A reoccuring theme we’ve had here on the audio version of GBH is one of partnerships. Marriages, siblings, friendships — the full gamut. The guests on this episode are another example. Ryan Witter-Merithew and Mahalia Breen have traveled the world together for the sake of beer as Ryan’s job has taken him around the country and abroad. As far as they’ve gone, family has remained a connective part of who they are and how they consider business, which has led them to starting Casita Cerveceria, a brand launched at Hill Farmstead and since brought home to North Carolina. Their relationship and family are at the core of what they do.
Despite a rather prolific career, Ryan has somehow managed to fly a little under the radar to beer fans. As you’ll find out, he’s played something of a Kevin Bacon role over the last decade, interacting and connecting with some of the biggest brewing names in the business. His dedication, talent and curiosity is what led him to start his own business, in addition to a little motivation from Mahalia, too.
Contract brewing has had a strange relationship with craft beer, going back a couple decades when there was an impression anyone who didn’t own their equipment and have skin in the game might have been doing it for the wrong reasons. Namely to make quick money and not care as much about the beer. But brewers like Ryan have shifted that impression, showing just how much love and attention can go into production even if you’re not the one carrying debt.
Throughout it all, Ryan and Mahalia have supported each other, creating stronger bonds and lasting stories which they’ll share with us in this conversation.