Even success in the IT field couldn't stop Vishal Chunilal, an avid home brewer with a passion for the craft of beermaking, from chasing his dream of opening a brewery. Along with partners Vishal Chawhan and Prajesh Mohan, he opened Oviedo Brewing Co. in the Oviedo Mall earlier this year.
An Indian-owned and operated brewery is unique for the city, if not the entire Southeast. Has that posed a challenge to you in any way or presented any barriers? Truthfully, I never saw my background as having any bearing when it came to chasing my dreams. I feel that when you are really passionate about something, you have a focus and drive that is unstoppable. It was as though the energy that I felt was translated to those that I had come in contact with ... this project is really a collaboration as we shared the same passion and universal language of beer and the art of crafting a robust-tasting beverage from scratch.
What effect has your immigrant experience had on the brewery's evolution? If anything, being an immigrant and seeing how hard my parents had to work to put food on our table and a roof over our head instilled in me the iron resolve to never give up and persevere in the face of challenges. There were many obstacles in planning and executing when we started with the idea. It took me four years to find the location and financing to make this happen. I almost gave up.
As brewers, what are you doing to reduce waste, emissions and energy consumption? At present, we have stayed away from using petroleum-based, single-use disposable items and instead opted to use food-service packaging products made from renewable or sustainable resources. Although we would like to set up contact with a company that can help us send our compostable products into the correct waste stream, we are taking one step at a time to move in the right direction.
What's your go-to beer when work is done? Oh wow. If I had to choose, it would be the first beer we created, called Oviedo-Zen. For me, it does as the title suggests – puts me in a Zen-like state of being. It's a Hefeweizen-style beer and it's one of our most popular for how smooth it is and how clean the finish is. (oviedobrewingco.com) ▲