While it doesn’t get the attention it did when gluten-free stuff entered the national consciousness a few years ago, gluten-free beer is still a thing and still growing. Holidaily Brewing, one of those few certified gluten-free breweries in the United States, is in fact preparing for considerable growth, even hiring Jacob Johnson as a new brewer to contribute to this growth.
Based in Golden, Colo., Holidaily opened in 2016 to fulfill Founder Karen Hertz’s belief that gluten-free beers can taste as good as traditional brews. Using grains such as millet and buckwheat from Colorado-based Grouse Malt House, the company produces a number of full-flavored beers, with as many as 10 variations regularly available in its taproom. Hertz brought on Johnson as it targets a 75 percent increase in production this year from 2017 levels. Johnson, who has eight years of commercial brewing experience, joins brewer William Martinez to lead the Golden-based brewing team.
“To match our growth plans we are adding team members that fit with our culture, are excited about our future and are looking for ways to make us better,” Hertz said. “Jacob has all of those qualifications.”
Johnson joins Holidaily from Denver’s Great Divide Brewing, where he worked on numerous beers for the renowned brewery, including its Nadia Kali Hibiscus Saison and Chai Yeti. Previously, he spent two years at Finch’s Beer Co. in Chicago, where worked as a brewer/cellerman after starting as a packaging operator.
“At our size, our brewers are involved in all aspects of the brewing process, so Jacob’s ability to help us in everything from brewing to cellar work to packaging is invaluable,” Hertz said.
Johnson knows the Holidaily team well since he and his wife, Bryanne, discovered the brewery’s gluten-free beers. Bryanne suffers from Celiac disease, a condition in which gluten — a protein found in common beer ingredients barley, wheat and rye — can damage the small intestine. As such, she could not enjoy her husband’s handiwork at Great Divide.
“My main attraction to this role is the opportunity to address a void in the brewing industry, making great beer for those who can’t drink mainstream beer,” Jacob Johnson said. “In talking with so many people who used to drink traditional beer, but no longer do because they cannot tolerate the gluten it contains, it’s exciting to give them another option that doesn’t compromise flavor.”
In addition to the brewery’s everyday and seasonal offerings, Johnson said he’s excited to introduce Holidaily’s customers to more sour and barrel-aged offerings.