most people would attack it from a financial standpoint, but this was the opposite. He wanted quality first ... it has to be good because it's going to have his name on it," Gottfried explained.
After moonlighting for a couple years, the project became a reality, and the William K. Busch Brewing Company was made official in November 2011.
"Just think of us as artists. It is an art form, the same as being a chef is an art form," he said.
For those looking to get into brewing, Gottfried offers this advice: "You have to love the production. You've got to see if beer is in your blood. You have to learn the hard skills. Being a brewer is like being a glorified janitor, you'll know when you can't get enough."
The title of brewmaster in Germany is one of prestige, and is actually given once a master's degree in brewing is earned. In the U.S., brewmaster is a much looser term, given to anyone who runs a brewery. A two-time world brewing champion, it is safe to say this brewmaster is a brew above the rest.
Know of any business happenings around town? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.