Jakob Holz has a gleam in his eye as he talks about his fellow co-workers.

Real characters, they are — many with beer bellies and/or long beards.

Holz himself has neither, but he still fits right in. And there’s no job he’d rather have.

Holz — a former Riponite who, as a boy, dug up his own backyard in hopes of making a root beer cellar — now oversees a 26-acre beer-brewing operation in Memphis, Tenn.

Brewing is both his livelihood and his passion.

“That’s right: I’ve got one of the best jobs in the world,” he boasts with a grin.

All this, even after dropping out of college to pursue brewing at age 21.

Coming from a family that enjoyed beer, Holz developed an early interest in it. He often would tour breweries while on family trips and compare root beers with his brother.

One time in the summer, around age 9, Holz got the idea to dig an underground tunnel in his back yard along Metomen Street and brew his own root beer. He spent all day digging and got perhaps 5 feet down.

“My mom came home, and she didn’t think that was a very good idea,” he said. “I still brewed root beer at home with my dad a couple times [in the kitchen]. But I never officially got the tunnel built.”

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Thank you for taking part in our commenting section. We want this platform to be a safe and inclusive community where you can freely share ideas and opinions. Comments that are racist, hateful, sexist or attack others won’t be allowed. Just keep it clean. Do these things or you could be banned:

• Don’t name-call and attack other commenters. If you’d be in hot water for saying it in public, then don’t say it here.

• Don’t spam us.

• Don’t attack our journalists.

Let’s make this a platform that is educational, enjoyable and insightful.

Email questions to darkin@orourkemediagroup.com.