New Headquarters Expands White Labs’ Production of Brewers Yeast
Chris White, the founder of California-based White Labs, presented an educational seminar during the Cleveland International Beer Festival in May on the role of yeast in beer brewing. Chris obviously knows his stuff; his lab is a major providers of different strains of brewers yeast to the craft-brewing industry, as well as homebrewers
He started White Labs in 1995 after researching and developing a library of brewers yeast strains from around the world. He earned an undergraduate degree in biochemistry from the University of California, Davis, and a doctorate in biochemistry from UC, San Diego. Chris also serves on the faculty of the Siebel Institute of Technology & World Brewing Academy in Chicago.
During the summer, White Labs moved into new facilities in the Miramar neighborhood of San Diego. Road Trips for Beer attended the Cleveland festival, and Chris graciously agreed to an email interview about the new headquarters.
Road Trips for Beer: How big of an expansion is this for White Labs?
Chris White: We planned and waited a long time to expand our facility. So the size of new building kept getting larger. What we settled on can increase our production five-fold.
RTFB: What will it mean for your production?
CW: We have been working on a new yeast production system at our R&D lab in Davis, California. With the new facility, we can bring that technology to San Diego, starting later this year. With the new technology, we will be able make more yeast, in a more efficient manner.
RTFB: Have you hired more employees?
CW: Yes, we have hired six new people. We have hired a new general manager, a yeast scientist, two laboratory technicians, and two new people in shipping.
RTFB: What will you be able to do in the newly expanded headquarters that you could not do before?
CW: More yeast, more analytical testing of beer. We added a 25-person training room, so we will be able to offer some workshops. We will also be able to use our larger laboratories for the workshops.
RTFB: Can visitors take tours of the facility? Are there any public areas of the labs that people can visit?
CW: Yes, we have added a public space, due to open later this year. We will have a tasting room (to try the many yeast/beer experiments!), gift shop, and tours.
RTFB: How would you recommend people prepare for a visit to the labs?
CW: Be interested in beer making!
RTFB: What can they expect when they get there?
CW: Beer smells, but a laboratory look and feel.
RTFB: What will they learn that they might not have known before?
CW: Learn more about the role yeast plays in the flavor of beer.
RTFB: Do you have classes or seminars at White Labs for the public?
CW: We are starting to schedule our workshops for 2012. We have a Fermentation for Distillers workshop on October 7 and 8.
RTFB: How did the grand opening go?
CW: Great. The mayor came out and did the ribbon cutting. We had over 500 homebrewers from the NHC come over in buses. They were glad when we finally cut the ribbon so they could come in and sample more than 60 beers we had on tap!
RTFB: Is there anything else you would like the readers of Road Trips for Beer to know about White Labs or its expansion?
CW: Our goal is to be the best yeast production company in the world!
We appreciate the time that Chris took to answer our questions, and look forward to making White Labs part of a future Road Trip for Beer in Southern California.