Kickass Entrepreneur: The Brew Project
Beau Schmitt and Mike Sill are University of San Diego alumni, hip hop fans and have an incredible passion for craft beer. Their career experience is not only what brought them together, but also what makes them an incredible team. Schmitt has consulted for and designed five bars in San Diego as well as China and Australia and was named one of “5 San Diego’s Brew Experts,” by Thrillist. He brought the concept to serve only local brews to 57 Degrees in Mission Hills in 2012 and after seeing its success, he wanted to re-create that success on his own. So Schmitt teamed up with Sill who, at the time the general manager of Quality Social, had knowledge of the craft brewing and nightlife scene as well. Together they decided to open The Brew Project in Hillcrest in October of 2015. Beau spearheads the branding, consulting and beer program while Sill leads the operations, nightlife and liquor program.
The Brew Project is unique because it really is all about local beer, with a fully rotating draft list that offers 24 San Diego brews. It’s basically a San Diego brewery tour under one roof, where you also can enjoy amazing cuisine and locally distilled spirits. It’s a two story building with a rustic feel and a dog friendly patio where you can sip on brews and take in the scene.
Q: Misconceptions people have about The Brew Project?
Sill: One of the biggest misconceptions people have about The Brew Project is that we only serve beer. While we have an extremely diverse and delicious all-San Diego tap list, we also pour liquor. Our house cocktails are all made with locally distilled spirits like 619, Malahat, Old Harbor and Kill Devil. We like to support that up-and-coming craft as well.
Q: Best part about doing business in San Diego?
Sill: Well, first of all, we are the craft beer capital of the world... so that’s pretty cool. Other than that, we have beautiful people, perfect weather and we’re right next to the beach. What else do you need?
Q: Favorite type of beer/brew and why?
Sill: San Diego-style IPA’s and saisons. San Diego-style IPAs are well filtered, crisp and have a dry finish. They typically have tropical and citrus fruit notes from Pacific Northwest and New Zealand hop varietals. Depending on the brewing process, these hops give flavors and aromas of: grapefruit, pineapple, mango, passion fruit and lemons. Saisons (French for seasons) is a “seasonal” pale ale with very low bitterness and often fruity, spicy and highly carbonated. Saison styles can range from tart (using wild yeast) to very spicy and citrusy (fruit rinds and coriander). They are often approachable because of low levels of bitterness. In my experience, the most popular saisons are those brewed with seasonal fruit like mangoes, peaches and calamansi.
Q: CEO or company you admire and why?
Sill: We admire Travis Kalanick of Uber. He took an everyday problem that annoyed people around the globe and profited while creating an almost flawless solution. The on-demand service he built changed the game, and he blew up quick. You have to admire that.
Q: Soundtrack to your life would be...?
Sill: “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” - Kanye. We know, we know... Kanye West. His Graduation album is amazing though, and that song reminds us of motivation.
Q: What would you tell your 10-year-old self?
Sill: Don’t eat that toy train.
Q: Three things you would take to a deserted island?
Sill: 1. Craft beer 2. Backup beer 3. Wilson
Q: Advice you would give to young entrepreneurs?
Sill: Biggie said it best: “I’m just, tryin to stay above water y’know. Just stay busy, stay workin. Puff told me like, the key to this joint. The key to staying, on top of things, is treat everything like it’s your first project, nom sayin? Like it’s your first day like back when you was an intern. Like, that’s how you try to treat things like, just stay hungry.”