A Brewer Profile Chat with Joe Alton
By Joe Alton
Name: Jason Schoneman
Hometown: Cedar Falls, IA
Works at: Steel Toe Brewing
4848 W. 35th St., St. Louis Park, MN || 952.955.9965
Turn-ons: My Bride holding two beers. People with ambition and optimism. Those who love adventure and believe that life is what they make it.
Turn-offs: Lazy people. Those who leave their cart sitting in the middle of the parking lot. People who linger in the left lane.
Beer Dabbler: What’s in your fridge right now?
Jason Schoneman: A few Steel Toes. I’ve been too busy to go to the liquor store (other than to deliver beer).
BD: What’s your favorite music to brew to?
BD: What keeps you inspired?
JS: My family. My bride, Hannah, has supported this crazy idea of opening a brewery for the last 10 years and put many of her dreams on hold. I hope to be able to provide for our family so she can press play on pursuing those dreams again.
Our customers. There is a moment that happens when two people come into the tasting room and are trying the beers and they will look at each other then nod and give a little smile—that is awesome.
BD: What would you be doing if you weren’t brewing?
JS: Mountain climbing guide would be ideal, or maybe building timber frame homes. But a more likely scenario would be working as a tool maker, which is what I went to school for.
BD: Where is your favorite place to put one back?
JS: A shitty bar in the middle of nowhere that has a great beer selection.
BD: What is the biggest misconception about your line of work?
JS: As a brewery owner I think the biggest misconception is that owning a brewery is just about making beer. I have people come in almost every day who tell me they want to start a brewery, so I tell them if they have a realistic understanding of everything that goes into it and are truly passionate about beer and running a business, then they should. I try to be very open and honest about what I do, which is operate a manufacturing facility where we try to make a great product as consistently as possible, then try to sell it. The beer is the end result of the tremendous amount of work. This might take some of the “cool” factor out of owning a brewery for some, but for me, a guy who loves craft beer, has a manufacturing background (tool maker and professional brewer), and knew from a very young age that I wanted to run my own business, that is the “cool” factor.
BD: When did you discover craft beer?
JS: In the late 90’s, during a trip to Colorado.
BD: When did you decide you wanted to brew professionally?
JS: While working at Lightning Boy Brewery in Belgrade, Montana 10 years ago.