Interview with Ted Fleming of Partake Brewing

I follow the nascent N/A beer market with interest so I was glad to be able to ask a few questions of Ted Fleming, the CEO & Founder of Partake Brewing.

1. Why did Partake want to do an N/A beer?  What did they think was missing from the market?

 Over a decade ago I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease which has led to many changes in my life. One of the biggest changes was my decision to give up alcohol and with that one of my favourite things and social activities – craft beer. As I began to explore the world of non-alcoholic beer as an alternative I realized that there was a significant lack of variety and high-quality NA beer like I had come to love in the craft beer experience. Every non-alcoholic beer I tried made me feel like I was compromising on something, which is why I wanted to launch Partake to bring authentically great tasting craft beer to the NA beer drinker.

2. Is the calorie counting drinker market the same now as it was last year or have attitude shifted?

 Overall, we have seen a significant shift in the market over the past few years with consumers wanting to see lower-calorie beverages across all areas. This is likely reflective of the increase in wholistic diets, the keto diet, as well as a decrease in desire to consume sugary beverages. Due to this, and since our launch in 2018, we have seen an increase in low-calorie beer across the non-alcoholic beverage category as well as the alcoholic beer category. There has also been an increase in more sessional beers with a lower ABV from brewers across North America.

3. What is the best-seller of your range and why do you think that is?

 Our best-seller in stores is our Pale Ale, coming in at 10 calories a can with zero carbs and won the World Beer Award for Best Non-Alcoholic Beer (2018). Our customers love it for it’s citrusy aromas and crisp finish. It also has our biggest distribution across the USA and Canada. The Pale Ale is a very accessible flavour profile for a variety of beer drinkers and is a great beer to always keep stocked in your fridge for any occasion. However, a very close 2nd overall is our IPA which is our best-seller online ( 

4. What is the biggest challenge in crafting a non-alcoholic beer?

 The biggest challenge is the delicacy of our beer to create the right balance of aromas and flavors. In full-alcohol beer the alcohol provides a flavor buffer that can hide a lot more potential imperfections and gives the brewer a larger margin for error. We also have a lot more to prove, we aren’t just trying to prove we make a great beer but we are also proving that we make a great beer without having to compromise on calories or having to consume alcohol to enjoy a great beverage.

5. Are there special one-off beers in the pipeline?  N/A pastry stout or double dry hopped IPA?

We definitely have some exciting new beers in development right now. One of these is our new Radler that we are working on launching sometime this July as an online exclusive ( The best way to stay up to date on when our new beers are launching is to subscribe to our newsletter as we usually release these in a very limited run to gain feedback and insights from our community.

Four Corners – Interview

  1. Why come to Los Angeles in 2019?

Los Angeles has a thriving craft beer scene and one of the nation’s largest Hispanic populations, so bringing our flagship El Chingón IPA and El Grito Lager here is the perfect next step in the Four Corners Brewing Co. journey. We bring together the culture of craft brewing with Mexican-American bicultural heritage, creating flavorful craft beers accompanied by vibrant lotería-inspired branding. Four Corners is perched at the intersection of the growing popularity of traditional Mexican import beers and the innovative nature of craft brewing. This blend results in a craft brewery with the ability to appeal to L.A.’s wide range of culturally diverse beer drinkers.

2. Can you give us the origin story of Four Corners Brewing

Four Corners is our collective beer journey that has taken us from being better-beer enthusiasts and home brewers to launching and nurturing our brand in Texas for more than seven years. Four Corners was founded in 2012 in an effort to elevate craft beer culture in our hometown of Dallas. Our goal was to reflect the diversity of the neighborhood and bring together creative groups of people to celebrate a common passion.

Before founding Four Corners, Co-Founders Greg Leftwich, Steve Porcari and I had become enamored by the American craft beer movement and were inspired to share our passion with others. Our true beginning goes back to Porcari’s home garage where we gained a deeper appreciation of the styles, ingredients and brewing processes as home brewers.

We’re proud and excited that our journey now provides the opportunity to brew our bold, delicious beers in San Diego and raise a pint with the people of Los Angeles and Southern California.

3. What is the flagship beer for Four Corners and will it translate to the LA market?

We’re bringing two flagship offerings to Southern California– El Chingón IPA and new El Grito Lager. Both are available now throughout Los Angeles and San Diego in colorful seis-packs and on draft at popular bars and restaurants.

We believe our bold brews and Mexican-American inspired branding will appeal to Los Angeles’ bicultural beer drinkers as well as craft fans seeking new experiences. That’s what’s special about Four Corners — our beers hold their own against American craft brewers in terms of flavor and complexity and our vibrant branding attracts bicultural drinkers. 

4. What is the Dallas craft beer scene like in 2019?

When we launched Four Corners in 2012 in Dallas,there were only a handful of breweries in the state and only two in the entire North Texas region. These days, there are more than 250 craft breweries in Texas. We’re proud that Four Corners helped pioneer and shape the burgeoning craft beer scene in North Texas and added a unique dimension to the Texas craft beer landscape.

5. What has been the impact of Constellation for the brewery?

We’ve embraced our partnership with Constellation Brands. It has provided the opportunity to share our beer with more people, first throughout Texas and now in Los Angeles and San Diego.

Our standard of brewing has remained unchanged because our management team and employees have continued delivering the same innovative and fresh flavors consumers enjoy today.

5 Questions with Geoff Phillips of Bailey’s Taproom

1. What is your approach to recommending beers to people who ask, “What do you think is good?” or the other variations on the “you choose for me” theme?
That is usually one of the more frustrating questions, because there isn’t one beer that everyone will like (I might think it’s great, you might think it’s great, but they might not think it’s great). I really try to get some feedback from them as to what flavors or styles they like. We try to keep a wide variety of styles, and we have the opportunity to turn people on to these styles they may have never heard of.

2. What did you learn about running a craft beer bar that took you by surprise?
That we were really able to just sell beer and pretty much nothing else. We were going to do sandwiches, and we had chocolate and cheese going for a while too, but the beer sales were going so well that we were able to cut out all food and focus on what we wanted to do, bring in really good beers.

3. What beer style do you think is under appreciated at the moment?
Not sure. I would probably say some kind of German lager. Most breweries seem to skip almost all German styles, especially Lagers. There are definitely economic reasons for why brewers decide not to do lagers, but it would be nice to see more of them.

4. What beer has really found an audience that you thought might not? And conversely, which sure thing didn’t pan out like you thought it would?
I’m pretty sure all beer will have an audience, as long is it is made well. I’ve had a couple of mint beers on recently, the flavor isn’t working for me, but there have been plenty of people that have been really enjoying them.
4b. Not positive I know what the question is, but I’ll give it a go. There have been a couple of beers that we’ll put on and I’ll think is amazing, but it doesn’t sell well. Usually I think it is because it came from one of the larger craft breweries. There are definitely a lot of people that think New Belgium, Sierra Nevada, Widmer and the like, can’t produce a good beer, and that is very frustrating.

5. What do you think of the recent surge in brewery openings? (Migration, Coalition, Mt. Tabor)
I think it is great. I don’t think there is a saturation point yet. I think most of these brewpubs are just setup as your local tavern, that just so happens to also make their own beer, seems good to me. If I had a small brewpub or a regular bar, with the same beers that every other bar in town has, right next to my house, I’m going to the small brewpub.