"MasterBrewer | Beer Competition Crusher"
Craig is Brewmaster for Morgan Territory Brewing in Tracy, CA. He has been brewing professionally since 2004. He was head brewer at Schooner’s Grille & Brewery in Antioch as well as brewer at EJ Phair in Pittsburg, CA. He has done consulting work for several start-up breweries, as well as, contract brewing for well known local breweries. In 2014, his work helped win Schooner’s “Brewery of the Year” from the California State Fair. He has brought home at least one medal from the Great American Beer Festival every year he has competed as well three awards from the World Beer Cup. He holds a Master of Science in Biology with a concentration in Molecular Biology from San Jose State University and worked in the Biotech Industry for 7 years prior to becoming a brewer.
The Birth of a Brewer
Brewing started for me back in college when a buddy of mine got a home brew kit from his girlfriend for a birthday present. We were both biology majors and I was fascinated by the science of brewing. This began my journey into craft brewing throughout my undergraduate and graduate years. After many years in the biotech industry, that same buddy who began hobby brewing with me was starting a brew pub of his own in Antioch, CA so of course, I invested. By then I was director of the genomic laboratory at Dana Faber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA. When my buddy called and jokingly asked “what would it take to get you to move back to California?” I replied, “Make me your brewer.” The universe must have heard because a few weeks later, his brewer resigned because his wife transferred with the Air Force.
Now I faced a decision – could I make a career out of brewing? With the support of my wife, we sold the house, packed everything up, and drove across country to begin a new adventure and I’ve never looked back.
My first day at Schooner’s, I began learning the professional system and the tricks of the trade from Shawn Burns and Chris Hendricks. The secret of success for me was to document the process and the details of each brew. I have collected binders full of brewing details over the years and can refer back to my award winners whenever I want to recreate the results.
I also began networking with other professional brewers in the Bay Area who generously shared their experience with me. I’m thankful to Steve Altimari, JJ Phair, Arnie Johnson, James Costa, and many others.
Becoming a professional brewer has turned out to be one of the best decisions. It marries my love of craft beers with great flavor profiles with my scientific approach to the process.