Welcome to Melvin Brewing!
This is the beginning of your wonderful new, Kung Fu friendship between our brew family and all beer lovers alike. Talk of Melvin began on the California West coast - but the heart of Melvin started beating in the small mountain town of Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
With big ideas and even bigger barrels of hops, Melvin now takes off in the hands of Co-Founder/Field Hoperative - Jeremy Tofte, Co-Founder/Head Donkey - Kirk McHale, and Head Production Brewer - Dave Chichura. Let’s get to it. Thai Me Up Restaurant, the original home of Melvin Brewing, was already known for its world class beer. Melvin is now expanding from a 3bbl to a 30bbl system after winning two medals at the World Beer Cup earlier this year: A gold in the Imperial Indian Pale Ale category for its 2x4 and a bronze in the fruit beer category for its Chchchch-Cherry Bomb.
Meet the Minds Behind Melvin
Co-Founder / Field Hoperative
Jeremy, like all good modern day drinkers, is all heart & soul when it comes to craftbeer. He founded Thai Me Up restaurant in Jackson Hole, WY in 2000. He was working as a waiter in the current Thai Me Up space and just like most restaurants in the most expensive town in America, it went under. Being the hustler that he is, he talked the landlord into giving him the keys to the space. After painting the walls and learning Thai food, he opened and immediately started ruining people’s vacations by playing loud hip hop and Kung Fu while having fun at work.
Fast Forward six years: After the town of Jackson refused to give him a liquor license for the 4th time to start his dream brewery and instead kept giving them to the 1%, he sold TMU on Ebay (yep) and spent the next two years surfing in New Zealand, Australia and Indonesia. But the good lord would not let the dream end there! Just like most restaurants in the most expensive town in America, Thai Me Up went under and the landlord called him up and gave him the place back! No shit? Amazing. Selling his 1984 Mercedes wagon to pay for a 20 gallon brewing system, he reopened Thai Me Up as a brewery and started the swing towards Melvin in 2009.
Jeremy was born in Montana, and grew up in both Oregon and Northwest, WA where he began working at a beer distributorship in High School. Jeremy made the mistake of going to college in Bend which only made his snowboarding and “microbrew” habit worse. He later received his degree from Portland State in some mundane subject as we all know that is the easiest school in Oregon. After some years in Portland, and chasing pow all over the Western US, he moved to Jackson Hole in 1995 where his life has been crumbling underneath him ever since. His other interests include making fun of bad brewery names. Jeremy is entirely committed to having the most fun, brewing the best beer, and making the most people laugh on any given day.
Co-Founder / Head Donkey
Kirk McHale. Kirk McGurt. Kirkles... The mastermind of Melvin. Kirk began home brewing when he was just 14 years old (!?) with his brother in California. He began his first brewing job at age 20 at the now Defunct Baja Brewing Co. in San Diego. From there, Kirk went to Pizza Port Brewing Company where he was in charge of both Carlsbad, and San Clemente locations. Following Pizza Port, Kirk founded Breakwater Brewing in Oceanside, CA where he still remains partial owner.
Kirk then took some time off, met a beautiful woman, and she managed to talk him into moving to Jackson for a change of scenery. Now Kirk resides in Jackson educating the Wyoming hipsters in good beer. His experience brewing, and experimentation with this, that, and the other hop, has only exceeded expectations and his passion for brewing the best has only just begun. This is all about fun for Kirk, and as far as we know he’s never going to stop (giving a f*ck). He makes his own hours, he brews whatever he wants, and it’s the best life as he knows it. He rules!
In other words, Kirk was destined to be, the Drunken Brewmaster.
Head Production Brewer
Dave was born a poor black child...No, that was Steve Martin in "The Jerk". Dave is actually from a tiny town in South Jersey where he spent most of his time being bitten by every annoying insect nature had to offer. Sometimes he went fishing, but mostly studied every facet of Pink Floyd's musical teachings at full volume. Then he went to college where he learned how to throw a frisbee, very well. Once the game of frisbee throwing felt like a thing of the past, he discovered ‘real beer’. It was in the form of a Guinness Extra Stout and it is that particular beer’s fault that he found himself craving a brewing ‘career’.
Dave’s first brewing gig was with the Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery in Indianapolis in 1996. He had been a home brewer for a couple of years and decided that it would be really cool to make beer for a living, and sure 'nuff' it was. After a few years with Rock Bottom at a couple different locations, he found himself working at Bell's Brewery in Kalamazoo, MI. He worked there for just a year before he got a job with a small brewpub in Boulder, CO called Mountain Sun, working alongside them for about two years.
Dave then took a hiatus from brewing and 8 months (six months of which was spent moving pianos, or as his friend put it more euphemistically 'in the music business'). Once his music business came to a close, he found himself working at Oskar Blues in Lyons, CO. Oskar Blues was a small brewery at the time, about 3,000 bottles in production the year before he started. This was an increasing amount of its beer in 12 oz cans, a rarity in craft beer at the time. Nearly Nine years later, OB started new production facilities across the US, adding many more people and a sh*tload more production. By the time Dave left in 2013, Oskar Blues was producing nearly 100,000 bottles annually. Dave had one more 10 month gig with a brewery in South Central Colorado, where he built another brewing facility and did their very best to produce as much beer as possible within a small brewing system.
With barely a moment's notice, Jeremy Tofte sent a very cryptic text message to Dave summoning him to work for Melvin, and now… Dave resides in Alpine, where all of his hard work will once again be put to the test. Luckily, Alpine has less skin eating bugs, and a ton of fishing, so we expect Dave will get along just fine.
In the words of Pink Floyd...Then at last the mighty ship, Descending on a point of flame, Made contact with the Tofte, in ol’ Alpine. Now, now, now is the time... time to make some damn good beer.
Financial Guru and Chief Adult Supervisor
Will grew up in Southern California, as well as a ranch out in Carrie, Idaho. His experience in the financial world is vast. From LA, to Wall Street, and all winding roads to China, he has proved his ability to keep up with the Melvins in a way that promotes smart business, and positive attitudes all around.
Will used to call in orders at Thai me up back in the day and Jeremy assumed Will was just a mere “office boy”, unaware of his full capabilities. They finally sat down and spoke about financial goals and experiences in November 2013 and Jeremy then added Will to the team. Will is sold on the big picture of Melvin as well as the strategies and functionality that comes with starting a business. This is Wills first experience working with a Brewery and the first time in his life he has found himself sitting around the table with a bunch of “magical brains”.
In the words of Will Morrow, “...this experience starts and ends with passion." Passion for the job, the people involved, and the incredible beer that is being brewed. Awards are awards, but “lack of giving a shit”, and doing exactly what you want in life can speak a hell of a lot louder. So basically, what he’s saying is we should keep on not giving a shit, with high functioning friends. Crunch the numbers, crush the can.
“Want to end the day on a good note? Drink a good beer."