Pablo Gomez is many things, but all of his pursuits fit together into a cohesive whole. He’s a certified cicerone (beer sommelier), the Spanish-language editor at Zymurgy and the co-host of Entre Cervezas, a podcast for The Brewing Network. He’s also the East Coast sales representative for White Labs.
White Labs began in 1995 with a goal of manufacturing yeast cultures and providing fermentation services to the beverage industry. When it opened its Asheville lab in January 2017, the company was already doing substantial business in the eastern U.S. Gomez notes that at the most recent Great American Beer Festival in Denver, 60%-65% of the medal winners were White Labs customers.
Gomez follows industry trends and notes an increased interest in promoting biotransformation, the interaction between dry-hopping and yeast. “And people are very into kveik [yeast] strains from Norway,” he says. “They can ferment at really hot temperatures, and they produce a lot of esters. People are going nuts with those.”
Working closely with clients is central to Gomez’s job. “Most of the time, brewers know what they want. But many other times, they ask, ‘I’m trying to brew this beer. What can I do?’” White Labs produces nearly 70 yeast strains every week, and Gomez says the company has an additional 100 that it can grow by special order. “And if a brewery has its own specific yeast that they like, we can bank it and grow it for them.”
He offers some advice for those looking to get into commercial brewing. “Keep things small and local,” he says. “More and more, if the consumer is asked to choose between drinking a good beer fresh from the local brewery and another from, say, Illinois, they’re definitely going to do the local one.”