STORIES

Bikes and Beer

"Everything I do has a process and that’s where bikes, engineering, and brewing all connect."

We caught up with Rawley Macias recently to get his take on his decision to shift gears from his very predictable and reliable 9 to 5 to the creation of Rouleur Brewing Company based in Carlsbad, CA. Here's a snapshot of his story.

Bicycles have been a part of my life since early childhood and they remain that way today. However, I was never too serious about them until I took a course in bicycle dynamics in college and as a part of that course I had to design and fabricate my own full suspension mountain bike. That was a blast and I still own and ride that bike today.

  

After college and after my first son was born, I packed on a few pounds and realized I wasn't in the best of shape so I bought a used Cannondale CAAD10 off Craigslist for $900 and began shedding those pounds by committing to riding twice a week.

That ended up turning into six days and 200 miles a week. I became more serious, hired a coach, and started entering road races. Most recently I road for Monster Media aboard my Masi Evo Team bike.

I'm a competitive guy, but what I love most about cycling is the escape. Like most people, I lead a super busy life and while I'm riding, I'm able to reset, problem solve, and think more clearly. After a solid ride, not only is my head clear, but I'm physically re-energized and ready to take on the world.

How Things Work

I'm keenly interested in how things work and how they can be improved to work even better. This interest ultimately drove me to the decision to become an engineer. While attending college, I worked as an intern in the aerospace industry and stayed on after graduation where I worked on unmanned aircraft for Lockheed Martin and General Atomics for a combined 12 years.

Beyond bikes and engineering, I've had an interest in brewing beer for over 12 years and that interest grew into a passion in 2009 or so.

I love engineering; I especially love the process of research and design, invention, and improving things currently in existence.

Everything I do has a process and that's where bikes, engineering, and brewing all connect.

  

Although I loved my engineering job, government contracts and the painfully slow speed with which they move, combined with being confined to a desk for 8 hours a day had its challenges. I'm extremely independent and envisioned that one day I'd be working for myself either in engineering or the brewing industry. I knew that if the right opportunity presented itself there would be a shift in my life. And it did, and there it was.

  

One Tidy Little Package...
Rouleur Brewing Company

In February of 2016, I was presented with a once in a lifetime opportunity that was hard to refuse. While I was comfortable in my engineering job, the time had finally come to realize my dream. Years of experience in brewing and beer judging was about to be rolled up into one tidy little package, Rouleur Brewing Company based in Carlsbad, California.

I can't say that I was 100% ready, but can anyone say that? After all, there was a brand to create and capital investment to raise to get it all off the ground.

I had an idea and a strong sense of what our core values would be as a company to help guide me. I also had the full support of my family and friends.

I remember my wife telling me that if I didn't jump at the chance, I might regret it for the rest of my life and I don't like the thought of looking back at missed opportunities.

 
  

Tweaking the Norms

Opening a brewery in San Diego County has its own challenges. While San Diego is the craft beer mecca of the world and people travel here just for the beer, it's a crowded house and we're all competing for the same customers. Great beer is a must but it's not enough; there is no shortage of great beer in this county. You need to be unique so you stand out.

With Rouleur, I had the opportunity to combine my passions of cycling and brewing, along with my skills as an engineer, to create a product and an environment that is truly unique. As a judge, I was able to experience fantastic tasting beers that strayed from traditional style guides and realized this was the path I wanted Rouleur to take.

 

In fact, there are many reasons we chose the name Rouleur and you can read more about it on our website, but at the very heart is our key core value; "Rouleurs are able to break the rules because they transcend them.

As a result, they often look at things with an eye toward tweaking the norms to their advantage." And that advantage becomes great taste.

To us, it was not only about creating a great tasting beer, but doing it consistently over and over and over again, while providing a unique environment in which to experience it.

  

We opened the doors in late March, 2017 and while I'd like to say it's a slam dunk, the more honest answer is that it's a new business, and like any new business, time, passion, and hard work are required to make a go of it.

I went from a comfortable paycheck to no paycheck, instead choosing to reinvest every dollar back into the business to ensure its long-term success. This has been a super fun process but it's not for the faint of heart, it requires grit.

To Be the Best

My life has never been as busy as it is right now. With a family at home, including a 4-year-old and 10-month-old, and getting the business going, I've had to borrow some time from my other passion of cycling. Still, I get out a couple of times a week to clear my head and dream up new recipes and our path forward.

 

It's never been my goal to be the biggest like Ballast Point or Stone, but it is my drive to be among the best and well-known brands in San Diego County. If growth becomes the by-product of doing what I love and doing it consistently so people can appreciate it, then I'm good with that. If I can eek out a living for my family, my employees, and me along the way, even better.

  

We are establishing a community at Rouleur, and to all the members of that community I extend my sincerest thanks. Let's get together, there's a spot waiting here just for you!

For more information on Rouleur including Tasting Room hours visit them at rouleurbrewing.com