Podcast Episode 219: For Firestone Walker Cofounder David Walker, Innovation and Collaboration Are in Craft Beer’s DNA

There wasn’t any one moment when David Walker knew that the brewery he founded with his brother-in-law was going to be successful. Instead, they’ve laid layer atop layer over 25 years to add reach while improving quality.

Jamie Bogner Dec 31, 2021 - 6 min read

Podcast Episode 219: For Firestone Walker Cofounder David Walker, Innovation and Collaboration Are in Craft Beer’s DNA Primary Image

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For this final episode of 2021, David Walker of Firestone Walker (Paso Robles, California) joins the podcast to talk about the brewery’s remarkable evolution—from the earliest days of making pale ale to getting lucky with 805 (and not screwing it up), and accelerating the innovation process in recent years with hop-forward series such as Luponic Distortion and Mind Haze. Walker shares his thoughts on everything from capital investment to risk management, fostering a culture of creativity and quality, and more.

As the brewery continues to grow toward their goal of a million barrels by the end of this decade, they continue to follow concurrent paths that might seem contradictory on the surface, yet they reflect the love, respect, and connection with the idea of craft beer and those fellow brewers who make it. From their small-scale club delivering beers to diehard customers in California to their annual Invitational festival, they continue to sweat the small stuff. Still, scale brings the ability to make bold, values-driven decisions like investing in environmental sustainability, and Walker talks about their moves to reduce water consumption and replace grid power with solar.

“American craft brewers brought flavor and innovation and disruption to a monolithic beer industry worldwide, and they changed the world of beer, and they changed the consumer,” Walker says.

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Jamie Bogner is the Cofounder and Editorial Director of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine®. Email him at [email protected].