Meet The Brew Team
Ashton started homebrewing with his best friend Tom Flores in 1986 during his junior year of high school, decided he wanted to be a brewer, earned his B.S in Food Science at Virginia Tech in 1991 and his M.S in Food/Brewing Science at the University of California, Davis in 1994. As a graduate student Ashton taught brewing science and worked with his mentor and professor, Michael J. Lewis, in a variety of rewarding endeavors.
In 1995 Ashton began working for Brew Your Own magazine, today the world’s best-selling homebrewing magazine, before the fledgling publication sold its first edition. This great partnership has lasted for 20 years and he continues to serve as BYO’s Technical Editor and author of the “Help Me! Mr. Wizard”.
Ashton’s proudest beer achievements have been spent at SBC as the Master Brewer. He remembers mashing-in the very first batch on December 2, 1997 and naming that beer “Maiden Voyage”. On November 30, 2011, Ashton became one of the owners of Springfield Brewing Company when he and a group of friends purchased the business from Paul Mueller Company, who started the brewery in 1997. The voyage has been great so far!
Non-Beer Interests: Jazz, food and cooking, scuba diving, staying healthy, hiking, and biking.
Bruce was the mug clubber that wouldn’t go away. He received his Bachelors of Science degree from Missouri State University after studying Computer Science, Mathematics and Physics and began a 23-year career as a software engineer. In 1995 he started home brewing while living in Memphis, TN and returned to Springfield in 1997 the year SBC opened. In 2005 he became a mug club member and SBC regular where he met SBC Master Brewer Ashton and a group of other mug club members who would eventually purchase SBC. In 2009 shortly after marrying his lovely wife Janet they devised a 5-year plan where Bruce would transform from computer geek to professional brewer. He returned to school studying Chemistry to meet the prerequisites for acceptance to the prestigious Master Brewers program at the University of California, Davis.
When SBC ownership changed in 2011 he was presented with an opportunity to leave the computer world and become an assistant brewer at SBC. In 2013 he was accepted into the UC Davis program and packed his bags for a 6-month stay in California. During his time at Davis he was awarded his Professional Brewers Certificate in March and Master Brewers Certificate in June of 2013. Shortly after in July he received his Diploma in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling, London, UK.
All educated up, missing his wife and homesick for Springfield he returned to SBC accepting the position of Head Brewer. He now happily rides his bicycle to work everyday and gets paid to make beer.
Steve moved to Springfield in 2014 to pursue his interest in becoming a professional brewer, joining SBC as part of the Brewery Team.
After working at an Omaha nuclear power plant for 15 years, Steve decided that he’d rather be crafting beer instead of plutonium-239. At the plant, Steve was Quality Assurance Manager and held positions in Operations, Engineering, and Chemistry. He also conducted internal investigations on behalf of site whistle-blowers and allegations received by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. After managing through two declared nuclear emergencies (a flood and a fire), Steve decided to turn his home brewing hobby into a new career.
The Springfield Brewing Company offered Steve the opportunity to learn from a highly knowledgeable team while he completed a formal brewing education program. Steve holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Nebraska. He is a Certified Cicerone ® and recently graduated from the Intensive Brewing Science and Engineering Program with the American Brewer’s Guild.
While not cleaning out fermentors or studying beer, Steve is exploring the Ozarks and checking out local eateries with his wife Jodi and son Aidan. You can usually spot Steve as he rides his bicycle or motorcycle to and from work while decked out in high-viz yellow.
Director of Operations
Born in San Diego, CA to a pair of late sixties hippies, Bryan spent many hours in the front seat of a flowered VW bug with his mother seeing the sights of the South Bay. Bryan represented the fourth generation of his family in the San Diego County area. Who knew his mother’s quest for “experience” and his father’s “stubbornness for perfection” would serve Bryan well in life. Bryan attended college, 5 different ones to be factual, but his ‘life’ continued to always get in the way of completing his studies.
It was here in Springfield, MO that he realized he had two very serious conditions; the love to play rugby and the drive to be an entrepreneur. Bryan’s rugby career lasted 25 years and he is still the President of the local Springfield Rugby Football Club. His passion for rugby led him to befriend Ashton Lewis, Brewmaster of SBC since 1997. The continued hits to the head during rugby playing the glorious position of Hooker and the free beer that Ashton donated may have contributed to the pair “hatching a scheme to buy Brew Co.”
Bryan was not a “restauranteur” nor a home brewer, but with the backing of their investors, great employees, a world class brewery and brew staff, and his wife by his side he became Director of Operations at SBC and a dream was realized. One can not take on a challenge like the BrewCo without having a strong support system. His wife, Tracy, and children, Connor and Laiken, along with their 4 rescue dogs help this happy hooker to man the helm!
Brewer / Sales
Colin got his start brewing as an apprentice at the District Chophouse Brewpub in Washington, DC. Before DC, he worked in the wine industry in Sonoma, California, where he was born and raised. In between those stops, he did stints in Bellingham, Denali, Managua, and Seoul. He once lived in a monastery in the Arizona desert, but unfortunately they didn’t brew any beer there. He is married to his best friend and home brew partner, Breanna Forni. They work, write, and bake wild yeast bread together on their farm outside of Chadwick, Missouri. At Springfield Brewing Company, Colin makes the beer, then he sells the beer, then he drinks the beer. Occasionally, he confuses the order.