BOY MEETS GIRL
“It’s the perfect, crazy love story. I can’t find any other way to describe it. It was meant to be.”
– Julien Lux, New Glory Craft Brewery
The story of New Glory Craft Brewery is one of following your heart. Julien Lux is the owner of the brewery in Sacramento. It’s a long way from his hometown in France. Lux is also a man who’s not afraid to follow his heart. He followed his across the Atlantic. Then he followed it again to become one of the region’s most daring beer makers.
But before we can get to the beer, we have to go back about 10 years when boy met girl.
“When I was a senior in high school, I met an exchange student from Sacramento in France, in Paris,” Lux begins his story. “We just kind of hit it off, and end up spending the whole summer with her, showing her around, visiting Paris and all of the towns around that. And just kind of fell in love that way.”
Love is, of course, a tricky thing. It’s even trickier when you’re young and separated by thousands of miles and ocean. Lux says after the summer was over she returned home. He tried to go to college in France, but his heart was in America. And as they say, the heart wants what the heart wants.
“I came here for the summer and just ended up staying. I got a student visa just to be with her pretty much and see where this was going to take us.”
BOY MEETS CRAFT BEER
Living the American dream, but not quite making a living at first. Lux says while attending college in Sacramento he was doing odd jobs when he found a real job working for Markstein Beverage Company. Markstein distributes craft beer bigwigs like Sierra Nevada. It was during his time with the company that he discovered the next love of his life, craft beer.
“Just one thing lead to another where it just kind of became an obsession. Craft beer was kind of like more of a way of life than anything.” Lux says he began brewing on the weekends in his garage. Growing up near the Belgium border he says he had a fondness for Saisons and Golden Ales. But he loved to experiment, throwing whatever spices he could find into the mix to see what might he might discover.
Around this time Lux would get engaged, and his two loves would come together and serve as the catalyst for changing his passion into a profession. “One of the things that was really dear for me for my own wedding is I want to serve my own beer. So I crafted two beers for my wedding.”
He says he made about 15 gallons of beer for the event. By the end of the night, it was all gone. Every last drop. And these weren’t your average beer drinkers. Because of Lux’s job with Markstein, many of the attendees had connections to the beer industry. Those people told Lux that they would buy that beer if he were selling it. They were clearly on to something. One of those beers he brewed for his big day is New Glory’s Farmhouse Saison, which is now one of the company’s best sellers.
“That’s kind of where I started to connect the dots. I sell beer for a living, and I’m obsessed about craft beer on the side, and I’m brewing every weekend, and I’m like maybe there’s an opportunity there to just transition to do my own thing and make my own beer, and sell my own beer.”
BOY STARTS BREWERY
If there were a movie, this is where Lux and his new bride would ride to live in their brewery happily ever after. Real life is a lot harder than that though and so is starting a brewery.
“For the first year it was really challenging, first year and a half actually,” Lux says. “You’re starting a brand-new marriage, you’re starting a brewery and you’re quitting a job that was paying you very well to just go work 16 hours to make nothing.”
Not making any money and making beers that he admits were safe. New Glory was making five standard beers, a far cry from the experiments Lux was conducting in his garage. He said at that point he was bored with his beers and so were the customers. That’s when he decided to follow his heart again.
“(I said), ‘I’m going to brew whatever the hell I want; whatever I feel like.’ I always kind of thought craft beer was more on the heart side. It’s kind of like two parts heart, one part science.”
It was this change in philosophy that has made New Glory one of the region’s more daring beer makers. New Glory still makes those original five, but also has season offerings like its Tropical Wheat IPA, Key Lime Gose, Ginger Peach Saison and the much debated Cucumber Lemon Pilsner.
“We want to start a conversation,” he says. “I want to say we’re one of the more creative (breweries) out there. (Some) people are loving it, some people are hating it but at the end of the day I’m happy and I love what we’re doing.”
NEW GLORY- A LOVE STORY
And Lux wants to keep doing it, bigger and better. Three years after first opening his doors, he says New Glory will continue to push the envelope even as the company makes plans to expand its brewing operation.
Lux’s story is the age-old adage of boy meets girl, the boy follows girl halfway across the globe, the boy makes beer, the boy becomes a brewer. “Here we are ten years later; we’re married, we’ve got a kid, a 2-year-old daughter, living the American dream.”
He laughs when he thinks about the love story that’s gotten him to this point, “I think it would make a great movie actually. Somebody should write a play about it or something.”