fueled by

brewing

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It takes a lot of heat to brew world-class beer.

It takes a lot of heat to brew world-class beer.

Annie Johnson wakes up thinking about brewing. Not coffee or tea, like the rest of us. She’s thinking about work. She’s thinking about her weekend plans. She’s thinking about the next trip she’ll take. In all these scenarios, she’s thinking about brewing her next batch of beer or sampling another brewer’s bounty.

By day, Johnson is the brewmaster at PicoBrew, an innovative tech startup based in Seattle that makes countertop homebrew kitchen appliances and beer recipes to go with them. On the weekends, she’s crafting world-class ales and lagers at home, and she has the medals (and kegs) to prove it. Her traditional German, Czech and Belgian beers have won over the harshest of American and European judges.

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Brewing fuels her life, and you really can’t brew without petroleum. Can you boil wort over an open fire? Albeit ridiculously cumbersome, yes. Has she? Of course. Johnson has brewed about every beer under the sun (literally, in her driveway). But she says propane is quicker, more powerful and more manageable. That means she can make better beer and more of it.

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And that’s just the beginning of what petroleum does to help fuel homebrewers. Much of the equipment that brewers use — from PVC tubing to gaskets and stoppers to refractometers used to measure the density of the brew — owes its existence to petroleum.

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Johnson spent nearly 20 years working in information technology for the California legislature before winning the prestigious Homebrewer of the Year award from the American Homebrewers Association. That’s when everything changed, and her lifelong passion became a dream profession in Washington.

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Johnson is not only an integral member of her local homebrewing club, actively mentoring younger brewers, but she’s worked alongside countless others to help coalesce a collaborative community of craft brewers in Seattle and across the country.

Annie Johnson lives a life fueled by brewing.

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