By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Michael Waltrip is about having fun and enjoying life. The two-time Daytona 500 champion is serious about his beer, though.
He, Bryan Sperber (former Phoenix Raceway president) and J. Glynn Gross founded Phoenix-based Michael Waltrip Brewing Company after a conversation weighing beer versus wine.
“I said, ‘Why don’t we drink more beer? We just drink wine,’” Waltrip recalls. “I like beer, so we came up with the idea to make our own beer—to make better beer. If that’s not your goal, then you probably shouldn’t be making beer.
“I’m just so proud of our liquids. The beers are just fabulous, and I’m really thankful for all the collaborations going into making our Two-Time brand.”
The Michael Waltrip Brewing Company unofficially launched a portfolio of great tasting beers in late March. The beers will officially be available in several states starting in September under the brand name “Two-Time” lagers and ales.
“I have some friends who made fancy beers,” he says. “I’m not a hoppy, healthy guy. I like cold Bud Light and Miller Light. That’s why we got to where we are. I wanted to have it taste like a basic beer but make it better.
The new Two-Time beer brand initially features a lineup of a “Blonde” ale; “Checkered Past,” a coconut India Pale Ale; and “Vamanos,” a Mexican-style lager, with new year-round and seasonal selections being added. Each of the beers has a special story behind it and some clever and subtle references to racing.
“The Mexican-style lager is just a great drinking beer,” Waltrip says. “I’m happy with the feedback and how much people are enjoying it. I can’t wait to walk in a bar in Phoenix and see the Two-Time handle there, with our beers being served to the world.”
The company will be based in Phoenix. Waltrip says crews are building out a North Valley brewpub, which is slated to open later this year. (Look for an announcement soon.) The company has introduced beers in other states.
“Phoenix is probably where I want to live when I get old,” he says with a laugh. “I see myself out there a lot, playing some golf, hopefully drinking Two-Time with all my friends. Again, I’m just a normal, beer-drinking guy. I know people like to drink when they golf. I want to give you a beer that you really like to drink when you golf.”
Michael Waltrip Brewing Company, michaelwaltripbrewing.com.