Jeremy Tofte is an entrepreneur and the Founder of Melvin Brewing. He established the Wyoming based brewery in 2009 as a small business concern behind his Thai restaurant. Today, the brewery operates a production facility in Alpine, Wyoming and has brewpubs in Bellingham, WA, Jackson Hole, WY, Eureka, MO and San Diego, CA. The company’s annual beer production in 2018 stands at 23,000 barrels. The award-winning beer brands include 2×4 Double PA, Original Melvin IPA, and Chchch-Cherry Bomb.
The beer collection is widely available in Wyoming, Oregon, Idaho, Colorado, and California. Following the success in the local market, Melvin Brewing has now set sights on exploring the international market. Jeremy Tofte believes the company’s success is a product of valuing people, customers, and the brand. As part of community service, Tofte and Melvin Brewery have sponsored many events and charities targeted at enhancing health and good relationship.
What was your favorite field of study in school?
My favorite subject was International Studies.
What was your first job?
I was only ten years old when my parents assigned me to clean the warehouse floors of their craft beer distributorship in Northwest Washington. At age 16, I began delivering beers and collecting beer pallets at local breweries. This long history endeared me closer to beer brewing and distribution.
How did you get into the industry you currently work in?
The road has been long and unwinding. It took me ten years to raise enough capital to start a brewery. Besides capital, it was also very challenging to obtain a license. The authorities tasked with the role of issuing the document turned my request down several times; it was very disenchanting. I then made an implicit decision to establish a restaurant called Thai Me Up in 2000.
However, the dream of starting a brewery didn’t die. I decided to sell my 1978 Mercedes wagon and bought Morebeer! 20-gallon Brewsculptor. From a market consisting of a few friends and neighbors, the beer brand grew rapidly.
How did your initial engagements, prepare you for the future?
The humble beginnings taught me many things, including self-discipline and trade ingenuity. With the aid of a capable team, we’ve developed an efficient production system by upgrading an inefficient pub system to a more in tune production system for our award-winning beers. We are now formulating strategies to enter the international market.
Describe your best day at work
We made a big splash at the 2017 Great American Beer Festival. Melvin Brewing won two gold medals and was named the Brewery Group and Brewmaster of the year. The occasion was graced by our very hip-hop crew and other local artists, which made the day very special.
How do you keep yourself motivated?
I enjoy keeping the company of home brewers, some of whom have turned into well-known pro-brewers. We usually share ideas and learn from each other. When I am not at work, I always keep my spirits high by listening to music and engaging in sports like mountain biking, snowboarding, and surfing.
What kind of business ideas excites you most?
Owing to my love for watersports and hip-hop music, I am most excited about boat tour and mobile DJ business ideas. Even with a small boat, an enterprising individual can start a surf tour business connecting different breaks without incurring too much in overhead. As a mobile DJ, one can take his or her gig to different places and get rewarded handsomely for it.
Have you used any unorthodox methods to market your business?
To achieve excellence in the brewing industry, you need sound production, marketing, and selling. At Melvin Brewery, we use well thought out marketing strategies to capture consumer attention. Our area of focus includes making the customer the hero. The beer enticements are also accompanied by Asian street food, old school hip-hop music, and Kung Fu movies.
What personal achievement are you most proud of?
I am proud of our five brewing establishments at Bellingham, San Diego and Alpine and Jackson in Wyoming. We offer high-quality house made and guest beers. Thai Me Up operates a 3bbl system while San Diego and Alpine setups run 7-barrel direct fire pub systems. We will continue to aggressively market all our beers, namely; IPA’s and sour beer.
If you were to advise your younger self, what would you say?
My advice is to stay ahead of the local trends to spark interest and potentially lucrative business ideas. Our IPA was Wyoming’s very own first full-time hoppy beer. I am glad I made the big leap at a convenient time and made the community proud.