Craft Brewer’s Experienceship: A Q&A with Rick Abitol of Brewery Rickoli

Brewery RickoliAs part of our Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream program, craft brewers who have received a loan through the program can apply for a Brewing and Business Experienceship. Experienceship brewers receive extended coaching and mentoring from a variety of Samuel Adams experts, a trip to Boston to visit our Boston Brewery – where we brew a collaboration beer – and the chance to join us at beer industry events.

This year’s Experienceship winner was Rick Abitbol, brewmaster of Brewery Rickoli, a craft brewery based in Wheat Ridge, CO that focuses on brewing delicious, gluten-reduced beers. We had the chance to sit and chat with Rick about his passion for brewing and how Brewing the American Dream has helped him pursue his dream of opening his own brewery.

Q: What’s the story behind the name of Brewery Rickoli?

A: It comes from a nickname derived from “Jeff Spicoli,” a character in the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High, a nickname I earned years ago. My wife bought me custom pub glasses that said “Rickoli Tavern” on them and it really planted the seed – I thought maybe someday I would own my own brewery.

Q: Brewery Rickoli focuses on reducing the amount of gluten in your beer. Why is this important to you and what are the challenges of this approach?

A: The drive for us to brew gluten-removed beers is about changing the stigma that gluten-free equals bad taste. Removing the gluten doesn’t affect the taste of our beers. We can make great beer to accommodate people’s needs and eating/drinking preferences, and not sacrifice quality.

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