Last week, we took a moment to talk with the founder of Bischoff Family Brewing, Eric Bischoff. For those who don’t know Eric, he has been in the television business for a little over 20 years, and is most famous for his work with tv wrestling. When he isn’t producing reality based TV shows for cable or starring on Impact Wrestling on Spike TV, he is in Wyoming building a new craft beer brand known as Buffalo Bill Cody Beer.
We covered a lot with Eric, including why he got into the craft beer business, his vision for the company, what kind of beer wets his whistle, and why he thinks his newest venture will be a successful one. As a wrestling fan since 1992, it was tough for me to keep the interview completely beer talk, but I did for the most part, so we hope you enjoy. Cheers, TFP
The Full Pint: What did you decide to jump into the craft beer business?
Eric Bischoff: It’s something my wife and I have been talking about for 15-18 years. My interest started in the early 90’s, when I purchased a few home brewing kits. I had a ball doing it, and it was relaxing and rewarding. My career took up so much time, I got away from it, but as I have been traveling, I’ve seen craft beer grow, and it’s really amazed me. I found my town Cody, WY would be great for craft beer and a brewpub.
TFP: Will you use your world wide notoriety to push this project further than someone else trying to start up a brand?
EB: I don’t think so. I have for a little bit. My Facebook and Twitter page has gotten a big reaction. Beyond that, my day job doesn’t have much to do with my passion project.
TFP: The craft beer scene isn’t really jumping in Wyoming (or at least that’s our impression), do you plan on changing that?
EB: There is only 500,000 people here. Where I live in Cody, on the east entrance of Yellowstone, 2 million people come through the area to visit each summer. We can expose our product to a lot of people around the world. Because of the people who are coming through to try it, and they see the beer associated with the town and culture. Because of this, we are getting offers from folks out of state.
TFP: I see you are contract brewing at Yellowstone Valley to start production. Any immediate plans for your own brewing facility?
EB: We are talking about that now. Yellowstone(Valley Brewing) are great guys, and have vast amount of knowledge and resources. It’s better for me to partner up with folks that know. Even if we branch off, we will be brewing with them.
TFP: Will you get into wider distribution, if so, where?
EB: We are going to concentrate on Cody for now. We are brewing beer like crazy and selling like crazy. We are just keeping up with demand here in Cody. After vacation season, we’ll start strategizing. We’d like to be in the rest of the state by next April. We are turning down business in different parts of the state . I had no idea this was going to take off like this. We just thought it was fun, but didn’t know there would be such a demand.
TFP: What type of portfolio do you have planned as far as recipes go?
EB: We are discussing this now. We’d like to go for a Wheat for next spring or summer. I personally love Pilsner. I spent my college years in Southern Germany. I am brewing to my own tastes right now. We are looking for something indiginous. Something unique to Cody.
TFP: Who is your immediate competition?
EB: If you go to some of the finer restaurants in town, we are competing with the other dozen craft beers on tap. We have a leg up because we are the local attraction, especially for people who love the wild west.
TFP: Who has impressed you the most in the craft beer industry?
EB: This started out as a hobby, and I’m so new to this. I’ve been thrusted into this industry. I don’t have a strong opinion on that yet because I’m so new to it.
TFP: What is your favorite craft beer?
EB: Depends on what I’m doing and what the whether is like. I tend to like Wheat Beers and IPAs. I just tried 400 pound Monkey by Left Hand Brewing the other day. It was really good. Very hoppy, but not too hoppy. I’m a session drinker so I can only take so much hops in a sitting. I don’t really have a favorite, I just like to experiment and discover.
TFP: Will you get The Hulkster involved in this in anyway?
EB: This one I don’t see the cross promotion capability. This will stand on its own.