As Global Innovation Brewer at ZX Ventures, Andrew Stadnyk manages all pilot brewery operations, CAPEX, and expansions. Hoping to find out what that actually means day to day—and to hear the insights on the industry he’s gained along the way—we asked him a few questions. The throughline: dreaming bigger, both in your career and in the beverage world at large.
What does your role as Global Innovation Brewer entail?
My work focuses on helping to understand—and to create—the near-term and long-term future of brewing. That includes beer, but doesn’t stop there. I also manage our brew house at ZX.
My projects can range anywhere from evaluating new yeasts, to helping understand the optimal country-by-country technical approach to low-alcohol brewing. (The definition of “low alcohol” varies depending on where you are!)
Engagement is also central to our mission: we use the brew house to teach people about beer in tangible ways. With typical commercial breweries, you can’t just walk in and ask to try out your crazy brewing idea on their equipment; here, you can.
How did you land at ZX Ventures?
I was hired into this role after a 10-week training/internship program. Applying in the first place was a bit of a moonshot—it sounded amazing and I thought, what if they actually let me do that? Turns out: they did!
What surprised you about your job?
It’s been a trial by fire—I’ve learned an enormous amount. After two months, I found myself in charge; before this role, I’d only experimented with homebrewing, so it was a lot more responsibility as a brewer than I was used to. Sink or swim. So I jumped in, consulting manuals when necessary—and when that didn’t help, I’d go deep on YouTube tutorials.
What does Dream Bigger mean to you?
This job was a dream of mine. Doing it well requires going the extra mile—as a former homebrewer dealing with people who’d been technical brewers for 20 years, I had to learn fast.
Part of why I love working here is that we get to “dream bigger” for the brewing industry as a whole: how can fermented beverages connect with even more people, in even more ways? How can we create sustainable change, whether that’s creating healthier options or helping consumers connect with the planet? That means tackling big challenges head on; helping create new and more delicious low-alcohol brews is a good example.
How do you see brewing evolving a decade from now?
The more I learn about beer, the more I see it as an evolving reflection of the times and places in which it is brewed. We don’t think about this as often as we do with something like wine, but brewing choices aren’t always based on what styles are popular: they’re also based on local resources, how receptive the soil is to growing certain ingredients, and so on. As people start paying more attention to ingredients and labels, I hope beer terroir becomes a well-recognized thing!
More than that, the beers we choose to drink, the ways we brew them, the occasions we choose to celebrate—these are all expressions of the ways people interact with each other, their worldviews, and what their daily lives are like. People today want more experiences and more flexibility. They also want a wider range of healthy options. Beer can do all of these things and more. Brewers are great engineers. Anytime you’ve got demand, supply will find a way.