Dave Fougeron  

Hometown:Houston, TX

Personal Bio:

Thoughts on Craft Beer: Outside of my family, beer is my one true passion. It always amazes me that a beverage derived from the humble ingredients of malted barley, hops, yeast and water can be so complex and diverse. While the landscape of beer is everchanging, something in the beverage calls to our primal need to share conversation, commiseration, and contemplation over a pint or two. Beer has been humanity’s great social lubricant, bring together people and their ideas for well over 5000 years. To be a part of that kind of heritage is something very special to me.

History with Craft Beer: I began my beer journey while attending Texas A&M. Having tasted import beers other than the swill served at most house parties, I began looking for bigger, bolder flavors. As chance would have it, I acquired a homebrew system from a friend AND a homebrew supply shop opened in College Station. I began to brew at home in 1994, experimenting with ingredients and techniques, eventually placing in several home brew competitions. After graduation in 1997, I took a job at Saint Arnold Brewing. Eventually, I left Saint Arnold to start my own path, founding Southern Star Brewing Company in 2007.

Keith Amador  
Taproom Squatter

Hometown: Houston, TX

Personal Bio: Art Institute of Houston drop out.

Thoughts on Craft Beer: Craft beer is like my artwork, its made with passion and patience.

History with Craft Beer: PineBelt Pale Ale and Santos from St. Arnold changed everything. Because of Pine Belt I wanted to pursue a career with SSBC. I never really had a family but now I do and I love my job.

Shaina McKenzie  

Hometown: Conroe, TX

Personal Bio: Lucky enough to work at a place I fully love and with people I appreciate! Love craft of all sorts... Craft beer... Craft-ING... Craft food! Loving what you do is key to a happy life :)

Thoughts on Craft Beer: Don't hate what you don't like. To each his own :) Support local small businesses! Homies help homies :)

Don't be a d**k.

History with Craft Beer: Started working at Southern Star in 2014 and couldn't ask for a better place to work. Love my SSBC family!

Steven M. Burts  
Downtown Houston sales and marketing rep

Hometown: San Antonio, TX

Personal Bio: Steven Burts grew up in New Braunfels TX and moved to Houston TX in 1989. He is a graduate from Westfield High school in 96' and later studied at the Art Institute of Seattle WA. He graduated with a Culinary Arts degree and in 1999 he and a fellow graduate opened a bread franchise called Great Harvest Bread Co in Houston; sold the franchise in 2001. He then became the the first baker for Panera Bread in Houston. During his 14 years at Panera, he was promoted multiple times. He became the youngest Regional Bakery Market Manager in Panera history. In 2015 he joined the amazing team at Southern Star Brewing Co. He began in the brewery's taproom and then was quickly promoted to outside sales and marketing rep; where he resides today.

Thoughts on Craft Beer: Craft beer is the world to me. I love every part of it! I like the fact that craft beer is delicious and yet is made with only 4 simple ingredients ( water, malts, hops and yeast ). It inspires me that craft beer can bring people from all walks of life together.

History with Craft Beer: I started drinking craft beers when I moved to the west coast back in 1996 and man oh man did I fall in love with it. Craft beer will be in my life till the last breath and sip. Cheers!

Sam Wright  
Production Manager

Hometown: Houston, TX (Go Stratford!)

Personal Bio: Born and raised in Houston, I returned to my hometown after college at the University of Texas at Austin. I worked for Nabisco during college and a year afterwards, then started working at St. Arnold in 2006, and moved to Southern Star in 2013. I still live in Houston with my wife, daughter, and two dogs that don't get enough attention anymore.

Thoughts on Craft Beer: My favorite thing about our industry is how close knit everybody is, and how we try to help each out when possible. And the great beer that's being produced in Texas is delicious.

History with Craft Beer: My history with craft beer started in Austin at UT, when I was "21" and tried every new beer I could get my hands on. Back then, it was mostly St. Arnold, Real Ale, Shiner, Rahr, and imports. When I returned to Houston, I started homebrewing with a buddy. After a year of making barely drinkable beer, I decided I wanted to try my hand at brewing professionally. St. Arnold was the only craft brewery in town, so I applied there. After seven years as a brewer at St. Arnold, most of them having my parents question my decision making abilities, I became head brewer at Southern Star, where I've been since. I've enjoyed seeing how the Texas beer community has grown and evolved, and my parents say they no longer question my career motives.

Omar Viengar  
Sales and Marketing Manager

Hometown: Houston, TX

Personal Bio: I've been in hospitality for 25 years varying from fast food, to culinary school, full service restaurants. I have a degree in Hospitality from UH with a concentration in beverage science . I am also a veteran of the United States Navy oddly enough I was jet engine mechanic. I am a happily married man with 5 children. I also am a chaplain for Montgomery county the same county where our brewery resides. I love that I work for a brewery that allows me to express my passion for Christ too.

Thoughts on Craft Beer: As a foodie and I love all things beer and food so it made working in this industry an obvious choice. I love the craft beer community it is more than selling beer for most of us. I love that we create the best craft beer of course I am biased. When somethings happens to Houston we all get involved. I love that we actually use very few ingredients, malt, hops, water, and yeast. But with the different types of malt or hops and even yeast, it transforms into something magical. I love that everyone can afford craft beer. One can purchase some of the best craft beer in Texas and spend less than $10.00 doing so. Southern Star sets I believe the standard of consistent craft beer and I am proud to work for them.

History with Craft Beer: I have been a foodie for as long as I can remember. I started my career in food. While in college I wanted to study something other than restaurants so I focused on the wine program. I quickly fell in love with wine, the history the nuance. While working for HEB during my graduate program I started studying craft beer not just Texas but all over the world. That led to my second passion, craft beer. I became a beer and wine buyer at Hubble and Hudson Kitchen I left their I was in quandary what to do next. I actually connected with the late Ash who owned Duff Dist and he connected me with Dave Fougeron. Dave gave me an opportunity as their first full time brewery rep. That lead to sales management, then marketing manager. Today I do both and am very happy to do so.

Aaron Mullins  
Central Texas/ Hill Country Sales Representative

Hometown: Tyler, TX

Personal Bio: I lived in Tyler until I was 21. I moved to Houston to attend the University of Houston for kinesiology. I began working for Southern Star as a west Houston Rep in 2016, and took over my current territory in February of 2017.

Thoughts on Craft Beer: What I love about craft beer is the inventiveness of it. You can take a traditional style such as a Kölsh and make it truly your own. Also, unlike wine the classes and lines between styles are blurred at best. I believe this breeds creativity and adventure. You could spend your whole life trying a different beer everyday and never even scratch the surface of what's out there.

History with Craft Beer: I built the craft beer program for the restaurant I was working with from 2012-2015. Then I helped launch a new brewery in the Houston market before moving to Southern Star. I really feel that this brewery exemplifies a professional craft brewery and is a family I was blessed to join.

Kiki Flores  
Sales/ Marketing for Rio Grande Valley and South Texas

Hometown: San Antonio, TX

Personal Bio: “I was born in Corpus Christi, (“anything for Selenas”), was raised in San Antonio where I lived and grew for my first 22 years, (“Puro Pinche Spurs”). Eventually moving to McAllen Tx to be closer to grandma. I love to make crafts, drink [alot] beer, and cuddle dogs.”

Thoughts on Craft Beer: “I’ve always been involved in the culinary arts scene in someway, I was born into it. As I grew into myself trying to figure out what I wanted to do in life, I knew I at least wanted to stay close to my roots. I discovered the Service Industry. I discovered alcohol, I discovered beer. I discovered craft beer. First by the extremely colorful and standout labels, then for its flavors, then for its styles, then breweries, then festivals, ultimately landing within it’s community. One of the most blessed places to be. The craft beer community is what makes this art so special. Full of integrity and love, we drink and we support.”

History with Craft Beer: “When I first tasted craft beer and then tasted my first Texas craft beer, I dove tf right in. Working in SIN, I bartended and eventually became a beverage menu curator. Managed several craft beer bars. Eventually leading up to founding and running a Girls Pint Out Chapter for the Rio Grande Valley since 2016, studying to become a Cicerone, participating in the Rio Grande Valley United States Bartenders Guild Chapter to incorporate craft beer with craft cocktails, and of course, working for a badass Texas brewery. I ain’t looking back, I’ll tell you that much.”

Aaron Kindrick  
Cellar man/Lab Tech

Hometown: Houston, TX

Personal Bio: Born and raised in Houston, I stayed here till I was 23. At 23 I joined the U.S. Coast Guard and spent four years in Virginia and New Orleans. After I left the Military I pursued education full time for three years. I worked different jobs until getting hired on at Southern Star Brewing Company.

Thoughts on Craft Beer: It's good for you.

History with Craft Beer: Very little till I started with Southern Star Brewing Company.

Taylor Gibson  
Head Brewer

Hometown: Houston, TX

Personal Bio: My love of craft beer started early on, and I don’t see it dwindling anytime soon. Aside from beer and brewing, my main interests include listening to and playing music and also traveling as much as possible. In a perfect world, all these interests are combined together as frequently as possible!

Thoughts on Craft Beer: Love it! I’m very excited to see the industry growing as rapidly as it is. Alway great to see someone enjoying a craft beer out in public!

History with Craft Beer: I was always around beer growing up (and I have always loved it), but wasn’t introduced to craft beer until I was a young adult. I immediately was drawn to the new flavors and history of so many different beer styles of beer I had never heard of before. Shortly after that I started home brewing with a friend. After a few failed attempts at making something drinkable, it finally clicked and I was hooked. I ended up attending the Siebel Institute of Technology for a brewing diploma a couple of years later. After finishing my courses there I began working in craft beer bars for a few years before starting at Southern Star, where I’ve been ever since!

Bryan Jenschke  
Sales and Marketing

Hometown: Magnolia, TX

Personal Bio: When I'm not out slangin some of the best craft beer in Texas I live a pretty simple life. Typically I'm drinkin beer, hangin with buds, or relaxing at home playing games. I love catching some of my favorite bands coming through town or catching a good movie. I love to get outside and go camping as much as possible.

Thoughts on Craft Beer: Obviously I love craft beer! This industry is always exciting and forever changing. There's always something new to try and learn about.

History with Craft Beer: My history with craft beer started with Bombshell Blonde actually. It was the first craft beer that I had close to 10 years ago. After that I was hooked. I worked in a few different restaurants and always pushed craft beer. Soon after I began to work for Favorite Brands in Austin as a merchandiser. I worked the door at Craft Pride for awhile the managed D&T drive inn, a craft bar in Houston. Now I'm living the dream working for my favorite brewery!

Lorne Knowls  
Packaging Manager

Hometown: Galena Park, Texas

Personal Bio: Born and raised in Houston, Texas, I've spent most of my life trying to experience as much as I can. Moved to Conroe in 2005 and spend my time appreciating local art, beer, and raising my son, Liam.

Thoughts on Craft Beer: A great form of art and craftsmanship that never fails to showcase the culture around its home and the people who make it. I'm honored to have gotten to be part of such a great, communal experience.

History with Craft Beer: Ten years as a fan, and about three and a half years here at Southern Star.

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