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Tuesday, 07 January 2014 00:32

Sixpoint's head brewer Pete Dickson to join Carton Brewing

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Carton Crew Jan 2014

 Carton Brewing is bumping up the size of its brewhouse crew, adding Pete Dickson from Sixpoint Brewery to the Atlantic Highlands ale-maker team.

Pete is expected to join Carton around the beginning of March. His three-year tenure at Sixpoint has been evenly split as a brewer and brewhouse manager, his current role at the 10-year-old brewery known in its Brooklyn environs for Mad Scientists and Spice of Life brews, among others. (Sixpoint's flight of canned beers, the brews probably best known to most Garden State craft beer drinkers, are produced under contract at the Lion Brewery in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.)

"Each brewery has its own culture and way of doing things. I'm excited to offer up what I can bring, but I'm also very excited to acclimate to what (Carton's) doing," Pete says.

The addition of Pete offers more production brewing experience for Carton's roster, led by head brewer Jesse Ferguson and backed up by assistants Jeremy Watts and Doug Phillips. Pete also brings some key technical skills – he was a mechanical engineer at GE before getting into brewing.

Coming to Carton also means a chance to work in his home state: Pete's a resident of Cranford in Union County, a half hour north of the Monmouth County brewery. But more significantly, the job change represents the opportunity to work with people who have become professional and personal friends since a 2012 Carton-Sixpoint fundraiser collaboration brew done at Sixpoint.

"Jesse and I have definitely kept up a rapport over the last two years, just kind of helping each other out," Pete says. "He was friends with Sixpoint even before I got there."

The Carton-Sixpoint relationship has been as much neighborly as it has been industry peers.

"If I'm out of a bag of grain, or need some yeast, or 11 pounds of whatever hop," Jesse says, "I could call Pete up and he would have it, trade it to me or sell it to me."

(Pete also served as a brewmaster mentor last year for Jesse, who lives in Brooklyn, as he completed the American Brewers Guild certification program.)

Last fall, Carton began actively began looking to add another brewer, posting the opening on the ProBrewer  classifieds. The brewery also put out feelers via Pete, asking him if he could suggest some candidates.

As it turned out, Pete expressed an interest in the gig. For the folks at Carton, that posed a compelling opportunity, something they felt was worth pursuing for current needs and growth down the road.

"We believe he's a dynamic and important enough guy that we want him," says brewery co-founder Augie Carton. "It's an opportunity. You don't miss that opportunity because (you think) you're not ready."

Says Jesse: "As the production of the brewery increases, we're going to need people who know how to make beer ... also to figure out how to improve on how we make beer."

Pete's a seamless fit for Carton, Augie says. He’ll also be another voice for the brewery's important and ongoing discussions of beer – honing beers in the portfolio and developing new ones.

As a brewery, Carton has built as much of an identity with its seasonal brews and beers in trial as it has with the core ales it brought to market (i.e. Boat and 077XX) upon opening in late summer 2011.

Anyone who's intimately familiar with Sunday tours at the brewery has learned it's the day that Augie and the brewery staffers bench-test beers in the pipeline, sampling pilot batches and weighing in with their impressions.

It's a free exchange of ideas, Augie notes, a process that places a big value on having many people – from brewhouse, to sales to tour staff – take part in the critique.

"Conversation is how we get better at it," Augie says. "To do what we do, we needed somebody who can be part of the conversation ... say things and not get trapped in one way of thinking, not be afraid to say what they think would be cool. We needed someone to come in and be part of that dialogue, not just cook our recipe."


Read 9357 times Last modified on Tuesday, 07 January 2014 14:22

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