Growth of Microbreweries in Houston – A Chat with Rassul Zarinfar, Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company

by | Aug 11, 2014 | PKF Texas - The Entrepreneur's Playbook®

Jen: PKF Texas: Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Jen Lemanski, this week’s guest host, and I’m here with Rassul Zarinfar, the founder and CEO of Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company. Rassul, welcome to the Playbook.

Rassul: Thanks for having me, Jen.

Jen: Now, you guys have been open for a couple of years now. Can you give me a little background about Buff Brewery and what you guys are doing?

Rassul: Sure, yeah. So we’re Houston’s most innovative microbrewery. We released 27 different beers in our first 27 months. We’ve brewed with three different types of flowers. We’ve got a beer with cucumber coming out right now, and just some really new twists on old crafts in terms of recipes.

Jen: So what inspired you to start the brewery?

Rassul: Well, I looked around Texas and no one was brewing the beer that I wanted to drink. I think a lot of breweries play it safe. And when you think about Houston, Houston’s a really foodie city. It’s a really fashion-forward city in terms of culinary trends, and we haven’t been seeing that out of the breweries in Houston. So that was kinda disappointing, and that prompted us to say, “Be the change you want to see in your glass.”

Jen: Awesome. Now, where are you guys actually located?

Rassul: We’re right at I10 and Shepherd.

Jen: Oh good. So real close. Like near the Heights.

Rassul: Yeah.

Jen: Now, can they take tours of the brewery?

Rassul: Yep, yep. We’re there every Saturday from noon to 3:00. And so you can come by, grab a glass, and drink some beers.

Jen: Do you do tastings or how does that work?

Rassul: Yeah. It’s pretty unstructured. It’s more like an open house, and so all of our volunteers are really smart and know a lot about the beers. So the whole idea is – we don’t have a sign, so it’s one of those things where it’s self-select. So a really cool vibe in terms of people who know what they’re looking for and they come by. And you just hang out, and usually one of us is there to kinda talk through what you’re tasting in the glass.

Jen: Now, do you have kinda some staples that you always have and then specialty brews?

Rassul: Yeah. Yep. Yeah. So we have 1836 and More Cowbell. 1836 is a copper ale, and it’s very easygoing. More Cowbell is a double IPA, super aggressive. And those beers are available all the time, and then the other beers just rotate really rapidly. So we’ve got our Gingerbread Stout. We’ve got our Summer Wit, which is ginger, corridor, two types of orange peel, hibiscus flowers, and pink peppercorns. It’s really fresh, really bright, very crisp. Perfect for the summer. And then we’ve got our Smoke on the Bayou, which is – we hand smoke the malts at different barbeque joints across town. And we blend ’em together to make a beer that you can’t have anywhere else on the planet. It’s literally –

Jen: So you’re getting Houston local.

Rassul: Yeah. It’s only – you can’t replicate it even year after year.

Jen: That’s perfect. Well, thanks so much for sharing your story. We really appreciate it.

Rassul: Thanks so much for coming – or having me. Yeah.

Jen: Awesome. This has been another Thought Leader Production brought to you by the PKF Texas: Entrepreneur’s Playbook. Tune in next week for another chapter.

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