Interview with Eric Dreyer from First Magnitude

First Magnitude is a craft brewing company based in Gainesville, FL. They are supporting SmellTaste2017 and are going to be bringing a selection of beers to the social evening on the Friday evening of the event. Brewer Eric Dreyer is going to be on hand to talk to guests about the different sensory elements within beer such as basic taste and mouthfeel. We caught up with Eric to find out more.

Why are smell and taste so important to your company?
Smell and taste are critical to consumers’ perspectives of our brand and product offerings. Our customer base runs the gamut of casual beer drinker to beer connoisseur (or lovingly termed beer snob), but the common thread is that they are willing to pay a premium for craft beer because of the unique flavors and aromas our products exhibit, as opposed to beer sold primarily due to marketing or as an alcohol delivery vehicle.

Why did First Magnitude feel it was important to participate in SmellTaste2017?
Outreach is a key element of our business plan, and reaching demographics who have not yet had the opportunity to try craft beer or avoid it due to preconceived notions is a major goal and sometimes a potential growth path. Many of us who founded or work at First Magnitude have ties to the University of Florida, so we are always excited for opportunities to collaborate.

You've got a background in sensory testing. Given that our event is aimed at people with smell and taste impairments, what can you tell us about the ways that our other senses contribute to the experience of eating and drinking?
The adage “we eat with our eyes” is often true, as visual perception can play a significant role in satisfaction and enjoyment of food and beverage. Due to the myriad styles we produce, we offer beers ranging in color from the ubiquitous pale gold, to amber, brown and black, even pink, red, and purple when certain fruits are added to the fermentation. Color does not necessarily correlate with strength of flavor, alcohol, or aroma profile, but can provide subtle cues. The selection of malts in different recipes greatly influences the mouthfeel of a beer, which when combined with varying levels of carbonation, can result in beverages ranging from light bodied, effervescent, and crisp to full bodied, viscous, and silky or creamy, with respect to trigeminal senses. Additionally, the temperature of the beer plays a role in sensory perception, as carbonation retention changes with temperature, and different volatiles escape beer as it warms.

SmellTaste2017 represents an opportunity for people affected by smell and taste disorders to come together with clinicians, scientists and, of course, each other. What are you most looking forward to at SmellTaste2017?
Craft beer is most often associated with unusual, intense, and unique flavors and aromas, but the more subtle aspects including varying color, rheology, carbonation, and foam texture often go unnoticed. I am looking forward to sharing some information about these characteristics through the sampling and enjoyment of First Magnitude beer, which hopefully provides a great social setting. Learning what those with smell and taste impairments enjoy when drinking beer will very interesting to me, and I hope people enjoy the event.

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