About Jerry Vietz
"I tell people I make "flavorful beers"—that’s the category I brew. For me, the important thing is to express myself through the beer. I brew with passion and I hope that people take as much pleasure to taste my beer as I have to create them!"
- Jerry Vietz
I’ve been with Unibroue since 2003. When I started, it was still owned by André Dion, who founded the brewery.
I would describe myself as a real fanatic of fermentation. I studied pure sciences for two years—biochemistry, physical and microbiology—and then spent three years studying food processing—biochemistry. That’s when I decided to concentrate on fermentation. Since then, I’ve worked in the wine and cider industry, and of course now I’m in beer. I’ve also brewed and made my own wine at home for 12 years. I stopped recently—with three kids, I’ve run out of space as well as time!
I’m very passionate about fermentation in general. I’m not afraid to mix all kinds of stuff, to try new things. I’ve had the chance to experiment with a wide range of raw materials. I really believe that anything that contains carbohydrates can turn into something very interesting when it goes through the fermentation process, depending on the way you manage it. Each cereal, fruit, or sugar has a different profile and they need to be processed and managed differently in order to get a liquid with the desired characteristics.
My biggest passions in life? Music, travel, and—of course—beer. I love blues, rock’n’roll and progressive rock like King Crimson, Phish, Led Zeppelin, Frank Zappa, Buddy Guy and Trevor Finlay to name just a few. Younger, I used to work as a foreman in a food processing factory and I would play Frank Zappa and Deep Purple on for a 12-hour shift—people nearly went insane!
Travelling is also a big passion. After our third son was born, my wife and I decided to buy a motor home. This enabled us to continue travelling, even with three kids. For our first trip, we drove 10,000 km through North America in 21 days. Since then, I believe that we have spent more time in our “chalet on wheels” than in our own house! Brewing is the kind of job that requires a lot of time and focused energy: you never really stop concentrating on it. Even when I’m at home, in my mind I’m still with my fermenting, or thinking about developing new beers. Therefore, music and traveling are kind of therapeutic to me. I live close to the brewery and I rarely drive to work, even when it’s raining. I’ll walk or ride my bike instead. I find it’s a good way to “recharge”!
Jerry’s career highlights
- Joined Unibroue in 2003 and worked on several projects such as R&D and automation.
- Named Director of the Brewing Department in 2004.
- Named Brew Master in 2007.
- Studies include two years in pure sciences and three years in food processing (bio-chemistry)
- Certificate in Brewing and Malting at University of Wisconsin–Madison
- Diploma in Brewing (Institute of Brewing & Distilling U.K.)
- Personal and professional projects include work on bottle conditioning for beer, cider and wine.
- As Director of the Brewing Department and Brew Master, he has been responsible for all aspects of Unibroue’s brewing department, including among others, process optimization, staff management, planning, maintenance, maintaining and improving quality standards, and ensuring the consistency of the liquid. He has also been in charge of new liquid development since 2007.
Photo credit: Martin Girard, shootstudio.ca