Our story begins like so many, after spending way too many hours at the office, Chad simply wanted a cold beer… but not just any beer, he wanted the fresh, juicy, hazy IPA so many of his American and European friends were enjoying after work. Only Chad was in traffic heading home to Dubai from Abu Dhabi and while the UAE has many wonderful treats, a true hazy IPA wasn’t one of them.
As he sat in traffic near the Eastern Mangroves, he came to a realization: the UAE community has been overlooked by the global beer industry. With no local brewing operations and no focus from global exporting breweries, UAE residents were basically stuck drinking whatever beer the top global brands mass-produced …
As he crossed the border into Dubai, the decision was made: We would create the world’s first beer brand specifically dedicated to UAE residents. From flavor profiles, names, and design, all of our beers would be specifically made for us. Despite the daunting task of brewing overseas, exporting to this beautiful desert, and the litany of regulations we would have to abide by – we were determined to create a “local” brewery — one that never truly existed before… and thus, Side Hustle Brews was born.
We immediately went into execution mode. The first task was to build a team of UAE residents to help crystalize the plan. We would then extensively research the industry and set out to find our brewing partner.
And after interviewing over 30 brewers, Chad found the perfect partner in Wayne Milford. Wayne possessed an amazing combination of knowledge, experience, and passion — despite never having seen the UAE, Wayne embraced the Side Hustle mission.
The two worked together to formulate recipes. As the list of beers missing from the UAE began to grow, the model changed, and excitement grew.
Our next hurdle was finding a ‘home’ for Side Hustle which would give Chad, Wayne and the team the perfect space to build the ‘UAE’s first Craft Brewery’ in America — given the inability to produce in-country).
Enter Jeff, a long-time UAE resident and co-founder of Side Hustle Brews, who, in 2018, purchased a hops farm in his home state of Pennsylvania.
It was now official, Side Hustle Brews would be produced in Pennsylvania and transported to the UAE within a week of production to ensure residents experienced the freshest possible craft beer— just like they would in their birth country.
After securing the farm, developing recipes, and finalizing designs, we set out to find local venues that would support the Side Hustle mission.
After a string of coincidences, each more random and exciting than the next, Chad walked into Stars n Bars Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. He spoke to the manager, Randolph, and after 20 mins the two had agreed: Side Hustle Brews would launch in Abu Dhabi and they would partner to make Stars n Bars the first UAE venue with its own custom designed craft beer.
The Side Hustle team got to work producing the craft beer the local community deserves. We tested multiple recipes and agreed that a simple lineup of varying beer styles that paired well with popular local cuisine (and looming summer temperatures) would be the perfect way to introduce the UAE to what craft beer is supposed to be.
On March 29, we put the finishing touches on Sandstorm – a perfect example of the juicy, hazy IPA that started this entire adventure and on April 11, 2019, after a 14-hour flight from New York, the first batch of Side Hustle Brews cleared customs. The world’s first craft beer brand exclusively available in the UAE was launched to rave reviews on April 15, 2019 at Stars n Bars, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.
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