With a nod to hiring local talent, Funky Buddha Brewery announced yesterday that it hired Florida native Alex Postelnek to be its lead brewer.
As a lead brewer, Postelnek is responsible for supervising day-to-day production, maintenance, and quality control of the beer at the brewery's new Oakland Park facility.
Having worked for Heineken International as a market analyst for Western and Southern India and as an intern at Stone Brewing Company where he got his start in 2005, Postelnek is coming to the brewery with several years in the industry.
His experience spans the globe, including three years as a consultant to major breweries in India, China, and Singapore. Postelnek is practically a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to brewing. He sourced, built and installed production brewhouses at Toit Brewpub in Bangalore and Geist Beerworks in Doolally, and played a major role in the installation of Helm's Brewing in San Diego, California. He proctored extensive training for Cerana Imports, bringing craft beer to India.
Postelnek is a graduate of the Seibel Institute in Chicago, America's oldest operating brewing institute. Before brewing, Postelnek's time was occupied by music, graduating from the New World School for the Arts in 1997 with a specialty in percussion instruments. He's performed at Carnegie Hall with artists such as Yo-Yo Ma.
His brewing endeavors began with homebrewing. but his interest grew as he read more books, talking to other brewers, and then started taking online courses through Seibel. After extensive time overseas, he came home on holiday to see his family, who now lives in Boca Raton, and found the Funky Buddha Lounge. He reached out to the owners, looking for a way to become a full-time brewer, but the timing wasn't quite right.
After more work traveling coast-to-coast and overseas, he came home again, this time last May and reached out once more. The timing was perfect as Funky Buddha was about to open the doors for their new Oakland Park facility. He says he chose Funky Buddha to be closer to his family, but it's more than just that.
Most of his career was spent as a consultant helping other brewers, but here he is the brewer. For Postelnek, working at Funky Buddha is a dream come true.
"I come in the morning and I turn on the lights and I'm like, 'Wow, this is my production house,'" he says.
Having Postelnek doing the day-to-day brewing operations will allow head brewer and co-owner, Ryan Sentz, to focus on developing more delicious beer recipes. His duties include making sure that production is met on-time, everything is packaged properly and coordinates with the marketer and the owners.
For now, his job entails making sure things run smoothly in the production facility, although he does play some part in the creative side of the house too. He has already created a brew for the upcoming Great American Beer Festival -- although he can't say what it is.
"Alex's combination of experience and technical know-how make him the ideal fit for our growing team," says Sentz. "He's really embraced our creative nature and we have no doubt that he will improve everything we do."
With Postelnek's extensive experience of the brewing industry on a global scale, it just goes to show that Funky Buddha does not mess around when it comes to making quality brew.
"Everything in life is kind of preparing me for something else, whether I know about it or not," Postelnek says. "I think everything I've experienced so far has led to what I have right now."