Today we’d like to introduce you to Robert Scroggs.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I am a craft beer activist. I write about beer. I participate in Podcast, and YouTube shows about beer. I brew beer. I judge beer. I teach about beer. I am an officer in the Cap and Hare Homebrew Club, and I am on the leadership team for Best Little Brew Fest in Texas.
I grew up around beer. My dad started a beer can collection when I was a small child. Beer was always present in my home, and I was frequently invited to try the first sip. Of course, this was in the 70s, when almost all beer available was the fizzy yellow American lager style, but an occasional cream ale, dark lager, or Czech Pilsner would make an appearance. I didn’t start exploring the wider world of craft beers until they started becoming more readily available in the late 1990s.
The more I learned about beer, the more I found out there was still to be learned. In 2008, I began to lead others in craft beer tastings and beer/food pairings. A few years later, I started homebrewing and judging beer competitions. Eventually, I decided to pursue a more formal education in the beer industry in the form of certifications. I am currently one of about 160 Certified Cicerones® in Texas, and one of about 180 Certified Beer Judges in the state.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
My biggest challenges have come from within. I am a closet introvert. That’s a great trait for becoming an expert on a topic. But it makes it very challenging to build a business. Networking. Appearing on video. Leading classes in person. It turns out that I’m very good at these things. But I have to exert a ton of willpower to make it happen.
My other big challenge has been my relatively weak sense of smell. I was a lifeguard and pool manager throughout high school and college. I worked with a lot of pool chemicals, and they seem to have scarred my nasal passages to some degree, making it challenging for me to detect aromas. Aroma is perhaps the most important component of experiencing the culinary world.
What another person may be able to smell from across the world, I have to really focus to pick up and identify. Despite my limited natural abilities, I have trained myself to improve my sense of smell. Through study and practice, I have taught myself several specific techniques to more effectively pick up aromas that I never could have picked up in the past.
In the long run, I feel that this has helped make me a better instructor. Not only can I smell better, I can also teach others who may be struggling with this aspect of learning about beer.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Brewing Matters – what should we know?
I’m an all-around advocate for craft beer. I lead guided beer tastings and beer/food pairing events. I teach about more than 100 different beer styles: What do the styles have in common and what differentiates them?
What political, environmental, and technological factors led to the development of different styles throughout history and around the world? What are the ingredients and brewing techniques make the different styles taste, look, and smell like they do? Why does drinking a Märzen improve the experience of eating a brätwurst, while an ESB pair so incredibly well with fish and chips?
In addition to teaching in person, I am in the process of creating an online course geared towards individuals seeking Cicerone® Certification. My goal is for this online class to be live by the end of the year.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Teaching is in my blood. My parents were both teachers, and my grandfather was a college professor.
Teaching requires several traits: Passion for the subject matter. Listening skills for determining what the student is interested in. Patience and creativity for helping each individual student learn in a way that works for him or her. And a true desire to help others.
I feel that I bring all of these qualities to the beer table.
- Website: BrewingMatters.com
- Phone: 214.727.2513
- Email: Robert@BrewingMatters.com
- Instagram: @BrewingMatters
- Facebook: @BrewingMatters
- Twitter: @BrewingMatters