JIM WITHEE FOUNDER, CEO, CHIEF SCIENTIST, HEAD JANITOR
The most mysterious and beautiful part of brewing is fermentation. Think about it: a live microorganism transforms the sugars and protein from malt into a complex flavorful fizzy beverage. You’d think by now someone would have figured out how to make synthetic beer. But they haven’t. We still depend on live brewers yeast for that transformation today just like humans have for thousands of years. It’s one of the most complex and beautiful transformations in nature and the alchemy of fermentation has fascinated the best scientific minds for hundreds of years. I founded GigaYeast, Inc. to be a part of the craft beer and home brew movement using the skills and love for yeast and fermentation I cultivated over 20 + years of science and beer. As a young graduate student I received a PhD for studies on yeast genetics. After graduate school I worked at the Saccharomyces Genome Database– that’s where the then newly sequenced DNA of brewers yeast was first completed. All the while I was watching the craft beer movement grow and gaining a deeper and deeper appreciation for truly fine brew. After years of work as a Government Scientist I finally quit my high paying job and built the GigaYeast Laboratory. I put everything I know (and own!) into this laboratory and the end result is a process that creates perfect yeast. Now get out there and brew– we’re getting thirsty making all this beautiful yeast.
EMILIO GONZALES PACKAGING TECHNICIAN
My interest in good beer was truly peaked while attending the University of Oregon in Eugene, responsibly sampling my way through the plethora of breweries and beer bars dotting the PNW landscape. Numerous high-quality watering holes in a relatively small radius created the perfect storm for a fermenting passion. Upon graduation, I spent time in the sports media industry before working my way into a beer buyer position at a fine alcohol purveyor in San Francisco. There I further honed my mental and physical palate. Immediately prior to joining GigaYeast I plied my trade first in packaging and then in the cellars of Fort Point Beer Co. in SF; engaging in all types of cold-side wort sorcery.
AMAR BASI PROPAGATION ENGINEER
I was born and raised in the heart of Silicon Valley. After graduating high school, I decided that a working-class hero was something to be and this mindset led me to bounce around at odd jobs in Southern California while learning to surf. A desire to learn more about and experience my ethnic identity lead me to complete a National Outdoor Leadership School semester abroad in India. This experience humbled me and uncovered a desire to return to school. I graduated from UCLA with a B.S. in Anthropology and was drawn to the disciplines consideration of culture’s impact on our species’ biology and vice versa. After graduating from UCLA, I worked for a C.R.O. where I discovered my penchant and comfort for benchwork. This experience ultimately led me to my position here at GigaYeast where I hope to expand my skillset under the guidance of the fabulous staff here.