When I first met Jess Reiser, it was during a bottle release at the brewery in Asheville, North Carolina. In the midst of beer geeks trying to get bottles and open tabs, she was casually hanging out with her ridiculously cute children. Jess was relaxed, calm, and collected, and never failed to say hello to everyone she knew. Something I’ve rarely seen from a brewery owner on a bottle release day. It was obvious I had just met a badass.
It wasn’t until I got to finally sit down with her that I realized how much Burial Beer Company runs on her hardwork, heart and soul. A few years ago, Jess and her husband Doug were living in Seattle. If you know anything about the city’s love of beer, then you know how easy it was for Jess to fall in love with the culture of beer. So much so, she started blogging about it on beerblotter.com. There were quite a few nights with a beer in one hand and a pen in the other.
Writing about beer wasn’t enough for Jess. She wanted to create a little bit of that culture herself. Jess and Doug looked to the east coast on the hunt for a small town to built that community. Asheville, North Carolina was it.
Jess’ past life in New Orleans is reflected in the design and culture of Burial. From the names of the beers, to the artwork, each piece of Burial evokes images of the cycle of life, growth and harvest, even jazz funerals. Undoubtedly, Jess has been quite successful. Burial Beer Company has a cult like following for not only their year round beers, but for the likes of Bolo Coconut Brown Ale and Skillet Donut Stout.
Burial is basically a 3rd child for her. Actually at one point, she could be found behind the bar helping out with her son in a baby bjorn baby strapped to her back. That’s multitasking at its finest.
She spends her days building staff camaraderie, planning bottle releases, even festivals. Plus, Burial is building a second production location. Anytime you step foot in that brewery, you are seeing, smelling and tasting Jess Riser’s dreams and desire to build a beer culture all her own.
Without a doubt, she did it. I think you’ll agree we are all the better for it.