JT Stellmach of Holy City Brewing has been a friendly, familiar face in the South Carolina brewing community going on a couple of years now. We felt that this dude needed some love on our guild website so we decided to profile him in the first of many SC Beer profiles we are trying to run every month.
1. Whats Your Current Position:
I’ve pretty much been in F&B (Food & Beverage Industry) since high school and was previously the beverage director at a bar/restaurant on Daniel Island. I started at Holy City in February of 2013. I started like a lot of brewery workers did – as a volunteer for beer and tips. After the state passed the pint bill I was offered a full time position. One of our owners, Chris Brown, said I would probably be the first “new hire” due to the pint bill in the state of South Carolina. I worked up from general whipping boy and tap room manager to my current position, which really has no title, although I like Brand Manager/Brand Ambassador. My daily tasks involve visiting current Holy City Brewing accounts throughout the entire state of South Carolina. I host out of brewery events, staff training for local restaurants, and work one-on-one with distributors to bring the best beer to the best people.
2. What’s your South Carolina back story?
I grew up on the coast of New Hampshire in Hampton Beach and left there in 2002 to start school at Clemson University. I finished there in five football seasons and walked out with a degree and a “thirst” for employment. I found my way back to the ocean and away from the cold in Charleston where I’ve lived for the last ten years.
3. What are some of your favorite things to do outside of your work?
I always enjoy the cliche things like spending time with friends, trying new beers, and navigating the constantly changing restaurant scene in Charleston. I’ve got an awesome three year old hound dog named Steve Wiebe (after the star of Donkey Kong documentary: King of Kong.) I fancy myself as a bit of a golfer and a big sports fan to boot. My teams in order: Clemson Tigers, Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots, Boston Bruins, Boston Celtics.
4. What’s your biggest brewing related accomplishment or feeling of achievement?
Honestly, just being part of a growing industry in a state that seems to be taking the right steps (or at least trying) to make brewing beer better for its residents and prospective employees. The people in the beer scene are awesome friends and coworkers! But for the sake of an answer I’ve been caricatured on the can of our Overly Friendly IPA… now THAT’S pretty frickin’ sweet!
5. What’s your biggest accomplishment or proudest moment outside of your brewery job?
Graduating college was pretty awesome. I admit that I was worried there for a bit. I’m really proud to have left behind “home” in New Hampshire and move away without knowing anyone, meeting all kinds of great people and building a home in South Carolina.
6. What’s your favorite meal to pair with beer?
Nachos, wings, roasted oysters, pizza, sushi, ceasar salad, lasagna, publix subs, shepards pie, indian food, ramen bowls, cheese/charcuterie, rice krispies, rice krispie treats, Sugar Bakeshop Lady Baltimore Cupcakes, shrimp cocktail, grilled cheese, fluffernutters, etc.
7. What’s your favorite beer brewed by your place and why?
Year round – The Washout Wheat. Though it’s better suited for summer I love how traditional and delicious it is. I think it was an unfiltered Hefeweizen my dad brought back from Germany that started me drinking something other than his normal stash of Budweiser. My favorite all time beer is Pollinator II: Judgement Day. It was the first Iron Brew Winner (Homebrew competition that we host.) It was the tastiest honey-fied belgian blonde ale…. I wish that would coming back.
8. What’s the new happenings at your brewery?
Holy City always has something going on. It’s amazing how much the place changes in five weeks let alone the transformation over the last five years. We’re brewing beer twice a day, six days a week now with a super talented brewing and production staff. The tap room is open seven days a week with a full on kick ass lunch/dinner/brunch menu. Look for new weekly styles only available in the tap room and core/flagship brands in cans and on draft all over SC
9. What would be your dream beer related trip?
I’ve never traveled over seas, so I would love to visit Belgium and Germany. I’ve also always wanted to see the far east and recently read a sweet article about beer in Japan. Lets go with Tokyo. I wanna see what other cultures do with beer.