Women in Beer: Meet Sam Dufau, Head Brewer & Owner 2kids Brewing
We had the opportunity to sit down with an amazing women in the San Diego beer scene, Sam Dufau. She is the Owner & Head Brewer of 2kids Brewing Company, one of the smallest nano breweries in San Diego.
Some of our biggest takeaways were:
- Her fun spirit translates into the fun spirit of her beers.
- She is extremely passionate about doing more than just making great beer. She makes sure to give people the best possible experience each time they come into her brewery. Anyone who has visited their brewery, has seen this in the elevated experience they receive and how many locals they know by name.
- She is also extremely passionate about collaboration with others, and willing to share knowledge to help others out.
Learn more about Sam, what 2kids Brewing is up to next, and her advice for women wanting to get started in the industry in her interview with us below.
Tell us a little more about yourself, and how you support the brewery.
I own 2kids with my husband Robert, and I am the Head Brewer. I basically run the in-house stuff like the brewing and the tasting room, while Robert takes care of the gross stuff I don’t like to do like insurance, paying taxes, ordering inventory, etc. He’s the brains while I’m the brawn.
How long have you been a professional brewer?
2kids opened in September of 2013, so since then! Anyone out there thinking of starting the way I did, I would suggest not doing that. There was a huge learning curve for me, and I’m still overcoming new challenges in making beer. Having a solid education beforehand would have at least made the brewing easier. I don’t think any amount of school can prepare you for running a business.
Where or who do you get your inspiration from?
It comes from everywhere: what I feel like drinking, what my regulars ask for, even some punny name we thought of that requires a specific beer (I have pages and pages of notes for fantastic beer names that I worry will never become 2kids beers, and that would be a real tragedy).
I also get inspired by other breweries. Our Tribute Blonde Stout is just that – a tribute to a beer from Noble Ale Works that I thought was so amazing and novel that I had to make my own version so I could drink it more often. Our 123 Cream Ale was inspired by Alesmith. They had an American cream ale on tap when I first moved to San Diego, and I fell in love with it. The reason I started homebrewing was because they stopped making it. No one else was making anything like that at the time, so I figured I had to make it myself. I hope other breweries see it for what it is: admiration for what they do and wanting to recreate that feeling of joy when I had their beer. Imitation, flattery, etc.
What is your favorite part about being a brewer?
The community. For some reason, the brewing industry attracts really great personalities. I have met brewers from breweries big and small, who have been working from 2 months to 2 decades, and all of them are nice and helpful. I have never worked in an industry that has such camaraderie and conviviality. It’s great being able to share my passion with like-minded nerds.
Share an interesting brewing experience.
I am fortunate enough to have very uneventful brewing experiences. Our first ever was the worst – we had to brew after work since we both had day-jobs at the time, and we had to trouble shoot so many things that we ended up staying up all night brewing and going back to work at the end. Again, if you’re thinking about doing that, I would suggest not doing that.
Every brew day since then has been better. The best experiences are when a recipe comes out exactly how we want. We’ve been working on our Incredulous Ordinary Bitter for years, and we finally found the perfect recipe. We just won silver for it at the San Diego International Beer Festival! Some outside validation every now and then is nice.
Is there anyone in particular you would like to do a collaboration with and why?
I would be interested in doing a collaboration with pretty much anyone, and learn a lot when I do collaborations. Since I get so isolated working here, it’s nice to see how other brewers write recipes, how their systems work, and what little tidbits help them make a better product. I pick up new skills, or at least a new way of thinking when I work with others. It would be great to work with one of the big dogs – I wonder if we have enough in common that we could learn a little something from each other…
What style of beer do you enjoy making the most?
No particular style… I enjoy making our core beers the most. I know the recipes so well it’s like muscle memory. When I brew them, I achieve flow; I’m so immersed in my work it’s like a brewer’s meditation.
Have you met many other women brewers?
I have not met as many as I would like. I tend to get immersed in my own little world and I forget to there are others out there I could befriend. There is some real talent in this town and I could learn a lot by talking shop with these women. I’m looking forward to being more involved with the Pink Boots Society. Our tasting room manager Zana is a good influence on me; she’s making sure we’re more connected with the other Pinks out there.
Anything exciting coming up with 2kids Brewing that you can share with us?
We have become more involved with the National Brain Tumor Society through friends. We’re looking to host a large event this year that not only brings attention and support to this wonderful charity, but also promotes a sense of unity among the local independent breweries. We’re hoping it’s fun and successful enough to do every year!
What advice would you give other women that are trying to get into the industry?
Educate yourself. Familiarize yourself with the brewing process, study beer styles and flavor profiles, learn about alcohol laws, know a few things about other breweries, etc. Learn about whatever aspect you want to work in, and then some. Knowing about the industry will elicit respect from your peers and give you a heads-up in an already saturated business.
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