An Interview with Bottlecraft Beer Shop Favorite Toppling Goliath and their San Diego Debut

Interview with Toppling Goliath Brewing Company

We are super excited to finally get beer from Toppling Goliath Brewing Company here at Bottlecraft! Founded in 2009 and located in Decorah, Iowa, Toppling Goliath’s award-winning beers have always been extremely hard to get, however, just recently they set up a long term distribution agreement with Scout Distribution here in San Diego, giving us access to kegs and cans we’ve been coveting ever since we opened up!

We sat down with Sarah Hedlund, Creative Director at Toppling Goliath, to talk about the brewery and the craft beer industry.

Bottlecraft: When did the brewery open, and how did it get started? 

Sarah Hedlund: TG was founded in 2009 as a homebrew operation when our co-owner Barbara Lewey purchased a homebrew kit for our co-owner and president Clark Lewey. Clark set out to brew the unique, flavorful beers he couldn’t buy in North East Iowa at the time.

BC: What is TG’s philosophy? 

SH: We don’t strive to make the most beer in the world, but to make the best.

BC: What are some things (awards, accolades, community engagement, etc.) the brewery is most proud of?

SH: Our Kentucky Brunch Brand Stout holds the title for the #1 beer in the world and we were named the #2 brewery in the world in 2015 by Ratebeer. We have received countless awards for our Pseudo Sue pale ale and King Sue DIPA.

BC: How have you seen the craft beer landscape change since the brewery opened? Has the philosophy of the brewery required any adaptation over the years?

SH: TG was founded by one beer lover trying to make the craft beer he couldn’t buy-in is a local grocery store, now in 2020, craft beer is at everyone’s fingertips, and there are two more breweries within 15 miles of TG. Craft beer is more mainstream today; there are thousands of more breweries in the US since TG opened its doors. We have always been dedicated to quality, both in our product and our customer service. That has never changed for us, and we think that will help us stand the test of time.  

BC: What inspired the push to the San Diego market right now?

SH: San Diego has been on our radar for a while, but finding the right distributor takes time. We were very excited to be connected with Scout as they put a lot of focus and energy into the marketing side of the beer business, which we love to see. We hope to have more beer out in California as our fan base grows with the help of Scout, we are always looking to bring in more tanks to make more beer when the people demand it. 

BC: What are you excited about looking towards the future of craft beer and Toppling Goliath?

SH: I enjoy watching the drinking trends of customers move toward items like sours, hard seltzer, and hard kombuchas. These are things that 10-15 years ago wouldn’t have got any love or attention; us drinkers want to try something new, something unique, and seeing how breweries respond to that is fascinating. We started our sour program back in 2016 with Dragon Fandango and have watched our customers become bitter beer lovers, we just canned that beer for the first time last month, and our customers are hunting it down on the shelves. It will be interesting to see where craft beer heads in the next ten years.

About Toppling Goliath:

“Clark and Barbara Lewey founded Toppling Goliath Brewing Co. in 2009 in beautiful Decorah, Iowa after a runaway success in home brewing. In less than a decade, TG has become world-renown for IPAs and barrel-aged stouts. We distribute to over 18 states and create more than 30 beers that rotate throughout the year.

In order to meet overwhelming demand, the Lewey’s built a new 100-barrel system brewing in Decorah, IA which houses a taproom, restaurant, offices and brewery all in one location. TG prides itself in crafting truly top-shelf beer and is honored to be growing with the support of its many customers worldwide.”