On August 22, Sixpoint Brewery announced that it hired Eric Bachli as the chief product officer. Bachli was previously the head brewer at Trillium Brewing Company, where he scaled production and helped turn Trillium into a destination brewery known for big, hazy IPAs and special releases.
In the press release announcing the hire, Sixpoint stated that Bachli and the other new hires for the product development team will work on Sixpoint’s current beers, “devise new limited beers, and will also imminently launch a new wave of small batch, innovative beers starting this fall through a first-of-its kind sales channel.”
Which made many in the beer community to wonder: Will Sixpoint build their own brewery with the help of Bachli? Is a Sixpoint taproom finally in the works? And, perhaps most pressingly for a certain subset of beer lovers, does this mean Sixpoint will come out with a New England style IPA similar to what Trillium puts out?
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To the last point, BeerAdvocate user MJS08 writes, “if they try the haze craze, I’ll play.” But Sixpoint only vaguely addressed questions with the answers of “plenty of new innovations coming,” and “lots more updates to follow.”
VinePair caught up with Bachli about the new hire to learn more about his motivations for joining Sixpoint and what’s next for the brewery.
What inspired the move from Trillium to Sixpoint?
Sixpoint is one of the breweries that inspired me to turn professional. I had been a home brewer for quite some time and always dreamed about taking it to the next level. While working part time at Craft Beer Cellar in 2012 I had the opportunity to meet many brewers, Shane Welch being one of them. The encouragement from those interactions motivated me to work even harder and learn as much as possible about brewing. So naturally, this year when Shane reached out to me I was totally tuned in on hearing about the opportunity he had at Sixpoint. I think it’s fascinating how people’s paths converge in life, and after meeting with Shane and the Sixpoint team I knew this was a great fit for me. From a creative, technical, and technological perspective it is a brewer’s dream job and working with Shane Welch, Horace Cunningham and the Sixpoint crew with all their collective passion, experience and knowledge is the icing on the cake.
I’m sure things are busy getting ready to be one of the first members of a new brewery division, but what’s the first thing you want to accomplish when you official join in November?
We have a lot of projects on the horizon that we’ll be announcing soon. On day one I’ll be jumping on recipe development for a new line of small batch innovations. We’re changing the frequency of the beers we’re going to release, changing the way we release them, and putting the incredible supply chain Sixpoint has developed over the past few years (especially some incredible hops) to its best possible use. The stuff coming out of here is going to blow some minds.
What are some of the things from your past experience you’re going to bring to Sixpoint?
I spent the better part of a decade as an exploratory scientist before becoming a brewer. I’ve always been a scientist at heart, and that experience has been complementary to my brewing career from a quality, process, and creativity perspective. I’ve also had the opportunity to work with some amazing brewers and breweries, learning different perspectives on processes and techniques over the years. At Trillium I was given the opportunity to build a production brewery including scale-up of recipes, development of brewing and cellar processes, implementing record keeping and standard operating procedures, and building and managing a production team. This is all experience and perspective I will definitely bring to the table at Sixpoint.
We all need quality control, but the whole “devise new limited beers” part of the Product Development team is the most eye catching. Any insight you can give on what beers will be coming out and when?
We’ve got a few announcements coming up, so keep your eyes peeled on the Instagram page. We’re going to start putting out lots of new formulas. I’ve already been talking to the team over there and the creativity is flowing.
More to the point: Is a New England IPA coming to Sixpoint?
They already have Puff, which is hazy, but not quite full-on New England style. We’re going to focus on new, innovative beers, but we’re absolutely going to explore the techniques both Sixpoint and I have been using to make the best possible beers. The sky’s the limit here! Stay tuned.
Will there be any changes to Sixpoint’s current lineup of beers?
There might be tweaks, but there always have been — that’s Shane’s team’s whole approach. I’m going to comb over every recipe with them and talk about how to improve them, just like those guys do every day. We just went through a reformulation of the year-round beers. You can check out the details here.
You oversaw a huge amount of growth at Trillium. Do you see that type of expansion happening in the future for Sixpoint?
We’re focused on making awesome beers and creating an awesome customer experience, not any aggressive expansion plan. When we brew the beer we’re capable of, any growth will come naturally and organically as a result.
What are your top five favorite beers currently at Sixpoint, and do you think that’s going to change in the near future with a new release?
I am a big fan of sour beers and was blown away by Lil’ Raspy, Galacto, and Jammer. I’m also a big fan of Resin and Puff. We’ve got some exciting new additions that will be brewed on a limited and small batch release scale later this year and early into next year and I’m sure I’ll have more to add to my favorites list!
Sixpoint keeps hyping several announcements to come, your hire being an important piece of the puzzle. Any insight you can give on what’s next?
Give it two weeks. You’ll see.