When business partners Drew Wiles and Jon Humerick first planned to build their own brewery in Virginia, they knew before breaking ground that they would install COOL-FIT® ABS Plus pre-insulated plastic pipe and fittings from GF Piping Systems for their glycol loop. The decision was based not only from the pair’s prior experience working at a brewery and touring other facilities, but also from Wiles’ background at his family’s winery.
With a degree and experience in business administration, Humerick started working at Beltway Brewing Company after he went there as a potential customer. “I was doing the business planning for my own brewery and I wanted to hire Beltway Brewing to make beer for it. I quickly realized that to be successful in such a rapidly growing and changing industry, I needed to have experience. So I took an opportunity to work there and that’s where I met Drew.”
Wiles completed studies in microbiology in college, then moved back home and helped his mother and brother start a winery. “It was really almost out of necessity,” he explains. “Our family inherited a piece of farmland and instead of parceling it off, selling it and losing the family farm, we created a workable family business with the opening of Paradise Springs Winery in 2008.” With his biology background, Wiles liked to hang out with the winemakers in the fermentation cellar on the production side of things. After about 4 years of making wine at the winery, he started making wine at home and then brewing beer. People were asking when he was going to start a brewery.
“Everyone thinks that a winery and a brewery are similar industries, but in reality, there are completely different,” says Wiles. “From production to packaging, serving and then to distribution, if you want to be successful, you have to know the ins and outs of both. When I did decide that’s the direction I wanted to take, I knew I would have to learn the business.”
To do that Wiles went to work for Beltway Brewery as QA/QC manager of fermentation. After about a year and half, he became Production Manager overseeing all production, packaging and warehousing. “The goal was always to start my own brewery,” says Wiles “so finding a partner like Jon at Beltway to accomplish that was exactly what I needed to get going on building a facility.”