Thor Cheston loves craft beer so much, he was made a knight in Belgium, the global brewing capital. He's also a clean energy geek. When he founded Right Proper Brewing in Washington, DC, he invested in rooftop solar panels and energy efficiency.
Cheston recently spoke about his passion for brewing—and his love of renewable energy—with Nexus Media News. The DCSEU supported his renewable energy installations and helped him make his Brewpub more energy efficiency.
What got you into brewing, and why DC?
For a very long time, I really didn't know what I wanted to do. I graduated from Georgetown University in 2001 with a history degree, and I kind of puttered around for a little bit. Then, I went back to do a pre-med program thinking I wanted to apply to medical school—that's when I really started to fall in love with craft beer.
The Belgians treat their beer the way the French do their wine. That really intrigued me. I drank one, and from that point on I was hooked. So I just kind of drank everything and read everything and even started traveling specifically to go to breweries.
I met Robert Wiedmaier in April 2007, a chef here in DC, and he was opening a big Belgian craft-beer inspired restaurant. I had a ton of success with him, but in September of 2011, my wife and I decided that it was time to take the leap. I quit my job and focused entirely on my own brewery.
It took me two years to write the business plan and raise the money for our first brew pub. Later, when we raised the money for our current production brewery, it took me 18 hours—the brew pub really allowed us to get a foothold to build up the brand, and to build up excitement.