May 26, 2019 | Current Beers
Our story began on a ride from Abu Dhabi to Dubai. Our founder, Chad, realized there was nowhere in the country that sold the fresh, juicy, hazy IPA he craved after an insane month at the office.
As he sat in traffic near the eastern mangroves, he realized 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 into the border of 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 those here in the UAE. Despite the daunting task of brewing overseas and exporting to this beautiful desert and the litany of regulations we would have to abide by – we were determined to create a “locally focused brewery” that had never truly existed before… Side Hustle Brews was born.
We immediately went into execution mode. First task was to build a team of UAE residents to help crystalize the plan. Then we extensively researched the industry and interviewed potential brewers.
And after interviewing over 30 brewers, Chad found the perfect partner in Wayne Milford, who 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.
The 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’ given their inability to produce in country.
Enter Jeff, a long time UAE resident and co-founder of Side Hustle Brews, who purchased a hops farm in his home state of Pennsylvania in December of 2018.
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 home country.
Now that they secured the farm, recipes and designs, but the mission wasn’t over. 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 branded 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 beers styles which 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 beers cleared customs. The world’s first expat focused 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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