After many years of brewing beer in his garage, Greg “Gonzo” Haner decided to turn his creative hobby into a serious business endeavour. Greg began brewing micro-brewed beer in 1992 after a friend showed him the fundamentals of how to brew. For the next four years, he brewed 10-20 beers a year, at 12 gallons per batch while employed at The Upjohn Company, now Pfizer. Greg enjoyed brewing so much that in 1996 he attended the Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago. At Siebel, he received degrees in Brewpub Operations and Micro Brewing. Based on his experience and the high quality of beers he produced, he was hired as the Brew Master of Olde Peninsula Brewpub & Restaurant, which was the first brewpub in downtown Kalamazoo. During his time at Olde Peninsula, he produced and maintained a solid line of both core beers and seasonal brews of which most continue to this day as recipe mainstays.
In 1999, he designed a pumpkin spice beer and spiced porter with the help of Kalsec, a company leader that produces natural colors, flavor extracts, antioxidants, hop extracts and nutritional ingredients for the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries. Based on his extensive beer knowledge and abilities, he was offered employment in 2003 to run Kalsec’s research brewery. While at Kalsec, Greg was able to attend Siebels Biotech Center, located in Canada and received a degree in Microbiology in Beer.
With a new 2-story, 1600 sq. ft,. one-barrel brew house and adjoining cooler with 10 beer taps he built at his home in 2005 he was able to remain active in the brewing industry by “tapping” into the contract brewing business. This connection allowed Greg to assist people that needed help starting a brewery or brewpub, establish beer recipes and assist in the right equipment needed for producing beer as well as proper sanitation standards.
With his continued enjoyment of producing batches of beer in his home brew house, his experience has allowed him to gain additional experience in many areas from making homemade wine, distilling whiskey, to making single malt scotch. Greg “Gonzo” Haner has a unique talent and love for brewing great beer and wants to share his passion and creativity with others. Thus, Gonzo’s BiggDogg Brewing was established and opened its doors in the fall on 2013.