John: Co-Founder and owner
John has resided in Carver County since the early 1990's, when a job offer with a start-up drug firm brought him back to the land of his family's roots. In 2013, John left a career in pharmaceutical marketing and product planning to pursue a long held dream in starting a microbrewery with longtime friend, Dan Norton. "I wanted to build a company that would make products that people enjoy, and create an environment that employees would find rewarding and fun. I've watched the microbrewery industry develop over the past decades and believe it is poised for continued strong growth, especially in lesser developed markets. We've assembled a great team. We have all the ingredients for making great beer and have created in Victoria's historic creamery building the perfect environment for our team and for our guests to experience wonderful beers and make new friends."
John studied biochemistry and biophysics at Oregon State University many years ago and is now attempting to relearn basic chemistry to help optimize our water profiles to match the beer styles ENKI is brewing. He and his wife Lisa, reside in Victoria, with their youngest son, Grant. John's older children, Ryan, Jeff, and Kerry, live in Minnesota and are likely to be seen working at and enjoying the brewery with friends.
Dan: Co-Founder and owner
Dan started his career as a high end athletic performance shoe designer at NIKE in New England. His custom designs found their way to the feet of 45 world class athletes who were wearing Dan's shoes as they became Olympic Champions and World Record Holders. Was it merely coincidence that they wore Dan's shoes while achieving their victories? We think not. So with Dan making our official brewing shoes we expect similarly high achievements.
It was also at NIKE that Dan and John started a long time running and beer tasting partnership. At the end of a hard run they would often go in search of local pubs that offered robust, flavorful beers, which at that time were primarily from European breweries. In those days it was rare to find a bar that kept even one interesting beer on tap. Fortunately for all of us, things are much better now.
Dan's shoe work eventually landed him in Germany, heading up Adidas advanced concepts team. We have no information on any records set in the shoes Dan created while at Adidas but he did achieve a record number of visits to breweries throughout the country, bringing back 151 beer steins from his visits. Would it be redundant to say that Dan really likes European beers?
Dan's brewery tours in Bavaria imparted in him an appreciation for the diversity in beer styles, the nuances between beers of the same style offered by different brewers, and the cultural significance of beer serving techniques and of course proper drinking traditions. Dan's familiarity with beer traditions makes him perfect for leading the design of our beers, which are certain to break tradition—and maybe even break some records along the way.
Kent: Brewing Operations
Part brewer, part facilities engineer, part production planner, Kent's three parts make more than a whole. Kent joined ENKI in 2015 as we prepared to make the big move from the tiny Victoria Creamery to our current location in a 46,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility. Kent was instrumental in converting a building outfitted for medical device manufacturing, complete with clean rooms, hundreds of HEPA filters, boilers, chillers, and a maze of high-voltage electrical electrical wiring and process piping, into a brewery. Simple, right? Since that wasn't enough to do, Kent started helping in our brewhouse and cellar, doing everying from mashing in to packaging finished product, along the way becoming an expert at keeping our finicky bottling equipment operating to perfection. Now leading the brewing operations, Kent is refining our brewing procedures and introducing exciting new beers, some adapted from his award-winning recipes as an accomplished home-brewer.
Karie: Instigator of Camaraderie
Looking to combine all her loves of people, food, and beer, Karie made a delightful fall into the craft beer industry in 2007, working for JJ Taylor beer distributor, emphasizing on small, artisanal breweries. In early 2010, she then made her transition to the brewery business, promoting New Belgium's line of beers. Karie's craft beer map now has a new landmark: ENKI Brewing Co. As the Instigator of Camaraderie, Karie will be ENKI's feet on the street, focusing on all things sales and marketing. "I'm incredibly excited for such a unique opportunity. I am fortunate enough to help build ENKI Brewing from the ground up in an industry I just love. I firmly believe in our mission – making friends. I can think of few better ways to do so than by enjoying a pint of finely crafted brew."
After graduating from MSU, Mankato with a degree in Speech Communication, Karie trained in classical French culinary technique at Le Cordon Bleu. While interning for America's Test Kitchen in Boston, Karie discovered the delicious and vast world of craft beer.
Mark: Director of Culinary Adventures
Mark walked into ENKI one day in early spring, 2017, uninvited, and started cleaning kegs. When, asked "what are you doing?" his response was, "I don't know, just was bored & thought I'd drop in for something to do." After a while we figured the only honarable thing to do would be to give him a job and start paying him. Then we asked Mark what he knew about brewing. His answer, "Nothing. But I can cook." So we told him to follow our brewer around and write down everying he does. And thus was borne ENKI's quality control department.
Later, we asked Mark if he had any qualifications that would be useful to ENKI, to which he responded that he was trained by the CIA. We thought about putting him in charge of covert operations until he explained that he was referring to the Culinary Institute of America--a different CIA entirely. So we told him to start cooking. He did. And now ENKI's guests are experiencing exceptional gastronomical accompaniments along which to enjoy ENKI beers.