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Brewing with Jon Lee of Wasatch and Squatters

The man behind Wasatch Brewery and Squatters Craft Beers answers questions about his storied brewing career. (Issue 23)
(Photo Courtesy of Jon Lee)


BC: What are some advantages of brewery cooperatives? Do Wasatch and Squatters brew differently?

Lee: The sharing of knowledge in making better beer was absolutely a huge benefit in the early days. It was also quite helpful in boosting our purchasing power, which helped us survive the last turndown in the industry. Back at the end of the 90s and early 2000s it was difficult to survive if you weren’t over about 10,000 barrels in production. With the co-op forming it was able to put us as a whole around 14,000 and made it so we could be here today cranking out phenomenal beer! When it comes to the beer itself, there isn’t really any different approach to a given brand's production. We focus on a daily basis to make quality, consistent beer that we want to drink. The early slogan for Wasatch Beers was “We drink our share and sell the rest." That’s a philosophy that we still live by 30 years later (Wasatch was founded October 24, 1986). Again, if we don’t like it why should we expect a customer to enjoy it as well?

"The early slogan for Wasatch Beers was 'We drink our share and sell the rest.' That’s a philosophy that we still live by 30 years later."

BC: What's the beer palate like in Utah?

Lee: It's quite advanced. People here are fans of everything that is thrown at them. American Lagers to big hoppy ales, Belgians and the sours are all welcome. One advantage we do have here is that we have four distinct seasons. It’s not always winter and not always summer. Because of that we see changes in beer preferences throughout the year. We see people enjoying fruity beers in the warmer months and darker beers in the cooler months. However the most popular beers mirror what is happening all over the rest of the country... HOPS and lots of ‘em!

Lee after completing the Crusher in the Tushar, a 70-mile bike race in Central Utah. 

(Photo Courtesy of Heather Lee)