"From student to brewmaster in just a few years: Co-founder and brewmaster of Three Weavers Brewing Company, Alexandra Nowell, has had quite a journey. From her college days to her current Los Angeles brewhouse, Alexandra Nowell is not only making waves with her glitter beer, but is also sharing her insights on the growing pains inherent of launching a craft brewery. Find out more in our exclusive article!
For many, Alexandra Nowell's journey may seem extraordinary. Through study and experience, Alexandra made the incredible transition from a college lecture hall to the head of a Southern California microbrewery. As the co-founder and brewmaster of Three Weavers Brewing Company, Alexandra's career stands as a shining example of dedication, hard work and success in the brewing world.
It was during her time at Northern Arizona University that Alexandra first fell in love with craft beer. She took the classes, read the books and studied the history and the brewing process. She graduated with a degree in Anthropology, Experimental Concentration and focused her studies on the craft beer revolution.
It was during her search for the perfect beer that she decided that she would never find one, so she decided to develop her own. She took National Homebrew Day as an opportunity to take action and began learning everything she could about brewing beer.
After school, she moved to Alaska to work for a microbrewery, sleeping in her car and working hard to make ends meet. She recalled,
It was during her time in Alaska that Alexandra honed her brewing skills and developed her unique style. Fifteen months after arriving in Alaska, she was offered a job at Firestone Walker Brewing Company in Paso Robles, California.
During her time at Firestone Walker, Alexandra kept a weekly brewday, open for anyone who wanted to brew with her. This led to the founding of Three Weavers, a nano-brewery collaboration between Alexandra, her husband, and their friend. “I never dreamed I would be running a brewery, let alone owning one,” she says.
Alexandra put her brewing skills to the test to create one-of-a-kind commercial beers. She quickly rose to fame with her inaugural Midnight Flight Black Lager, a unique tobacco-flavored roast beer. Shortly after, she released Pollen Nation, a blonde ale made with local honey.
In 2016, Three Weavers released its now-famous Glitter Beer. The beer was an instant hit, garnering national attention and sky-rocketing sales. Sales of the beer skyrocketed, but the brewery was unable to keep up with demand. In order to remain sustainable, Alexandra and her team had to face some hard truths and make difficult decisions. The brewery cut down the ABV from 8.5% to 4.7% to mimic the flavor of champagne in their summer ale and reduce their costs. Alexandra also implemented a Keg Sharing Program, wherein bars and restaurants that had ordered too many kegs could return them. Through hard work and dedication, Three Weavers was able to weather the storm and become profitable once again.
For aspiring brewers, Alexandra offers three pieces of advice. Firstly, she advises understanding the business side of brewing. “This includes maintaining records and managing your finances. Making beer is the fun part, but it’s the business side that will keep your brewery afloat.” She also stresses the importance of market research. “Do your homework and learn your market. Find out what people are looking for in a beer and what will draw them to your brewery.” Lastly, she urges brewers to experiment and embrace failure. “Failure is an important part of the creative process. The process of trial and error is key – it’s the only way to get better.”
Though Alexandra has come a long way from her days in the college classroom, her passion and dedication to her craft have been unwavering. She continues to drive innovation and inspire change within the craft beer industry. Her dreams of brewing the perfect beer have not been forgotten, and she urges brewers to keep striving for perfection. Thank you, Alexandra – and cheers!