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Northern Virginia’s Aslin Brewing are brash and outspoken with a no-holds-barred approach that’s reflected in their progressive take on brewing. They’ve been tinkerers and experimenters from their earliest days brewing on a 2 bbl system, and this year they’re on track to brew over 5,000 barrels of beer on a small 8.5 bbl system, almost all of which is canned and sold from their dock because the brewery doesn’t currently have a taproom. In this conversation with Jamie Bogner, cofounders Kai Leszkowicz and Andrew Kelley discuss everything from their collaborative approach to competition (“As much as it’s sad, we look at Untappd every day”), to their processes using hops, adding adjuncts, rousing tanks, and even their pricing strategy with margins that support employees, allow them to grow with little debt, and prepare for a shakeout in the brewing industry, if it ever comes.
“We say that we’re competitive, and it sounds intimidating, but at the same time it doesn’t mean that we’re not going to be friends. That we can’t work together. That we don’t have something to learn from you, or you from us. We’ve never said ‘no’ to anybody. We’re still good people and nice. We’re just ‘if this is the field of play, we’re in a game right now, we’re going to win.’ We would like to win. We’re out here to do our best and be the best at what we do. We’ve definitely not achieved that yet, and there are tons of critics that are willing to tell us [so], which is great, because we’re using that as jet fuel to continue our search.”