Taste Radio Ep. 66: Andy Thomas On Innovation and Inspiration In Craft Beer

Craft Brew Alliance CEO Andy Thomas has been in the beer industry for more than 20 years, but the rapid pace of change and the speed at which companies are innovating and evolving sometimes has Thomas feeling like he “knows nothing anymore.”

“That is a humbling thing to wake up to every morning,” he said, during a recent BevNET Taste Radio interview.

What is Taste Radio, you ask? It’s a podcast for beverage, food and beer professionals, produced by BevNET.com (Brewbound’s parent company). Originally launched as a podcast for the non-alcoholic beverage industry, the program recently expanded its focus to include interviews with executives and entrepreneurs across the broader food and beverage landscape.

On this week’s episode of Taste Radio, BevNET CEO John Craven joins Brewbound editor Chris Furnari for an interview with Andy Thomas. As the head of one of the largest craft beer companies in the U.S., Thomas oversees a portfolio that includes Kona, Widmer, Redhook and other craft brands. During his segment, Thomas shares insight into topics such as the commercial evolution of the category, the importance of being patient with innovations (and where to find the inspiration to fuel them), and how the proliferation of small craft breweries is challenging companies to cultivate stronger, more unique brand identities.

Also in this episode: BevNET staff writer Brad Avery asks why the colonial-era fermented drink switchel is a thing; an interview with author and cook Michael Ruhlman; and an Elevator Talk with L.A. McCrae, founder and chief visionary officer of North Carolina-based Black Star Line Brewing.

Editor’s note: In the midst of recording Thomas’ interview during last month’s Brewbound Session in New York City, we mistakenly referred to Craft Brew Alliance as the “second-largest publicly traded beer company in the U.S.” We of course meant the second-largest craft beer company” and blame the welcome reception beers for our gaffe.