Name: Julian Millier
Title: Head Brewer at Essex County Brewing Co., Peabody, MA
Many people use many different paths to get into this industry. Can you tell us a little bit about how you arrived at this point in your career? How did it start?
Before this, I wasn’t doing anything in this industry. I was in tile contracting. I’ve been home brewing as a hobby for years, then I joined the North Shore Brewers group. After making some connections I was brought on here with Pete and Paul as their head brewer.
How many brewers do you work with?
It’s just me. I’m the only brewer here!
Do you ever see yourself getting back into the tile contracting business?
What trends have you noticed over the past 18 months? What’s getting hotter and what’s declining? How do you think this profession will change over the next five years?
In terms of drinking beer, the New England IPA trend is still kicking. In the industry, there’s definitely been an influx of home brewers going pro due to the availability of the equipment you need. It’s easier now because you don’t need massive tanks anymore, everything can be micro.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about your job?
The research aspect is very important… don’t guess, ask a lot of questions. The North Shore is filled with so many knowledgeable brewers and there’s nothing wrong with asking for help.
Any advice for someone just starting out?
Keep your head down and focus on what you’re doing. Value your time! There are so many things you don’t realize you’ve gotta get done. Be diligent – attention to your tasks should be more or less obsessive.
What are the top two things you think people should know about you?
I’m very easy going and easy to approach. Don’t be afraid to buy me a beer.
Last time you dined out, what did you get?
Tuna tacos at CK Pearl.
What’s your favorite style of beer?
I’m into cleaner beer at this point in my life.. I’d rather be drinking a light Kolsch than an IPA.
How would you describe the brewery scene on the North Shore right now?
Very non-competitive. We’re all so different, and everyone’s pretty friendly.
2 years ago, where would you envision yourself today?
I definitely would not have seen myself here. I probably would think I’d still be doing tile contracting & home brewing as a hobby
What sets Essex County a part from other breweries?
I think what makes us what we are is our quality – from the ingredients to the equipment to the water we use. Also, our dedication and my tendency to be obsessively attentive to the brewing process.
Have you ever slipped up and made a beer “on accident” i.e. made mistakes in the brewing process that actually turned out tasting great?
No, I’ve actually never done that. But I have surprised myself, trying out a new recipe or technique for the first time and nailing it.
What’s currently in the works for you guys at Essex County?
We’re working on a lot of pop ups, and we installed a game room. We’ve got skee ball, a “hoops forever” basketball game, cabinet style arcade games, fooz ball, maybe more to come. Right now we’ve got four fermenting tanks and and five draft beers on tap. Always looking to get bigger and grow.
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