The Stoop Visits Quantum Brewing
Recently, my day job sent me to San Diego, CA – a magical place for a beer geek like me, where you can’t toss a baseball without hitting a brewery or at least a place with a good tap list. Generally, the folks who work at these places are great people, and love to talk about their beery passion. I visited a handful of breweries, and had the pleasure of speaking to a few brewers as well. One guy who really stood out to me was Martin Beaulieu.
Martin is a French Canadian with a PhD in biochemistry. While in school, his biochemistry professor proposed a challenge to develop an enzymatic assay (a laboratory method for measuring enzymatic activity) with a $100 budget. Martin purchased his first home-brew kit and successfully created an alcohol dehydrogenase based test to measure alcohol in beer.
Martin enjoyed a 20 year career in the biotech industry, but tossed it all to purchase a small brewery in suburban San Diego. Tucked into a shopping center, Quantum is a comfy, relaxed place to have a beer and chat with some very friendly patrons as well as the staff. Martin was kind enough to spend some time with me, and tell me a bit about his leap of faith.
The Stoop: Martin, tell me a little bit about yourself. Are you married?
Martin: I’m 46, married, with 2 boys (4 and 13), and a dog (Golden Doodle named Max).
The Stoop: You have a PhD in biotech, and worked in the field for 20 years. Where did you go to college?
Martin: I have a PhD in Biochemistry, and went to Laval University, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
The Stoop: What did you do before deciding to make the jump to owning a brewery?
Martin: I was a Biotech executive.
The Stoop: Aside from your college project, what got you interested in brewing?
Martin: The science behind the brewing process fascinated me. The unlimited number of ingredients and processes combinations make it a great creative medium. I am also an optimiser, I love to improve things working the details.
The Stoop: With all the existing breweries in San Diego, why did you choose this area?
Martin: It’s not like there was too many breweries for sale. I like the location. Central, next to a major highway, large parking lot, next to several eateries who deliver. I have 5 menus in the tasting room.
The Stoop: You decided to buy a pre-existing brewery instead of starting your own – was that the original idea, and if not, why did you go that direction?
Martin: Practicality. I saved 1 year for the permits. Plus, I got a good deal.
The Stoop: Tell me about buying the brewery – why was it for sale, and what was the process?
Martin: The previous owner was running in a part-time fashion. Did not quit his day job. Can’t be successful if you don’t commit.
The Stoop: What type of changes have you made since taking over?
Martin: Changed the brewing process, improved all the recipes, and introduced my own. Invested in the tasting room atmosphere: new lights, couch, HDTVs, games. We also hosts events and parties.
The Stoop: What is your road ahead – what’s in store for Quantum?
Martin: Expansion with food service and a larger brew house.
The Stoop: Any advice for folks considering a similar path?
Martin: Do you home work, have a plan, get ready to work hard. Focus on beer quality. Be personable and have fun.