Ron Extract and Amber Watts, two big players in Austin, Texas based Jester King Brewery, will be departing. The goal is to open a brewery of their own in rural Washington state.
While we at Beer Street Journal tend not to repost press releases, below is the story from Jester King of the change.
It’s with bittersweet sentiment that Michael Steffing and I mention that Ron Extract and Amber Watts are leaving Jester King to pursue their career goal of opening their own brewery! Ron and Amber will have more details of their own to share, but they plan on establishing a brewery in rural Washington in the months ahead.
Ron and Amber have meant a great deal to Jester King over the years. Ron joined Jester King during the brewery construction phase and was instrumental in helping shape the creative vision of the brewery. He initially reached out to Michael and me about potentially distributing our beer, but the conversation soon changed to how he could benefit Jester King directly by partnering with us and lending his wealth of experience in sales and distribution, as well as in the beer industry in general. Michael and I were very fortunate to have someone with Ron’s experience and knowledge as our partner. Having no prior industry experience ourselves, Ron was able to connect us with people and organizations that accelerated the growth, awareness, and reputation of the brewery. Ron of course also worked very hard at helping push through the package of bills that allow Jester King to pursue its current business model. Prior to 2013, Jester King could not sell beer at the brewery. Now our business depends and thrives on people having the legal ability to buy beer to drink at our tasting room or take home. Once we had the legal right to sell beer, Ron helped make Jester King a preeminent destination location for beer in Texas, and what Michael and I consider to be one of the best locations for beer in the world. On top of that, Ron has done an exceptional job representing Jester King at home and abroad, creating many valuable contacts for us along the way. We know Ron to be one of the smartest, most patient, and overall reasonable persons that we’ve encountered.
Amber has helped us tremendously in a multitude of areas over the years. She initially volunteered her time in the tasting room before ultimately helping manage an entity that essentially puts on a major beer festival every weekend. She took over brewery reporting and government compliance upon coming onboard as a full-time member of our staff, which helped across a number of departments. She helped elevate the onsite experience at Jester King by organizing some of the most wonderful events we’ve ever been associated with, including the Salty Sow beer dinner, 2015 Funk n’ Sour Fest, the all-Dichotomous beer dinner, and “2015” Zwanze Day. She also brought us the fun and successful Alamo Drafthouse Rolling Roadshow screenings. Amber represented Jester King very well both at home and abroad, and was highly helpful and reliable as one of our tour guides. I personally thank her for her help with communications, and we’re excited to see her express her excellent communication skills, both written and verbal, through the platform of her new business.
While Ron will be leaving Jester King, he remains a shareholder in the company. Knowing his reputation for helping others in the industry, I have no doubt he’ll gladly help everyone at Jester King in any way he can going forward. We are very excited about the new chapter in their professional lives, expect them to succeed magnificently, and are excited to see the knowledge and experience they’ve gained over the years translate into an exceptional business of their own!