We caught Seth Parker, Co-founder and Production Manager at Weather Souls Brewing in San Antonio, at the San Antonio Manufacturers Association‘s South Central Texas Manufacturers Trade Show and Conference at the Freeman Colosseum. We talked the beer business and how their new brand is making a difference in the craft beer market.
Please excuse any typos, below is a hasty transcript of the interview.
Matt Register: Hey guys, welcome back to Texas Business Radio. Beer is a big business in Texas. Beer is a growing industry in Texas and we got some guys in here that are going to tell you all about it. We’ve heard from the beer guru out of Houston. We’ve heard from Buffalo Bayou and we’re here in San Antonio with Weathered Souls Brewing Company, here in San Antonio. Seth Parker is the founder and owner. We’re going to get to him in just a second. I’m your host Matt Register, here is always with Jay Curry.
Jay Curry: Just keeps getting more and more fun. You know one of the best programs for the entertainment of our listeners was wines big business. I think this one is going to be even bigger. This is very interesting business, it’s big business and it’s tasteful.
Matt Register: That’s right. Hey, what’s not to like about beer. Right? So, Seth Parker the founder and one of the owners of Weathered Souls Brewing. Seth welcome to the show.
Seth Parker: Oh, thank you. Thank you for having me on.
Matt Register: So tell me about Weathered Souls.
Seth Parker: Weathered Souls started as most breweries do, as a love of craft beer. We’ve been home brewing for a while and had a little bit of professional brewing experience. So, I had to branch out and do are own things.
Matt Register: When was that? How long ago was this?
Seth Parker: We, you know, we kind of first conceptualized it about a year ago. We’ve only been open for about six months. So, obviously the first six months was building the brewery.
Jay Curry: You did very well though. I mean they were lining up out there.
Matt Register: Yeah. No. No doubt. So talk to me a little bit about how this started. How did you get into the… How did you decide that was what you guys wanted to do?
Seth Parker: Man. You know, I actually I started brewing a long time ago. I started brewing when I was in high school. Because I found out I could buy all the ingredients to make beer but I couldn’t buy a beer. But yeah, we, we started at a smaller brewery around town and you know, kind of cut our teeth there. Figured out the ins and outs of business and we’ve got a real passion for it. And we want to do some fun stuff on our own and we decided to do a brewery.
Matt Register: It’s a tough business.
Seth Parker: It can be.
Matt Register: It’s, it’s a very competitive business and once you end up with your product. Which is hard enough to do. Now you’ve got to go fight for shelf space. Now you’ve got to go fight to get it in the bars. Now you to go fight to get, get your name known and… and build a business out of it. How are you guys approaching that differently than everybody else in the market because obviously you guys are succeeding at it were most don’t.
Seth Parker: So we’re, we’re a little bit different than most places. Especially here in San Antonio. We’re one of the very few breweries who actually self distributes. So, we don’t go through a big distributor. We, we go directly to a retailer and that allows us to sort of have a better relationship with those guys. If they need something we can be down there right away. If we, if we feel like you know pouring some right over there, we can go switch out a keg if we need to. It really allows us to better control our product.
Matt Register: Well, it certainly does that. It certainly gives you a other turn of margin right. That’s not going to distributor.
Seth Parker: Absolutely yeah.
Matt Register: Is that limiting to your growth or at what point is that limiting to your growth? Self distributing.
Seth Parker: It can be. It all depends. There’s, there’s plenty of breweries who.. who can get away with doing some big distribution nets. That’s kind of famously how Stone started. They made a lot of their money off distributing their own beer. But yeah, if we, if we got to the point where, you know, in Texas we are limited to two thousand barrels distribution. So, if we had ever got to that point. We’d have to to kind of look at different avenues maybe going with a distributor.
Matt Register: OK, well it makes sense and right now that’s the right thing for you guys to do is distribute it. What are your plans over the next six months? We’re right out of the gate. You were doing your best to get traction and keep growing in the market. How does one do that?
Seth Parker: It’s just going to be continuing to build our brand. We’re still relatively new. We kind of hit the ground running. Doing pretty well with our New England style IPA. As people seem to like those quite a bit. But just continue to build that brands. Potentially, maybe trying to go to different markets. Austin, if we can push our beer out there, maybe Houston or Corpus or something like that. But really continuing to build our, our, our name and to get in front of more people.
Jay Curry: So, you’re limited to a thousand barrels. That total, right? You could do a thousand types one barrel or you could do a thousand barrels of one type. What’s the rules?
Seth Parker: So, it all is based on distribution, right? So, we could make as much as we want and sell it in house. But we can only distribute a limited amount of barrels. Which at that point we’d have to go, like I said, to a distributor. Potentially start that relationship and figure out how we want to build our brand that way.
Jay Curry: Interesting.
Matt Register: So, many types do you have? You have two types here. I know I tasted very delicious beer, by the way.
Seth Parker: Thank you.
Matt Register: Taste great. How many guys, how many types do you produce?
Seth Parker: Ah, man. We’ve got about six core beers. We’ve got anywhere from a Mexican lager down to an imperial stout. As far as core beers go. But we have a general like rotating kind of fun beer. You know, whatever we want to brew on the brew house, we can push it out. It was designed specifically to brew out or to brew anything that we wanted.
Matt Register: So you have your own facility here in San Antonio, is that accurate? Talk to me a little bit about your decision to do that because that’s a significant amount of cost that goes into building a facility like that, right?
Seth Parker: Yeah, mostly it was just faith in the beer. We’re, we’re a little bit an untapped market. Texas is kind of behind… its behind the times as far as the beer industry goes. We’ve only got a handful of breweries in San Antonio. For, you know, one and a half million people were, you know, just completely devoid of, of, of the breweries that we should have.
Matt Register: Sure.
Seth Parker: If you look at other towns like San Diego or even Portland or something like that. There’s… you could throw a stone or hit a brewery. But it was… it’s really faith in our beer in finding the opportunity and kind of getting in and striking while the fire is hot.
Matt Register: Well, hey, hats off to you for jumping in and taking your shot at it. I’m pulling for you. Weathered Souls Brewing Company, Weather Souls Brewing Company. The Web site is weatheredsouls.beer. In fact don’t even bother writing that down. We’re going to have it linked from Texasbusinessradio.com. So, Seth Parker one of the founders and owners of Weathered Souls Brewing. Thank you for joining us.
Seth Parker: Oh, thank you.
Jay Curry: Delicious beer.
Matt Register: Absolutely delicious beer. Guys we are… That’s all the time we got. We got to go. It’s been fun. Beer is a big business in Texas. We’re going, we’re going to have to do another show.
Jay Curry: There’s no question about it. And the people in this industry are fun too. I mean.
Matt Register: Yeah. No doubt, no doubt about that. I mean all the guys… I enjoy.
Jay Curry: Their serious business, I mean they like drink beer. But these are serious businesses.
Matt Register: Yeah, no doubt. Hey guys, same time, same place next week. Texasbusinessradio.com, see the entire thing a beautiful high definition video. We’ll see you next week.
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In addition to hosting "Texas Business Radio," Matt is an investment banker and serial entrepreneur from Montgomery, Texas. He is the owner of RREA Media and Register Real Estate Advisors and a Managing Director and Principal at Corporate Finance Associates. He has a BS from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an MBA from Rice University in Houston. You can read more about Matt HERE.