Travis Smith had an interest in craft beer for years, but that interest only grew as he started brewing his first batches of beer in his kitchen in 2002 after his girlfriend Lorah (now wife) bought him his first home brewing kit. His interest grew to the point that he abandoned the career he set out for in order to brew beer professionally.
In 2004, Travis began an apprenticeship at Russian River Brewing Co. in Santa Rosa, CA. By February 2005, Travis was hired as a full time brewer. Travis became responsible for the vast majority of beers brewed at the brewpub, brewing award winning beers such as Pliny the Elder, Blind Pig IPA, Damnation, Temptation, and Supplication (just to name a few), and continuing to grow in his knowledge of brewing and the craft brew industry as a whole under the guidance of Brewer/Owner Vinnie Cilurzo. This included working in the (at the time) joint hopyard of Russian River Brewing Co, and Moonlight Brewing Co. The hopyard was located on the grounds of Moonlight Brewing Co. where Travis met Brain Hunt who became one of the biggest influences on Travis’s philosophy of beer. Travis spent many days pulling weeds, eating hop shoots, and drinking Death and Taxes in that hopyard, and eventually started his own micro hop yard in Santa Rosa.
In 2009, Travis, his wife, and his two children moved back to Southern CA to be closer to family, and to join The Bruery in Placentia, CA as their Lead Brewer. Travis spent his time there brewing unique and award winning beers including Hottenroth Berliner Weisse, Black Tuesday, Saison De Lente, and Oude Tart.
It was there at The Bruery where Travis first met Doug Constantiner. The two became friends in addition to coworkers. They shared their dreams and goals of eventually opening a brewery of their own. Little did they know a few short years later circumstances would present themselves as the perfect opportunity to do just that, together.
As a Brewer, Travis strives to make great beer. Travis likes brewing beers that he likes to drink. He believes that if he likes the beers, other people will too. He enjoys passing his knowledge and love of beer on to others whether that be chatting with customers, discussing a new style with co-workers, or just sitting in his backyard with family and friends. Beer is a large part of Travis’ life; he hopes to make it a part of yours.
Doug’s journey into beer isn’t out of the ordinary, but it did start abnormally early. Having a non-American father and a mother who lived in France for many years, Doug was brought up with wine at the dinner table where he was allowed small sips from time to time. His parents always taught him about the quality of both food and beverage. Fortunately, one night when he was 16 his parents caught him with beer. Not just any beer, but cheap macrobrew (Natural Light to be exact). He claims his parents were more upset he bought cheap beer rather than the fact he was drinking illegally (and irresponsibly).
His mom sought to change his ways quickly. She began buying beers at the local market, which had “an awesome selection.” She would allow him small sips of different beers so he could learn what good beer tasted like. Just before he turned 17, his mom came across Rogue Chocolate Stout and poured him a couple ounces. His life was never the same. “I knew at that exact moment what I loved most in life,” says Doug.
From that point forward, Doug feverishly sought out the finest beers he could get his hands on. Unknowingly to Saint Arnold’s Brewing Co, they were fueling his love and knowledge of craft beer since he was able to buy it at the local grocery store.
Doug went on to attend The University of Arizona where he was introduced to a wider variety of beer. California and Colorado breweries dominated his adventure. Experiencing Stone, Avery, and Great Divide ignited the inner passion that quickly drove him down a more serious path. His parents knew of his enthusiasm for beer and in turn bought him a Mr. Beer Kit at the ripe age of 19. Though his first beer was a failure, Doug yearned to learn more about brewing, so he saved up money and bought a “real” homebrew kit. The rest of college is history.
After college, Doug moved to New York City to pursue a career in investment banking. Grueling hours at his banking job didn’t stop Doug from taking advantage of the incredible amount of Belgian beers New York City had to offer, which helped fuel his love for beers other than hop-bombs he was used to from the West Coast. After a couple of years in New York, he decided that he didn’t want to wait until retirement to open a brewery of his own; his original dream. Though admittedly blinded at first by the opportunity to make money in the banking industry, he was grateful for his time spent there, as it allowed him to get a better grasp on what mattered most in life…and money wasn’t it. Leaving banking behind, he immediately began taking brewing science classes at The Siebel Institute of Technology/World Brewing Academy. Shortly after he finished his Siebel classes, Doug moved to what he considers the best beer city in the world, SAN DIEGO!!!
He hit the ground running, landing a job at Pizza Port Carlsbad and an internship at Oggi’s. Between those jobs he also worked on the bottling line at Green Flash. After a few months, he applied for an opening at The Bruery. He started out at The Bruery washing kegs and bottling and quickly moved up to a position overseeing the cellar and packaging operations. It was there he met Travis Smith and their friendship began to grow. He was later promoted to brewer once the demand for more beer from The Bruery prompted it. Fortunately, for Doug, Travis trained him how to brew. Travis moved down to San Diego for another brewing job and he and Doug kept in close contact, frequently meeting at O’Brien’s to catch up and discuss beer and brewing. These friendly meetings quickly turned to planning a brewery that they dreamed of opening sometime down the line. When things didn’t seem to be working out at Travis’ job, they knew it was the time to get moving on the brewery. Doug put in his notice at The Bruery and they formed Societe Brewing Company.