Beer Stories: Craft Beer Industry Insights

Founder & CEO of Turtle Lake Brewing Company, Lamont Wynn

January 09, 2023 Hosts: Mischa Smith & Alex Violette, Guest: Lamont Wynn Season 1 Episode 4
Beer Stories: Craft Beer Industry Insights
Founder & CEO of Turtle Lake Brewing Company, Lamont Wynn
Show Notes Transcript

In Episode 4 of Beer Stories, Alex & Mischa talk with the Founder of Turtle Lake Brewing Company (Hanoi, Vietnam), Lamont Wynn, about Opening a Craft Brewery in Vietnam. Over the course of the conversation they touch on stories about what Lamont was doing when he decided to start Turtle Lake, the logistics of starting any company up in Vietnam as foreigners, the particulars of starting a brewery from scratch, the first beers they brewed, the similiarities and differences that Alex and Lamont faced - starting breweries up a few years apart in the same part of the world, the importance of good food and fun events at Taprooms for the guest experience, actual turtles, music, running and attending craft beer festivals, a brand new segment for the pod - Story Time With Lamont (!!), Haunted Houses, distribution vs. Taprooms, winning international beer awards, and the secrets to all of our success! We also have a brisk edition of The Hangover Check and a lively round of Fact or Fiction. Cheers! 

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Mischa Smith:

Welcome to another episode of Beer Stories. This is a podcast about beers. Our, producer is Niall Mackay of Seven Million Bikes podcast. Our theme music was composed and performed by Lewis Wright. My name is Misha Smith, my co-host, as always, alex Violet. How's it going, Alex?

Alex:

Oh, it's going well.

Mischa Smith:

Great. And our guest today is the founder, owner, and operator at Turtle Lake Brewing Company in Hanoi, Lamont, Winn Lamont, thanks for coming down just to jump on the pod. obviously a pleasure. And, today we're gonna be talking about launching a craft brewery in Vietnam. because Alex and Lamont, you guys have both had the experience of opening a craft brewery from nothing. In Vietnam,

Lamont Wynn:

You wanna watch your baby grow, develop, nurture it so that, so I'm constantly there, you know, Turtle Lake's evolving, I'm evolving, I'm learning as I go, and it's just wanna be involved and make sure it could be the best that it can potentially be. This is where happens right here. Pulls down his pants, whip, saw his dick, and pisses right on my terrace. I'm like, Dude, I walk up to like, Dude, what the fuck? Put that shit away. And he's Leave me alone. I was okay.

Mischa Smith:

Leave me alone. You're pissing on

Lamont Wynn:

so my reason for it, a I have the space and why the fuck not, It's my fucking business. Now. I can do what I want. I'm a big boy now. I wanna haunted house So I built a fucking haunted house, dude,

Mischa Smith:

So just to get started, we're gonna do, our, our fastest growing segment. It's called, the Hangover Check. How hungover were you this morning when you woke up?

Lamont Wynn:

zero

Mischa Smith:

Okay, Alex,

Alex:

zero or mad. 0.5.

Mischa Smith:

Yeah, same. This segment isn't going that

Lamont Wynn:

great. you need

Mischa Smith:

I had a pretty quiet night in last night. Beer's on the way for the record. So, uh, the moment, let's just get into it. Like what was the motivation behind opening a craft brewery in Vietnam? What were you doing before that?

Lamont Wynn:

Um, before that I was teaching. Okay. I was teaching English in, Vietnam. Annoying. I was taught for a couple year, 12 years. And then That's more than a couple. Yeah. Slight so I had a friend who was home brewed in China. His name was Ian. Yeah. And then he came down to oi with his home brews and thought it was a really cool idea. I was like, Hey, you know, your beers are good. Let's do something in Hanoi. Make a small little tap from a small little system. He's Cool idea. And then we talked about it and then had another friend through our daughter's school. He's Lamont, we should in a, a lounge. I'm like, Could be good idea. So the two came to my mind, said, Hey, I talked to him both in zoo when we opens a small little scale brewery. And that's what we did. And then we, so we decided that we needed to go find some part. Do our research about opening a business in Vietnam. So I spoke to local restaurant owners that I knew, and then we ran into Keith. Keith's You open a brewery? I'm interested. I went in and so that became, the four of us basically opened the brewery and then one of the partners dropped out and then Mick Francis came in after that and it was the four of us that, the big turtle lake. And so we talked about it. We came to past year, you guys, the first place that we saw to check out the brewery, The one that you had hella far

Alex:

Yeah, it was a, it was a good motorbike ride Well, what year was it that you visited the brewery?

Lamont Wynn:

that would've been? 2017. So we came to check out your facilities and that kind of gives an idea for our, for our place. And then basically we made a decision then obviously location, location, location. So we drove around Illinois for a solid month or so looking for locations. And then we got lucky and found a place that we're in now. So then immediately after we found out I flew to China to start looking for equipment and my friend Harry Cal Callahan, he helped me out with the brewery, sourcing the equipment. We went to some cowboy breweries, some good ones, some bad ones. And we went to g it was like near Beijing and checked out seven, eight manufacturers and some of this shit It was really bad. So we found one that we went with that suited our needs, and then we got the equipment, ordered it in July. It arrived in, um, December, right before, right around Christmas. And so we built it up, had some issues obviously, and then we did a soft opening in January and then we did a full opening on in March, 2018. Just mic,

Mischa Smith:

So Lamont, how many beers did you guys have when you, when you started out?

Lamont Wynn:

We started with, two. We started, we started with our, at the time it was our first leap now and our VPA was

Mischa Smith:

first two beers we started with.

Lamont Wynn:

Nice. Are you still making both of those? Those one of our two, two

Mischa Smith:

our core band bees. Awesome.

Alex:

So you were saying you started off with a few partners and, what was everybody's role where you kind of like, like leading the charge on the operations? more of a, just like a financial side, I

Lamont Wynn:

I was leading the charge and then I had my, my board, the guys, the partners, and then we just built it out. You know, with every partnership there are obstacles, a lot of obstacles, so it was, it was a challenge. It was a challenge cuz this was my first business. and These guys are seasoned professionals already and they're, I own rights. So a lot of egos. But, you know, TUR came to be, it came to.

Mischa Smith:

Nice. What was your, what was like your craft your background before beginning that. Okay. That's the most important

Lamont Wynn:

experience in that opinion. No, I like to say jokingly, I really is really a joke cuz it's really a joke. I like to think that I'm never him, but I say I'm like Steve Jobs, I have great ideas and I find talent people to make my dreams come true. you know, so

Alex:

Yeah,

Lamont Wynn:

that sounds like me. why you guys are both. good.

Mischa Smith:

your jobs. You're Steve Jobs, huh? No. what was it like, just generally, was it a lot more difficult than you, You're expecting a lot easier than you're expecting or about as difficult as you guys imagine it would be

Lamont Wynn:

Do you want the censored version or you want the un uncensored version?

Mischa Smith:

uncensored, obviously,

Lamont Wynn:

You know, doing business here is shit, man. There's a lot of loophole and a lot of shit, man. You know, just regulations, laws, and just in general, I'm sure, Alex, you can agree this is, you think something's this way, then it automatically just switches direction. The unanswered questions and the lack of just not knowing what's going on at all times. It's difficult for sure.

Alex:

Yeah. I actually don't really, I haven't run into that too much because I'm. You know, we're getting pastors restarted. We always had a team of people that you're now like for our local partners and, and kinda knew the, the way of the land and just how, how to, how to run a business in Vietnam. And that. For me, it was really helpful because I could focus on the things that I knew, like brewing and restaurants and getting the beer out. yeah, I'm sure all of that stuff is there, but I just, I don't really have too much personal experience seeing

Lamont Wynn:

it was in the battlefield.

Alex:

You're in the trenches. Yeah.

Mischa Smith:

that's a good point. Lamont had a lot of experience living in Vietnam before starting this. You obviously were coming brand new.

Alex:

I had zero. And when you know, I'm getting the company started my role, wasn't the CEO. It was the brewmaster. So there was a lot of the stuff that, you know, I, I didn't really see how I would see as a board member or, you know, something like above the business, but I wasn't in the, in the weeds. Of the day-to-day operations with a lot of that stuff. But it sounds like you're, you're like. At turtle lake, you have to be like the Jack of all trades, you know, you are running the brewing. And kitchen. Oh, yeah, you've got a brewer, but you started brewing

Lamont Wynn:

Working on it.

Alex:

Okay.

Lamont Wynn:

and then the kitchen. Kitchen. Yes. So Yeah. basically jack of all trades, you know, I had to know what was going in the kitchen, obviously no, what's going on in the brewery front of house, back of house, and it's, it's a lot to contend with. Yes, I had a chef, an accountant, obviously managers, but still, you're still pretty much full on because this is a small business and so you gotta know everything and what to do.

Alex:

Yeah. one thing that I, I one thing that I know is very constant about turtle lake is I show up there. I'm going to see. It seems like you're there quite a bit. You know, very involved in all these, like day to day operations and it's, it's always fun for me to go up there and see that, because it seems like you have this really clear, deep understanding of what your business is about and how it runs.

Lamont Wynn:

Yeah. I would like to think that, You wanna watch your baby grow, develop, nurture it so that, so I'm constantly there, you know, Turtle Lake's evolving, I'm evolving, I'm learning as I go, and it's just wanna be involved and make sure it could be the best that it can potentially be. And, after Covid, we're all coming out of a covid hole and trying to get that recognition back and let people know that you're back open and you're trying to, you're back, So I gotta be involved

Mischa Smith:

for sure. But to that point, do you, when you're there at night, do you feel like you're working or do you feel like you're just the host and you and your, your job is to entertain, or you like constantly looking at every little thing that all your staff are doing?

Lamont Wynn:

I'm not a micro maner, I'm more far type of men, her style, but, I'm aware I watch and, but also, you know, I don't wanna be The face of Twi Lake, but I guess I am So you also, you gotta host people. You know, people are gonna come see you, They wanna talk to you. You're trying to create an atmosphere of vibe in the place where people wanna come back. So that's what I'm trying to just create a, a vibe that's okay, this is a cool, chill place to hang out. We might wanna come back, The owner's kind of cool, or he is a dick, whatever, But we wanna come back. You know, beers are good. Food's good. And so I just make a cool, chill place and I do a lot of stupid events.

Alex:

The vibe is awesome. And there's actually something very specific about the vibe that I get when I go to turtle lake and it's that when I step in there, I feel like I could be in a brew pub in Tennessee or in Colorado is just every detail of it from like the food, the types of beers, the way out the atmospheric, seeing the brewery equipment, it just feels What gear in the U S when you're in there, it's like a very immersive experience. I'd say more than any other brewery that I've been to in Vietnam. It just feels like this could be. Anywhere in the United States. And I wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

Lamont Wynn:

People feel that you could be anywhere. Just walk into Oasis, a little guard of greenery and beer and yeah, that's what I want.

Alex:

yeah, it's cool. Cause I know that I enjoy going to like a Japanese When I walk in and it feels like you could be in Japan. you know, and have this awesome bowl of ramen. But I definitely, I think get this like really full, complete, American craft beer brewery, taproom experience.

Lamont Wynn:

Thank you. But it's just me, just me just trying to make a cool

Mischa Smith:

No, sure. But so on the back of that, like obviously there are a lot of Western people working in f and b over here in Vietnam. and I feel like a lot of them do either make concessions or like, try to target things towards locals, which, you know, you need to get Vietnamese people in if you wanna run a restaurant in Vietnam, obviously, but like you trying. promote that American style? Was that a conscious decision that you were thinking about, or is it just naturally the way that you guys decided to run the business?

Lamont Wynn:

I think, I think the business might feel married because I'm American, but really, honestly, that my clientele predominantly is 80% Asian. That'd be the local Vietnamese, Japanese

Mischa Smith:

green, you think your Vietnamese customers appreciate that it's an authentic American experience and that you're not trying to pander and make it more Asian and is that, was that, was that you what you guys set out to do? Or did you just kind of like, these are the bars I'm used to, so I'm just gonna open a bar like

Lamont Wynn:

this? No, I think we, I think. I think Turtle Lake's adaptive basically based on our consumers, our customers. And yeah, maybe in the beginning we're like, Okay, expat can come here, Ispe Bar, but that's not sustainable, especially in Illinois. So basically we had to look at who's coming through the door, who's gonna keep us around. Obviously that's the local community. And so we, we changed ourselves in our menu, thought about looking about shareable, things like that. But also, even when I started Turtle Lake, I knew that I was in Vietnam. And so that's why a lot of my beer, brand new have something to do with Vietnam turtles or something like that, because I'm in the country as a guest making money, not making money, but trying to make some money, trying to do something. So I, I have to be, I had to get homage to where, where I'm at and give respect to them. So I like Turtle Lake, obviously. I noticed a question you're about to ask me. I'll give it to you real quick. so one Kim Lake in the old quarter is Turtle Lake. And when we were looking for the brewery, we found a space in Juanque that we thought we could get. It was like a really cool spot, but it turned out to be owned by the government and that wasn't happening. So by, by that time when we were trying to negotiate, trying to figure out who it was, we came up with the name for Turtle Lake and the logo. And then when we didn't get the place, everything, everything's already set forward, So we moved to the location that we're at now, but for some legitimacy, maybe 2018 Friday night wings, sanity packed places, packed 10 little baby turtles crawled out from the, from the lake onto the busy, terrace, and was like, This is cool. So we kept two through the rest, back, we lost one and through the rest, back and the turtles are now my bar. So it was very auspicious for that. And so have turtles to the bar. So I, I think I'm legitimate now as being a Turtle Lake.

Alex:

I would love it. Yeah. It's not the turtle lake. It's. It's a lake with

Lamont Wynn:

Exactly. No. So we threw the turtles back then, so I know those turtles in the lake next to me, so there you go.

Mischa Smith:

I feel like any lake could be a turtle lake.

Lamont Wynn:

True

Mischa Smith:

So yeah, you, you talked about like creating a vibe at your place, something that we talk a lot about, for our type rooms as well. What's the most important thing that you think of when you think of Turtle Lake Brewing Company? Obviously the beer number one, but as far as like the, the guest experience at your place, what do you think is the most important thing for that?

Lamont Wynn:

I think, Oh, atmosphere. Atmosphere. You come in like this, an atmosphere. I wanna be in this somewhere. I can drink, spend my money, have a good time atmosphere. You just, that first impression usually counts if you walk in, it's like you've been to my place is green, gray and just lit. And it's okay, chilled not so boom, boom, boom. Like that.

Alex:

I wish we had

Lamont Wynn:

this, this episode

Mischa Smith:

on video. was that boom, boom, boom. Was that a reference to the, to the music that you, Cause like we did want to bring up music a little bit, obviously. Yeah. So what kind, what kind of music do you guys play? They're like,

Lamont Wynn:

Everything. as far as like on the playlist? Yeah. Yeah. the playlist is Spotify. It really depends on, on the night and the mood. I'd like to keep it like housed ragga, hip hop and indie stuff, but every once in a while I'll play on some heavy metal. Play a lot of rock. Just depends on the mood. But you know, like on Fridays I have a, a chicken wing special event where I have DJs. so I get get some of the, the good DJs that are playing annoying and they play for me every Friday. And then I'm starting to incorporate more bands now. so I have bands, I have live music Monday and Wednesdays, and then Saturdays I a, band perform. So it's once again, come into that environment you wanna walk in. It's Oh, something's happening here. This is cool. Music's cool, I wanna stay. So it's about an atmosphere.

Alex:

the music comes up quite a bit. I'm sure it will be a recurring theme on a lot of our episodes. It's such a big part of being in like a restaurant and, you know, setting the atmosphere for it. And I think it's a. It's very clear to me that you have a, a really deep understanding of this at some level, because you said something that I just picked up on. Was that you are just trying to fit the energy of whoever's there and that you will adapt and change to whatever you think people. our enjoying at the time. And that is not necessarily the music you want to play. You're just trying to look at your guest and say, Hey, I think this is going to help provide the experience they need right

Lamont Wynn:

now. Oh man, I've, yeah, I've changed the Spotify. My Spotify plays a few times, Okay, I'll let it play This is what they want. But yeah. But yeah, overall nice atmosphere. And. then on top of that service food, you know, they're all, they're all hand in hand, but just that first impression thing sometimes is what you get you nice.

Mischa Smith:

yeah. You mentioned like you guys, you guys do a lot of events. Obviously Alex and I have noticed that as well going up there. It's, it's a really event driven, location. Is that cuz those are like good revenue drivers or are you just trying to like, do something fun for the community? Or is it, is it important to like, keep those, those certain events consistent from week to weeks that people know what they like? Oh, it's Friday night. I'm going for wings.

Lamont Wynn:

All this above, You know, Sorry, that was a lot of questions. That was a lot of questions, but the answer all the above. Yeah, I like events. I'm an event space. I have a, I have a good space for it. Yeah. and I'm also community based. You know, I, I work within the community as best as possible, so people wanna obviously do things at my place because we, Turtle is considered to be a safe space. And so there's been a lot of issues in the past with, you know, some women and things like that. and then it obviously, we just want turtle like to become a safe space for people to come, feel comfortable and invited in that no matter what you are, look like, whatever you're welcomed to come to Lake. So I try to create, create that atmosphere once again. And and therefore I get the events like the, the wrestling, the drag brunches. Christmas markets, beer festivals. So I, I, I tether on all different types of events. That's what I, I like, I like entertaining, I like hosting. So that's why maybe the place is easy to come to cuz I, everyone's, everyone's welcome and so I think that's why I'm, I'm pretty for bug into the events.

Mischa Smith:

That's exactly what I was gonna say. Like it's about inclusivity and making everyone feel welcome when they come in. That's awesome.

Alex:

So about some specific events, Is there anything that you might want to share about running a craft beer festival?

Lamont Wynn:

I mean, it's, in the beginning it was a lot of work, but I think after a while, once you get the routine through, and I'm not a big venue, you know, I'm not like, what is ABC in California? What's The great American But it's the big one in the states. What's the biggest beer

Alex:

The great American beer festival,

Lamont Wynn:

On that scale, yeah, that's, that's a shit that'll work. You know what I mean? That's a lot of logistics. Mine's a little bit smaller, so it's fun, you know? And the brewers fortunate that the brewers all are receptive to what's happening and they're easy to get along with.

Mischa Smith:

Are they though? So

Lamont Wynn:

anyway, moving on. Where I'm from, up North it works well. You know what I mean? And everyone's cool collaborative and so the Beerfest is easy now. Everyone gets their stuff in there. for me, the biggest obstacle obviously is getting people in the door and the weather. I think the weather is my biggest, for the last three Bear vessels rained every time, so you know how that is. But it's fun to organize the bear vessel. It's really fun. If I could do it bigger, I would.

Mischa Smith:

Which brewery is the hardest to deal with

Lamont Wynn:

Pasture.

Mischa Smith:

doing?

Lamont Wynn:

Misha man, he is fucking all over the place, man.

Alex:

That's what we go for. I just make a mark, you know? You

Lamont Wynn:

screaming stand out. He screaming God water and all this, and Dan

Mischa Smith:

guess sounds like a real jerk.

Lamont Wynn:

no, it's cool. It's fun. I mean, mean, it's fun to work next to Misha and the other guys and beer festivals and just talk the shit, you know, Everyone gets drunker and happier, festive as the hours get later. It is good experience, you know, when everyone's happy with each other.

Mischa Smith:

for sure. So we talked about, inclusivity, making everyone feel welcome. Is there a limit to that? is there anyone that you wouldn't want at your,

Lamont Wynn:

oh, can I share a story? Can I share a story?

Mischa Smith:

a hundred percent. Oh, this. is, This is,

Lamont Wynn:

this is a sorry.

Mischa Smith:

this is a, brand new segment to the podcast. It's called Story Time with Lamont

Lamont Wynn:

Yeah.

Mischa Smith:

So you even did your own music.

Lamont Wynn:

So this could be embarrassing for me, but I'm gonna say it anyway. So we just had an event, two weeks ago. We had a drag bingo, had a comedian come on stage that said that he was a drag queen comedian. That didn't happen. So he flew up. Yeah, he's from Saigon. Yeah. So he came up into, his performance was horrible, and then he proceeded to get really weird and drunk and flopping around like a, I don't know, like a elephant with his head chopped off. I don't know what you call. And and then he got really weird with my guest at the table and started crying, emotional, you know, this is disturbing my guests. I'm like, Could you please? So the people who were always like, Hey, this guy's kind of weird and stuff. I'm like, Sir, you know, could you, What's wrong? Leave me alone. Leave me alone. It's It's like, but um, you know, you're kind of disturbing my guests. Leave me alone. So, I left him alone, got him some water, and then he still kept acting weird. And then some customers started talking to him, calmed him down. And then he was still acting little, but then he got up, started dancing again. I think he was on drugs, But then actually, no, he says Spike down. This is where happens right here. Pulls down his pants, whip, saw his dick, and pisses right on my terrace. How about that? I'm like, Dude, I walk up to like, Dude, what the fuck? Put that shit away. And he's Leave me alone. I was okay.

Mischa Smith:

Leave me alone. You're pissing on

Lamont Wynn:

fucking,

Mischa Smith:

piss

Lamont Wynn:

it. Yes. And there's video.

Alex:

I'm really sorry. I was out of it that

Lamont Wynn:

I'm sorry, man. you banned. Other cool events I'm doing, I open a Hana house. I'm building a Hana house.

Mischa Smith:

Yes. Do you do that every year?

Lamont Wynn:

This is my second one, but I I would think they think I'm the only Hana house in maybe or Vietnam. Is there one here?

Mischa Smith:

I don't, I can't think of one off the top of my head.

Lamont Wynn:

I'm building a HA house. I definitely can't think of a haunted brewery. Haunted beers.

Alex:

A haunted house.

Lamont Wynn:

Why a haunted house. Yeah.

Alex:

Why is this the thing? It could be a big Thanksgiving dinner or it could be like a Santa Claus.

Lamont Wynn:

I do that too on the lap. There we go. Okay. Do that too. Bombing for apples. You put apples on a string. Now it's not, it's not, hygienic anymore. got PC now?

Alex:

I just think that's really cool. Like I'm actually talking with my wife and we're going to fly up to Hanoi just to go to a hundred

Lamont Wynn:

dude. It's

Alex:

cause that's something that I love doing as a kid she loved doing as a kid and literally worth. Making a trip to different cities so that like we could do that as a family and have a cool experience. They're fun. A hundred houses.

Lamont Wynn:

so my reason for it, a I have the space and why the fuck not, It's my fucking business. Now. I can do what I want. I'm a big boy now. I wanna haunted house I love

Alex:

that.

Lamont Wynn:

So I built a fucking haunted house, dude, and it was really cool. The first one we did in 2020, right? During the Pandemic. Pandemic Pandemic. You get like that

Mischa Smith:

Pandemic.

Lamont Wynn:

and it was, it was successful. You know, we had five rooms and we, we did a fair amount of people through and.,I couldn't do anything again, obviously for during the Covid situation. So now that we're back open, I'm building a haunted house and have a good team with me. Takes about a month to build out and I scare the shit out of you.

Alex:

I love that. It sounds like it's the, the inner, like ten-year-old coming out. what are you going to do when you grow up? I'm gonna have my own haunted house. It's going to have all this beer everywhere.

Lamont Wynn:

Drunk people. That'd be awesome. Drunk People going through it. Yeah, it's great. What could go wrong? So Yeah, that's,

Mischa Smith:

that's, how Alex runs the business as well. Why the fuck not, I'm a big boy. I can do what I want

Lamont Wynn:

I want dude. I want, But no, I think it's the fun of, you know, when you, when you're able to have the space to do it, something like this. And also, yeah, it's a haunted house cause it's cool, but also it's good marketing. It's bringing people to my restaurant that's never been before.

Alex:

Yeah, It just seems very, Maybe authentic. If you're doing a hundred Probably not like the idea didn't originate from this is going to be the next thing that is the most profitable revenue driver for our company probably started off with this is going to be something really fun to do. And then, and that's where it starts, like doing something fun. And then you start working in, okay. Are we going to lose a bunch of money or is it a marketing? Opportunity. But it seems like it started from This would just be really fucking cool to try.

Lamont Wynn:

Yeah, it's really cool to try. also, you know, the first one, I win the wild on my budget, but you know, this one I'm a little more controlled, you know, so, but yeah, but it's marketing. Maybe you're not, it's not gonna be profitable. Maybe you'll just make your money about recover. But like I say, the value that you give for people who have never been to your place that will come back now is worth in a golden sense. You know? And it also gives you a good reputation because they're gonna drink when they go down there cuz they're waiting. So you might get a couple revenue sales from just from downstairs. The Hana house itself might not be profitable, but the experience and overall that people come back, that's what you're looking.

Alex:

What are your thoughts on our kids being at bars breweries.

Lamont Wynn:

Once again, I'm in community space. I'm family friendly. I, I, I don't mind it, but, you know, I think maybe after 10, 9, 10 maybe you could kind of like, okay, let's keep this more, adult friendly. Because there's, I've known a lot of teachers who don't want to come to my place because they don't wanna see their parents or their students while they're drinking off the work, you know, You know, kind of wanna dis themselves, so they're like, No, I can't really go to your place because I might bump to a parent. And so this is something to deal with. But, you know, parents come, they spend money, they spend a lot of money, and then you gotta find a balance between the two.

Alex:

I've always noticed. I like being a father. I'm that? You know, there's certain bars that it would just wouldn't even cross my mind to go to with my daughter, but almost any like craft beer bar or brewery is usually on the list of yeah, this wouldn't be a problem. Like the. the energy, inside like a craft beer place. It's not. Super aggressive is like more chilled out. And, like you said, family friendly, but I didn't know if you had seen anything like that with like craft beer specifically being like a, a family type drinking experience, almost like the parents want to go there and it's not so crazy that. You feel comfortable to take a kit?

Lamont Wynn:

their kids are behaved. some parents have some bad kids. You like, Dude, you need calm your shit down. you know, parents, some parents recognize it and they calm their kids down, but other time other parents is like, Dude, I'm gonna get drunk because this fuckers like you crazy. And I'm gonna let'em run around and Kyle hav, but it's a balance. You know what I mean? I, I'm not gonna say I only for adults and not for families because. The revenue for both is, is, is you know what you want. You want a place for people to come

Alex:

I always go, I always go back and forth on it. It's like, It's like an awesome spot. So it's like another restaurant is a great place to go hang out, but then There's seven. Should they be around a bunch of beer? I don't know.

Lamont Wynn:

like for some, some events that we host out, try to make it an age appropriate thing. So like drag brunches now are no longer for kids. We're not, it was not family friendly anymore. The wrestling that we do won't be family friendly. So

Alex:

Sorry to break the rules a month ago,

Lamont Wynn:

I was going to. Yeah. But, but car launch, you know, vip Alex is in the house, you know, my daughter. really enjoyed it though. She thought it was awesome. My daughter goes all the time too, you know, is this, you know, But it is for the more for the queens and maybe the guests would feel uncomfortable with the kid running around. You know, Even the

Mischa Smith:

kid might be cool as shit. Yeah. I think you made a good point. It, it's really up to the parents to make sure that, you know, the kids are old enough to behave. you know, we've got, in some of our tap rooms, we've got shuffle board tables, foosball, the big blocks of Jenga. Like when these kids are smashing big wooden Jenga blocks into the shuffle board table and their parents are like just watching them do it. And then it's hey, no that's not acceptable behavior anywhere. please, please. And you know, you're not gonna yell at the kid cuz they don't know they're just runner. Sometimes they're being assholes, but no. Yeah, like you knows, like we've got this nice new pool table at the place and then this woman had her, her young baby like walking all over it in her muddy shoes and it's just what world is that appropriate?

Lamont Wynn:

How about this one? how do you deal with this one? The local family comes in with their son or daughter and gives'em beer?

Alex:

Absolutely not. We were very strict about that. You, you gotta be 18 So that, that's something that just, from a. A moral standpoint, as well as a wiggle and governance standpoint. Like you just don't break rules like that.

Mischa Smith:

Do you see that. a lot? Not Yeah, no, for sure. I can't recall ever seeing it at, at any of our time rooms, But I'm sure it's,

Alex:

But I didn't know, like in Europe and in some places, It's 15 or 16 is like a drinking age and, I don't feel the need to get in the middle of that. We're just going to obey the law.

Lamont Wynn:

Yeah, do the law. But you see it because they're like, Oh, it's okay. I'm like, No, it's not okay.

Mischa Smith:

No. If they're young, young, you know, 15, 16, and it's you know that at that point it's up to the parents to. To, you know, know their children, what they can handle, but, and obviously they shouldn't be sitting around getting smashed, but yeah, when you, when you see young kids and the parents are like, ah, it's now we gotta put a stop to this.

Alex:

I can definitely say when I was like 16, it was like, oh, there's going to be a party. It's going to get some beer. Craft beer never once popped into my head. I was just natural white or

Lamont Wynn:

Nay ice

Mischa Smith:

Mike's hard.

Alex:

what was the cheapest and tasted close enough to

Mischa Smith:

water.

Lamont Wynn:

Here you go. Interesting fact.

Mischa Smith:

It's just gonna name all the shitty beers in the alcohol that we used to drink

Lamont Wynn:

was it Mickey's little green one.

Mischa Smith:

bottles Oh no,

Alex:

Mickey's is awesome. I go to in that, that realm though would be St. Ides.

Lamont Wynn:

St i's, I have an interesting fact. I didn't drink beer until I was 23 and that all changed when I moved to, um, Denmark.

Mischa Smith:

like you never tried a beer or

Lamont Wynn:

I tried to beer, but I didn't really drink. Gotcha. Didn't really drink. I bought my first bottle. I got denied my first bottle one day before my birthday. A liquor store. It ruined me forever. And then, joking,

Mischa Smith:

What it's in, in America? It's 21.

Lamont Wynn:

21. So the whole So when the day before my birthday, like day is like six more. My birthday guy's No, come back tomorrow, you're dick. And then I went back the next day we had a bottle. The friends went with his brother, fucking smashed his foot and had to go to hospital. So I needed to drink. And so I really gave up and drinking. Then I moved to Denmark and then the, the Danes were like, You don't drink. I'm like, No, that'll change. And then beer became opened up to me drinking, you know, two Bo Elephant beer, carlsburg and all that shit. Not shit beer. Sorry,

Alex:

As of now. what would be your favorite beer to drink these days? if you had to pick a beer, this is your beer.

Lamont Wynn:

That pasture doubled ipa.

Alex:

It's on the way.

Lamont Wynn:

And then,

Mischa Smith:

On

Alex:

of that. What album are you going to be listening to while you drink this

Lamont Wynn:

beer? Oh, shit. Never. No. I was, I went, I don't have a favorite beer per se. Like you can say, even for my own beers, my own beers, I, I really enjoyed Drake's. We did the beer review, the, the party Party block, block, party. I really enjoys that one. That was really good. I like, beer. People ask me was my favorite musician. I can't say I like music, I'm not gonna give it one specific, I can't,

Mischa Smith:

a hundred percent. Yeah. I'm a big movie guy.

Lamont Wynn:

Yeah.

Mischa Smith:

What's your favorite movie? Like I'll give you my

Lamont Wynn:

Top five? Yeah, that's what, that's top for me. So I, I don't really like to be too specific on. You know what I would do music, I play, I dunno. Depends on once again, the mood. Yeah. Usually if you hit playing my headphones now, probably be some deep house. Probably. Probably. Listen to our disco. Cause I like disco. Can I ask your question. How's

Mischa Smith:

Please do? It's going great, man.

Lamont Wynn:

You opened a location?

Alex:

Yeah, just opened. One here in Saigon. We actually tried to open one in Hanoi. And then, we ran into probably some of the stuff you were talking about, where we thought we had, like an agreement and then it just fell apart. so that was, you know, disappointing, but, yeah, still, still growing. We were. You know, making it through COVID. is this tough having restaurants and breweries and you can't sell beer or operate a restaurant for months at a time. but yeah, back out of it and as busy as ever. So it's fun to get Back in this, this mindset. I can see it on like everybody in the team's faces. It's Hey, we're, we're growing. You know, we're, we're, we're back to what we're used to doing, like providing awesome experiences, introducing more people to craft beer, expanding your business. And man, that's just a lot more fun than COVID times where you're just like, is there any costs that I can cut to make sure we stay alive for the next month Yeah. I guess it sucks. We had to go through it, but definitely feel stronger on the other side. almost all of our team was able to stay through COVID. So I think that was a really cool. Um, it was, it made it easy to get started again, As we're opening up, it was like the same team. So we all knew what was

Lamont Wynn:

Question, is it better to distribute or open multiple tap rooms?

Mischa Smith:

I think both are really important and I think they feed into each other. Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. No, people come however you experience our beer for the first time, whether it's at one of our tap rooms or at, you know, another bar or restaurant that sells our beer, you know, you have that experience for the first time and if you like it, which most people do, then they wanna seek it out. So it's if you have Jasmine IPA for the first time at, at the hotel that you're staying at in the hotel bar. Yeah. You're like, Oh, what's this I've never heard of it. It's my first time in Vietnam. Where's the brewery? You know, there's information on our cans that you can help. go to our website and find our tap rooms, and then boom, you come in, you got 11 other new beers of ours to try. And alternatively, you know, your first experience is at one of our tap rooms? You're like, Oh, I love this beer. And then as you're spending the rest of your vacation, or if you live here, you know, you're going around, you're saying, Oh, I know that beer. I tried it at, their place. So for sure, for us, it's, we've always felt that, you know, tap rooms are, are more lucrative, you know, because the fewer buffers you have between your beer and your clients, the more money you're gonna make off it. But also, you know, having distribution, having a wide range, having our, our logo up around the country, people seeing our brand, it's massively important to getting

Lamont Wynn:

people in. So what, what, what are your values? You asked me the question, what, what do you want from the customer when they come to pasture? I'm gonna throw back at

Alex:

We actually, when we were getting started, we never planned on having a taproom. we were just going to have it. Original spot on pastor street was going to be our office. And then we were going to build it out, like a, like a full craft beer, like American craft beer experience and invite managers of restaurants or hotels out To drink the beer in that environment and really explain hands-on like, why, why would you want to pay this much for a beer and let them see the quality ingredients and how much work goes into making these recipes. And we thought that was going to be needed because, there wasn't a story behind it. Like it, it just crappy and really didn't exist in any meaningful way. I think in Vietnam at that time. So we knew we had to tell the story of craft beer, and then it was about a month before we were opening that we just started seeing. Seeing all this interest from consumers, like directly Hey, can I come in and try the beer? So we were just like, man, actually in, instead of having this big marketing budget that we were planning on, why I have taprooms that, that really convey your whole brand experience and that your servers can know about the brewing process and answer questions about these beers and explain why. Why we love them so much. Whereas if we're, you know, just selling our beer on tap at all these different restaurants, we, you have a lot less control about like how that beer might be presented. And we thought with it being such a new, Segment. I would say just pretty much non-existent. Um, In Vietnam that we knew that that was going to be something. Really important to, to get the, the message across that we wanted to about why we love craft beer. from there, um, you know, like restaurants, like. They have revenue generation side, but for us, it's always been about, more of a marketing side, like just having this awesome experience. And then, and then it's really cool to see other restaurants maybe even pick up on that. And they're like, yeah, we don't want just one beer on tap. We're going to build our own walk-in core and have 12 beers on tap because I can see that. You know, customers like this. This wider selection of beers and some flavor differentiation inside that. So I think it's, yeah, for us it's yeah, they make money, but it's really more about marketing and trying to expose more people to craft beer in a really cool setting. I mean, that was literally what we were saying. Hey, when we were. Building it out as the taproom, like what is the, the goal, if you can sum it up in one sentence and it's we had just got here from Colorado and it was like, you should be able to pick this up and place it on Pearl street in Boulder, Colorado, and the atmosphere, the service, the beer quality. Would be to the point where it would just be successful.

Lamont Wynn:

So like

Alex:

really big crappier city and to not cut any corners. And just do the best version of craft beer that you think you

Lamont Wynn:

you could. So throw the question one more time. Back to you. So you consider yourself American style type of business brewery.

Mischa Smith:

you know, we've always, you know, we, started the company here. It wasn't that, it wasn't a, that we were making these beers in the states and moved it over here. we're very proud to be Vietnamese, obviously, You know, you know, we, we you know, not to get to, too much into the sales part, but you asked the question, Yeah, no, of course. you know, we, we put local ingredients into all of our beers. Like we wanted to root the beer here in Vietnam. That was always John and Alex's, vision and goal from the start was that we're not an American brewery in Vietnam, where Vietnamese brewery that uses, you know, American styles and American techniques, but also it's very Vietnamese beer. We couldn't make this beer anywhere else. It would be different if we made it somewhere else. And that was always really important to us. And, you know, I think a lot of our Vietnamese customers especially really appreciate that part of it.

Lamont Wynn:

You think the local Vietnamese brewers are breweries are adapting.

Alex:

I think that's actually one of the single biggest things that gives me confidence for the success of craft beer in Vietnam. Moving forward is seeing, these passionate local folks that are, discovering these beer flavors and they could, they could pick any I could go to be an engineer. I could work for my family company. I could be a teacher, whatever. And they're like, you know what? My passion is beer, and I want to start a craft brewery and they are pouring their probably savings all of their time and energy into that. And when that happens, they're going to spread the word to their their friends and their family and their customers about how cool this craft beer thing is. And I think anybody who's in craft beer knows that you don't just pick one beer from one brewery and that's all I drink you. You like to explore the different flavors, try beers from different places. And I think it's just something that's going to bring people into the wider community of craft beer and. And as long as we just keep that positive, that's always going to be something that somebody likes hanging out. Like you go into this one brewery and see some people, and then you go into this other craft brewery. You're seeing a lot of familiar faces people into the same sort of, You know, experience and flavors and what they're drinking and want a story behind it. And some authenticity and yeah. But I think it was just really cool seeing, local people just be like, Having a craft brewery is an option. That's an And I think that that for me is a very strong signal that this is something people want and want more of.

Lamont Wynn:

Yeah, I think you guys in south are definitely the, that your clientele down here a little more ambitious for craft beer, you know, whereas a little more of a struggle, you guys know, trying to get that local community to accept craft beer. But I think there's the pioneers in Han there doing it and spreading the word, but it is still a struggle.

Alex:

We almost started in runaway.

Lamont Wynn:

I remember you guys were the first craft beer I tried. You did a festival with Tanya. way back in the day when she was doing beer festivals and I saw you guys like,

Alex:

We actually Hanoi would be better than Saigon to start the company because.

Lamont Wynn:

I'm happy you guys are down there,

Mischa Smith:

I am.

Alex:

what we saw was that at the time there was a really like vibrant drinking culture in Saigon, but it was very loud, like you said, boom, boom, boom, like this big club and crazy environment. And we just. We didn't know how craft beer might fit into that. But when we went to Hanoi, there was like these little N. You know, a coffee shop down this little alley where people were having conversations and yeah. It seems like a deep appreciation for this product quality and the authenticity and the story behind it. And we thought that like people up there would be, you know, it'd be an easier sell to, to be like, this type of beer is what you might want to drink. But then we started off in Saigon just because we had more of a network here. We knew more bar and restaurant, people that would be interested in carrying it. And, John, he knew Saigon a lot better than Hanoi. So we actually just chose Saigon because we had more of a network.

Lamont Wynn:

I remember there's three gentlemen at my bar and we were trying to tell them like what crap beer was like, why would I wanna drink a beer that's made to Vietnam? You know, they're like, for me, an exporter, import beer would be like, Shama, stellar ooi, you know, la all this. And we're like trying to tell. this is good beer. They're like, Oh, we don't know about that. Why? You know, it was made in Vietnam. It's gonna be shit. And so we had to go through this whole spiel and try to tell'em, this is why makes the craft beer so special. And they got it. And they got drunk and they had their shirts up and had a good old time afterwards.

Alex:

No, we thought about that too though. And, we actually looked to another company that, that was doing that sort of thing. Maru chocolate. And, and that was, I think cool for me, because that was like one of our ideas starting up is that we wanted to have something that like, you could be really proud of being. from Vietnam, knowing that our craft beer is like world-class and that's why we always try and you know, enter our beers and foreign beer competitions and, and export. Yeah, we, we try and participate and, quite a few.

Mischa Smith:

for sea. You mean

Lamont Wynn:

Yeah. Beer championships.

Mischa Smith:

Yeah, we got our entries in eventually.

Lamont Wynn:

How did you guys do? What, How many did you put in? I

Alex:

remember. It was, it was like ten-ish ten-ish maybe.

Lamont Wynn:

they can't tell me 10. That's fair. I did six.

Alex:

what I always say about competitions too, though, is you got to participate in the ones that are doing an honest competition that are really bringing the craft beer community together. And then it's your responsibility to participate and You know, if you win a metal, you should be really proud about winning a medal. And that's something that You should celebrate. But if you don't win a metal, also, there's lots of great beers that don't win metal. So I try and like to say that participation is fun and that's great if you win, but I'm making sure that that brewers participate in these things that bring everybody together and you see each other as real people, not like these competing businesses. I think that attitude just bleeds out to customers who are like, maybe they worked for a tire factory I feel like they got caught, like hanging out with the dudes from the other tire factory, it would be like, Yeah, like you're out, man. Like you don't hang out with the competition. And I think

Lamont Wynn:

bad

Alex:

in the U S at least I don't, I'm not so sure it's seen here, but in the U S at least like customers picked up on that and they were just like, dude, I want to start my own brewery. You get to actually be friends with Your

Lamont Wynn:

So what do you tell them? I wanna start my own brewery. What do you tell'em?

Mischa Smith:

If, if someone comes to us, ands, I wanna start my own brewery. What, what kind of advice would you give? I think we should go around the room and answer that. I'll go first. Don't do it.

Lamont Wynn:

Have a good lawyer and

Mischa Smith:

I tell, I tell the market's already saturated and it won't work.

Lamont Wynn:

Have a good lawyering accountant.

Mischa Smith:

No, but sorry. The, the, the real answer, the honest answer is like, You know, I'm, I, I was a bartender. first and then now I'm in sales. Yeah. so I wouldn't be able to give anybody advice about opening up a craft brewery, but I love drinking good beer. So if someone's passionate about it and they're gonna be making good beer, they're gonna be value add to the community, then absolutely they should go ahead with it. I don't, I'm not worried about competition. I'm, I'm encouraged when I drink awesome beers from other people, and it gives me confidence that. The craft beer industry is strong and healthy and, and is gonna be around long term. The only, the biggest fear for me with craft beer is like, people who make beers that aren't great. If people try that for the first time and they're like, Oh, that's craft beer, you know, it's, it's not the greatest. So yeah, someone wants to start a brewery and they know what they're doing and they make awesome beers. Fuck yeah. Go on with it.

Alex:

Any time that, that I get that question. I just say. What do you want to know? And absolutely. And. I'm happy to help in any way that I can, like even internally, like within the company, you know, try and ask questions, Hey, you know, you're, you're bartending right now. do you know what it is that you want to do with Do you have a long term vision or goal and it's okay if you don't, but if you do please share it because if your goal is to run your own business one day, then I can start looping you in, on stuff at work, that will give you like the skills and the knowledge or, You know, I've started a couple breweries and then help consult with some other people who had started some. And like I've lots of like documents and stuff that I can just redact some names or numbers from and just say, Hey, this was a successful business plan. For, for this type of concept or this was, you know, something here's a spreadsheet that really helped me, do demand planning and forecasting. Here's something on a restaurant culture side that can be really helpful and just try and like share, but probably not, if they come to me and they're just like, I'm trying to make a shit ton of money. Can you help me, make this really profitable? I'm just like, I just get this impression that Whatever, whatever comes out of that is probably just going to be like not great for the community. And then also, like if I'm going to share information with you, like you're going to have to pay.

Lamont Wynn:

your time is, my time is valuable for sure. Your shitty beer

Alex:

Yeah. Like maybe I could share, but like at least you're going to have to pay because I just, I don't know. But if somebody is passionate and they want to do it, man, that's how I learned people share with me. I think people taught me how to brew.

Lamont Wynn:

I, I think for me as a whole, least get into this business new and I can say about everyone. My experience with everyone, the breweries here in Vietnam, most of them. I feel that if I have, if I had an issue, I feel confident that I could probably talk to them. They would help me out. You know what I mean? They might not gimme the exact answer completely, but they'd be willing to go outta their way a little bit to help me out, gimme the answers I want

Mischa Smith:

sometimes. Yep.

Lamont Wynn:

And I, I like that. That's cool. Everyone here is really cool. And they're, you know, they're all, everyone's trying to run a business, but everyone's still community based in a sense.

Mischa Smith:

Yeah. So there was one, one time I was talking to, the owner of a brewery who had their beers on at a place that I really wanted to get our beers in. And we were having trouble getting in touch with a manager or an owner there. And I knew the guy pretty well, so I just messaged him like, Hey, you know, I saw you guys are on here. do you mind passing me a contact with someone? And he is Sorry, Misha, I'm not gonna do that. if you need the name of a supplier, a distributor or con, I'm happy to share any of that. I just don't feel comfortable giving out my client's personal contact info. And I thought that was completely fair.

Lamont Wynn:

That's Jen, that's de genuine.

Mischa Smith:

no, exactly. And that's it. Like when I, when someone asked me, I kind of like have to think about the person who it is, how well, like the relationship I have with the client. And I'll usually just ask them like, Hey, someone from this brewery wanted to talk to you. Do you want me to put you in touch or not? And just let that guide it For sure it is about community and, but there's also like certain boundaries that's you know, your job is to sell beer. Maybe you should go make a sales call and and do your job. Yeah. I'm not gonna give you all the cheat. coats. Yeah, no, no. I don't

Lamont Wynn:

expect full answers. But you know, sometimes you have a questions like, hey, just,

Mischa Smith:

and, and that's it. Like his answer was so reasonable. There's no way I could be like, Oh, come on, man. And I was just like, Yeah, that's fair. I understand he wasn't upset that I asked, and I certainly wasn't upset that he said no. It was just, it was a reasonable conversation between two adults, which is the way it should be.

Lamont Wynn:

Doesn't always happen.

Mischa Smith:

Doesn't always,

Alex:

Oh, no, you're in the tougher side of it too, because like brewers always get along.

Mischa Smith:

Come on. Like Like i's

Lamont Wynn:

recorded.

Alex:

Come on like guys at brew beer. At the brewery where you're battling the tanks and the yeast and. Like making sure the quality is on point. You can always get along. It's tough though,

Mischa Smith:

Alex, I would agree that. brewers get along more and easier with each other than sales guys would mostly. But what, What did you say exactly? What was the quote? All brewers get along

Alex:

From what I see, I guess like anybody like could be just a Dick.

Mischa Smith:

Yeah.

Alex:

I've met a couple of guys. But it's not because they're like pitted against each other with their This guys is going to be a Dick

Mischa Smith:

No, no, no. A hundred percent. And that's that's an observation that I made. There was, there was someone here like years ago who was giving an interview. And he and the, interviewer asked him which hops were in his ipa and he made some crack about, I'd sooner show you a picture of my wife than, than tell you my hop recipe. But then when I'm going, when I'm, when I've gone to these international, beer events, most of the brewers I meet, they're like, Hey, how did you do that? that's really cool. I love that beer. and they're very open and honest. These are guys with way more experience, way more talent. Cuz they're, they're secure. They don't mind sharing because they like, not only don't they mind sharing, they wanna share because someone else is, Yeah. Someone else is giving them a compliment. The like, why'd you do that? I don't know how to do that. How did you do it? It's Oh dude, it was awesome. I did this and this and this. And you know, you're showing off a little bit, but also you're just proud of your work and what you've done. And we've talked about it before, like some breweries share the recipes online on the internet. Anybody can do it. that's, and I feel like that's the right attitude. Like if. If you, if someone else makes a Jasmine IPA and they think they can do it better than us, take a crack man. Go at it like that's our best selling beer

Lamont Wynn:

next week.

Mischa Smith:

Yeah. Turtle, like Jasmine IPA launching this weekend.

Alex:

If somebody is making a better Jasmine IPA than we are. The last thing that I'm going to be thinking is like, What the Fox through. Through this guy. it's going to be like, why can't you do better? Why are you not able to make a better Jasmine IPA? It's more of a internal challenge thing. It's not like you can't grow something by just trying to keep other people down with holding information, keeping trade secrets, make it harder for other craft brewers to operate. If you make it easy and you share everything, that's going to be more craft breweries. They're going to have better tasting beer. And that's, that's kind of the, the goal at the end of the day, when you're this tiny fraction of the beer market. Your goal is to make that tiny fraction just a little It's not to like steal customers back and forth from, you know, other places. It just It sounds exhausting and probably really expensive and just not really helpful for anyone. And it seems you know, maybe there's a point like 30, 50 years in the future where just like craft beer is. Is the mainstream beer and then it starts getting like that. But man, I just think there's way more opportunity in sharing what we do with people that don't know about it.

Mischa Smith:

Lamont, did you answer the

Lamont Wynn:

question about, I think I, I wanna say, can say, what

Mischa Smith:

would you give to someone who, if someone came to you wanted to open a grand. It was your own question.

Lamont Wynn:

Hey, I, who's answering the question? Who's whose podcast is right? I'm the one answered the

Mischa Smith:

This

Alex:

awesome. Yeah, I think we should do a beer festival and I'm just going to, you know, we'll talk to the marketing team. I can just call them out and he didn't give you all the details. We got this.

Lamont Wynn:

word.

Mischa Smith:

And Lamont would say, you gotta talk to my staff. I don't do any of that.

Lamont Wynn:

don't do shit, man. Over to drinking beer. Be the host

Alex:

Speaking about staff.

Lamont Wynn:

Oh shit. What?

Alex:

I don't think it's just the customers that go from brewery

Mischa Smith:

I think it's

Alex:

the team. We have a lot of people that have worked for us that worked for other craft breweries. Now. Is that the same for you?

Lamont Wynn:

you? No, not actually for us. No. Actually, not surprisingly, but no. Mm-hmm. I don't, I really haven't had anyone that has worked for another, apart from my long eye, my brewer, No. Mm-hmm.

Mischa Smith:

I feel that's interesting that you mentioned that cuz I, I feel like. Maybe this is an observation that I've made years ago and I'm just like sticking with it now, even if it's not as true. But I feel like we don't have that many staff that have that like jump from brewery to brewery, you know? And I know a lot of people do like, go other tap rooms. Some kids like, you know, We were at someone's staff room one time again years ago, and this kid walked by and was like, Oh, he worked at that place last week, right? And yeah, yeah, no, he just started here this week. The owner was saying this. Yeah, I just hired him. He was like, his first night, you know, probably be at that other place next week, know. I was like, that's, you know, for some, for some people it's like they find an industry or a segment of an industry and then they like jump around and, you know, they're young kids, the grass is always greener. It's Oh, they're gonna pay me a little bit more per hour. let me do that. And then they get there and it's US place sucks. Let me find the next one. Like

Alex:

I don't see that actually I don't see the, The grass is greener. I see that like somebody who's like a supervisor of a taproom. And they're wanting to move up and grow in their career. And we already have full staff of general managers, but this other place is needing a general manager and they can make this vertical move. And it's like,

Mischa Smith:

support that every time I feel like we've gotten there. as an industry. I'm, again, I said this is an observation I made years ago. Like that. It was, there was a lot of that early on when, you know, it was a lot of new breweries, a lot of new tap rooms and a lot of the younger kids were like, just, you know, their eyes were mad and Oh,

Alex:

I think it's cool. I see people moving around a lot, but it's always vertical moves. It's Hey, I been, you know, a bartender here and now there's an option to go to this place, but to be the manager or, Hey, you know, like I've been making beer for this company. And now I think I have the opportunity to start my own company. I see a lot of that in. For me, I guess my perspective, Usually vertical moves that the company isn't able to provide, they wish they could. but there's a site. You don't have the job at the time and it's like no hard feelings. if you get an opportunity to like, take a step up in your career within the same industry, I don't really follow anybody for taking that option.

Lamont Wynn:

Do you have a prerequisite that your staffer to drink beer? Is there an

Mischa Smith:

image that

Lamont Wynn:

you're looking for as for your beer tenders? And is there, is there something that's

Mischa Smith:

no, what's the word I'm looking for? There's no, no, there's No, quotient. You know, you, there's, there's not a minimum amount of beers that our, our staff have to drink per month to, to qualify. Explain,

Lamont Wynn:

I have staff who don't drink beer.

Mischa Smith:

Yeah.

Lamont Wynn:

They

Mischa Smith:

you

Lamont Wynn:

So as a prerequisite that they have to, they they drink beer. You in a sense, like they are beer drinkers to work at pasture because obviously they're representing your

Mischa Smith:

No, no, No, They just have to be knowledgeable about our

Lamont Wynn:

beer. Yeah. But you know, you knowledgeable, but can you be passionate about it? What's more important?

Mischa Smith:

I think someone can be passionate about the craft beer industry without being a beer drinker.

Lamont Wynn:

the industry, a particular product, though

Mischa Smith:

I think they can be passionate about our brand without being, without being a beer drinker. If they're proud of one of our first employees who's now our HR manager, Like obviously she's drunk beers, but she doesn't drink a lot. But I remember early days talking to her, like we both started out behind the bar. She was, she's still one of the most passionate employees we've ever had. And not just about her work and her job, but about the brand. I remember coming back one time or she was coming back from maternity to leave and while she was gone it was like when, east, west hearted darkness, bell go, winking seal when all those guys opened around the same time. And, so we were just talking about all the different breweries now, and she's asking me like, how are they. And, you know, I'm like, Oh, this one's good at this, this one's good at this. You know, just going over it. And at the end she just turns me with a smile and she's But we're still the best. Right? And you know, it's cuz that's, she takes pride in, in our company. And that's why she's amazing at her job. It's Not, because she drinks the most beer. not

Lamont Wynn:

not until Connie just,

Mischa Smith:

or, Yeah, yeah. No, that's fair. But she, she, I remember like when we were on slow shifts, she was like, Googling craft beer. She's she wanted just learn more and more and more and more. So she was passionate about the brand and the process and the industry without being a big drinker. no, I, I don't think that, I don't think that you have to drink a lot of beer to be good at your job working for a, a craft brewery unless you're working in sales

Alex:

I had a great response to a question like that. Like another example, I was like, I realized that my question was like, just probably not very good, but if it was an interview and I was like, all right. you've got, a lot of experience, but you don't have, experience in hospitality. Um, are you worried about that coming on and is that. you know, before this, I was working in like pet food and I've never had a pet or eaten pet food. And before that it was like tires and I've never had a car. And, um, you know, I was selling like these electrical engineering products and I'm not even a math guy, but I just kinda realized it was like connecting, like the. You know, like what the, the owners. Of the business or the, the vision, the values of the business were with what customers wanted and just like making that connection and then making that connection is something that they were happy about. that was like valuable It's like a whining people's interests that wanted to have jobs and wanted to do whatever with people that wanted to have an experience that I was like, Once again, I was like, your answer is way better than my

Lamont Wynn:

question

Mischa Smith:

Just similar to that, I remember we were looking for a, uh, a sales guy to focus on, off trade. It's like grocery stores, supermarkets, retail chains. and this kid was recommended to me. I interviewed him. He had a ton of sales experience. He didn't know anything about craft beer. Not a thing. but, his previous job was working with all of the clients that he'd be working with with us, but he was selling, women's cosmetics. This is a young guy, shy, quiet, like he doesn't fucking use makeup Like he doesn't know the first thing about it. not that he doesn't know the first thing about it, he doesn't know the first thing about using it for his personal life, but I'm like, this guy's been selling ladies cosmetics for the last three years. I think I can teach him how to sell beer Like I can teach him enough about beer that he'll be really good at that job. And he was great.

Lamont Wynn:

He had a lot of similar similarities between craft beer and the ladies makeup.

Alex:

they're both beautiful.

Mischa Smith:

there. It,

Lamont Wynn:

Oh, you're, you're shocked after it comes off

Mischa Smith:

I hope some people got that

Alex:

So fact or fiction Misha, you usually introduce the segment. So I figured I would today, There we go.

Lamont Wynn:

Big man doing something.

Alex:

Yeah. So fact or fiction, um, you know, like there's, I guess two answers, you can say this is fact or this affection, but.

Mischa Smith:

this is why I usually introduce it. Solomont,

Alex:

Go

Mischa Smith:

Solo

Lamont Wynn:

Yes,

Mischa Smith:

on every pod we like to wrap it up with a segment, we call fact or fiction. All right. I'm gonna hit you with a few statements and then you can confirm whether they're fact or fiction, and if there's like a little story coming out of it. go ahead and tell it And if You just wanna leave it to one. No, no, don't. If, if you've got something, great, hit us with it. If you wanna just leave it to the one word response. You can do that as well. factor fiction, Turtle Lake is the biggest craft brewery in oi. I plea the fit. Okay.

Lamont Wynn:

That's a, that's a, um, that's a, um, fiction.

Mischa Smith:

Okay. Well obviously biggest can mean different things and I was intentionally, uh, ambiguous just to see what you would say, but

Lamont Wynn:

no, Okay.

Mischa Smith:

Uh, fact fiction. Your head brewer is female.

Lamont Wynn:

Yes, she is. Long eye. She's awesome. She is the heart of Turtle Lake. She is. She's awesome.

Mischa Smith:

She is awesome. She did a beer review.

Lamont Wynn:

She did a Oh yeah, she did a review. She, right now she's judging in, um, Singapore.

Mischa Smith:

Oh, that's awesome. We didn't get invited to Singapore.

Lamont Wynn:

No, I know, right. She would talk to Charles about that. She's like,

Mischa Smith:

Factor Fiction. Turtle Lakes taproom will have a new home in the near future.

Lamont Wynn:

yeah, but you know, not by choice

Mischa Smith:

but Right.

Lamont Wynn:

shit's happening. But hopefully not, but yeah. But inevitably, yes. I would like to have a second top

Mischa Smith:

time. Oh, is it still up in the air that You get? Like I, There's some construction bullshit. That's said.

Lamont Wynn:

politics.

Mischa Smith:

Yeah. Okay. You don't have to elaborate more than that. Factor fiction. You feel like a black Joe Rogan right now. Oh shit.

Lamont Wynn:

I thought it was Donald Trump, but

Mischa Smith:

moving on. Lamont Factor fiction. American Craft beer is the best. Craft beer. American.

Lamont Wynn:

make really great beers. I think great be, can be everywhere. I wouldn't say anyone's particularly to say is the best beer, you know. I guess that being pc

Mischa Smith:

no. I think you're, being honest.

Lamont Wynn:

I'm not shit down American brewers.

Mischa Smith:

No, of course not.

Lamont Wynn:

beers, you know, but I, I like Belgian beers. I like, you know, beers from all around the world. So I'm, like I say, America's the best.

Mischa Smith:

Awesome.

Lamont Wynn:

Uhoh.

Mischa Smith:

No, no. I just, I, I appreciate meeting an American with a little bit of humility.

Lamont Wynn:

you know, make America great again.

Mischa Smith:

factor fiction. You enjoy cooking food more than brewing beer.

Lamont Wynn:

That would've be a fact, because, you know, I'm not brewer per se, so I like, Yeah, I always wrote that one. Are

Mischa Smith:

you under the impression that Lamont a brewer?

Lamont Wynn:

I've done my sharing in cleaning. In the brewery.

Alex:

you started a brewery and you were homebrewing.

Lamont Wynn:

No, no. I'll be very honest with you. No, I'm not a brewery.

Alex:

Oh,

Lamont Wynn:

wow.

Alex:

I thought you, I thought you had

Lamont Wynn:

I am. I have plans and I have worked in the brewery. Yes, I do know the process. I do how to put one together. I have little experience, but I'm not a brewer per se. But I do understand the aspects of what beer, how beer is made. I can't give a beer tour. I do understand the process.

Alex:

love learning something new. I had always assumed that you had brewed beer at

Lamont Wynn:

just a black man trying to get my hustle on, man,

Alex:

Fair

Lamont Wynn:

Fair enough.

Mischa Smith:

respect, hustle. All right. Factor fiction. An actual turtle lives on the bar at your tap room, and her name is Glenda.

Lamont Wynn:

Fuck no, You good. Which you're a bad witch. No, it's actually at,

Mischa Smith:

what's

Lamont Wynn:

the name? So are they. Oh shit. They do have names. My daughter named them.

Mischa Smith:

Oh, nice. is good. You can just say

Lamont Wynn:

Oh, I'm sorry. That was in the long side. That was, that was fiction.

Mischa Smith:

Lamont, Factor Fiction. Southernplayalistic Cadillac Music is the best outcast album. Word, word

Lamont Wynn:

from the atl. Absolutely

Mischa Smith:

Love it. factor fiction brewers always show up sober and on time to beer festivals.

Lamont Wynn:

Play the fifth.

Mischa Smith:

I can confirm that. That is fiction. I show I show up on time for beer festivals. Sober is a lot to ask. Last one, Factor fiction. The Claremont Labs is the best bar in Atlanta. Oh, right. Yeah.

Lamont Wynn:

How did you know what the Claremont Day tell you?

Mischa Smith:

I went to Atlanta last year. or

Lamont Wynn:

yeah, Last year. How did you have fun three years ago? It's fun,

Mischa Smith:

a great time. Yeah.

Lamont Wynn:

Yeah. It's awesome, man. I, I actually got me a Claremont t-shirt, on this last trip, cuz Yeah, for those who know, will know. If you don't know the Claremont's, does cd Can I tell the story. real quick?

Mischa Smith:

hundred percent. Wait,

Alex:

do you have a favorite performer?

Lamont Wynn:

Blonie.

Alex:

okay. What

Lamont Wynn:

Pete. I don't know Pete. Little Little about Pete. This was like nine years

Alex:

She might not

Lamont Wynn:

remember Blonie. so yeah. So Claremont's this little CD bar on Ponce Atlanta bar? No, it's a hotel actually. It's a hotel. And the, the hotel has a history of just sketchiness and stories. Yeah. And on the, of the base of this, of the basement of this hotel is, a strip club. And these are more mature women.

Mischa Smith:

Yeah. Yep.

Lamont Wynn:

When I say that you, the, the, the criminal, the cri of classiness. And

Mischa Smith:

not like, they're not like the up and

Lamont Wynn:

Yeah. They're not those other like hos that you get down the street. very Fuck his shit now. anyway, it's a fun place to go. This is a dive, this is a dive strip bar. But anyway, there's a DJ and his name is Romeo Cologne. Mm-hmm. and his, friend quasi, I forget what quasi DJ name is, and they do disco nights there at the bottom of the, of the Star Bar. the Claremont Lounge. So you got this mix crowd of is people just listen to disco and strippers on the other side, just dance around the pole and it's just a good fiasco of funness.

Alex:

I really enjoy waiting in line to get in.

Lamont Wynn:

Yeah, I remember know. Yeah. Clearmont is cool, man. Yeah. Clearmont Club. So actually bought a shirt I had to, I'm gonna wear, I didn't wanna bring it down because I should have brought it down. Represent I, but I don't know everything's gonna know. But now that you called me out on it, you been right. So, shit, I, you know, I saw Dave Alight when I was there. Tooth full lead over in gym,

Mischa Smith:

Yeah. Dave was here when I was there, but

Lamont Wynn:

yeah, No, no, let's go, let you know the Claremont. Alright. Where. Oh, Where're next time. Yeah, so Yeah. I'm from Atlanta. I guess that's the question. Was that the question?

Mischa Smith:

No factor. fiction. The Claremont Lounge is the best bar in Atlanta.

Lamont Wynn:

Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, for sure. Mjq, There's a couple folks, but yeah, that's Mylan story.

Mischa Smith:

Love it. Lamont. is there anything you want to, obviously we know, we can find you at Turtle Lake Brewing Company up in oi. Is there anything else you want to shout out? Give a plug to before we get going?

Lamont Wynn:

No. I would say thank you for you guys for giving the opportunity to, to talk some shit with you. Thanks for coming on. It's fun. Thank you very much. Appreciate that. you know, I, what's up to everybody in the Bear Brewing community, Peace out.

Mischa Smith:

Awesome. Thanks to our producer, Niall. our theme music again was by Lewis Wright. Thank you as always to my co-host, Alex Violet. And thank you for listening.

Alex:

Thank you Misha.

Mischa Smith:

And obviously thank you Lamont for coming on. guys,

Lamont Wynn:

Thank you Meetha. Appreciate it. Really, sincerely. Thank you.

Mischa Smith:

That was beer stories.