This week we talk with Jim Leuders, Patriarch and head brewer at WildWood Brewing in Stevensville, Montana, just south of Missoula.
From van-lifer to brewmaster, Jim has designed a sustainable brewery that is unique and worthy of a stop on any tour of Montana. His integrated systems and organic brews offer consumers an experience that is rarely seen in the brewing industry. The beer, the brewery, the taproom, the architecture, are truly a work of art.
Video Notes to Highlighted Topics
1:04 Germany Bound
Not only did he start his brewery in the oldest town in Montana, veteran brewer, Jim Lueders paid his way through a master brewing program in Germany. You gotta hear how he paid his tuition using an old car.
5:37 Van Life & Consulting
Jim began his career as a consultant traveling where he was needed, living in a van, and with plenty of time to play. Not a bad life.
7:20 Science & Art Play Together
Jim talks about how he is always a student and always learning to better craft his trade.
8:50 Timeline of a Brewery
Buying a system that Jim originally made himself and starting a brewery from scratch takes time. I wonder what car he used for this expense?
12:40 Sustainability & Integration
Jim is following his dream of creating a brewery that includes sustainable solutions and integration of a farming system around the brewery. One endeavor is his desire to grow mushrooms on spent grains.
18:46 Organic Brews
Farming organically and using integrated systems, Jim wants to remain true to organic roots to sustain the environment while creating tasty brews.
20:18 World Class Beers
Beers, like world class food, need to be balanced. “World class beer demands another when finished.” Jim talks further about his travels and tasting those world class beers.
23:41 Unruly Teens
Many brewers have mastered their craft, yet many are still trying to do so. “We’re unruly teenagers and teenagers like to experiment.”
24:12 Marketing Struggles
Getting good beer into consumers’ hands in the first place is difficult in today’s market regardless of how good the beer is.
24:52 Telling a Story
Jim struggles with getting his story out there. How do we as a small brewery tell our story and get customers to our location without being dominated by AB InBev and MillerCoors?
27:05 The Stout Life
“If Jim wanted to make money, he would probably be somewhere else. There are rewards that are past money.”
29:19 Beyond the Taproom – Brewing the Bock
Jim takes us on a tour of his unique brewing system while brewing a Doppelbock.
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