Flix Profile: Meet Justin Rizza, Head Brewer

As you may have already heard, Flix Brewhouse is the new home of Other Worlds Austin SciFi Film Festival. Our next special screening is PRISONER X on Thursday June 23 at 9pm (see the trailer and buy tickets here).

We hope you are just as excited as we are, but in case you don’t realize why this is such a match made in the stars, we are digging into the Flix world, starting with this profile of Justin Rizza, Head Brewer.

Other Worlds Austin: Tell us about your background, and how you became involved in Flix Brewhouse?

I started my adventure in the brewing industry back in 1999 at Breckenridge Brewery in Denver, CO. Between then and now I have brewed in Seattle, Tucson, Tuscany (Italy) and Austin. I had heard the late, great Walt Powell was looking for someone for this Cinema Dining, Brewhouse concept and it seemed like a really fun opportunity. I met with Walt and we really hit it off, sealing the deal.


What's it like working in the non-traditional setting at Flix? What makes it special and unique?

It has benefits such as being able to reach a really broad audience. It is not uncommon for us to serve over 7,000 guests on a busy weekend. It's challenges include partial dependency on the products that Hollywood are putting out. We have a fan base that comes in just to have beer but the great majority of folks that come through our doors are there to see a movie as goal #1. So our beers sales often follow the ebb and flow of the popularity of movie offerings.


Are you a SciFi fan? What are your favorite SciFi flicks?

It's funny but for someone that works at a movie theater I watch surprisingly few movies. Most of what I watch is at home as opposed to on the big screen.

I am very open to every single genre and I definitely enjoy SciFi. I don't get too deep into it but the usual suspects. I Have always loved STAR WARS and it is a lot of fun to go through all of the movies/books with my own kids now. My four year old son and six year old daughter are SW fanatics!! Back in the day I remember liking things like THEY LIVE, ENEMY MINE, and BRAZIL. When I was young I loved Horror movies. I always picked up Fangoria magazine etc.  

What do you do when you aren't brewing beer?

I cook... a lot. I come from a culinary background and really enjoy cooking (and eating) so I am busy making sure my family is well fed. I also play drums in a band called At Risk Youth. It's a great project I have with some other 40-something year old dads in the area that love to rock out. Let's call it... Dad Pun

Any hints of what we could look forward to now, or during our festival in December? (Special beers, etc.)?

We are in the process of installing our new 7 BBL brewhouse and some new tanks... literally as I type this. This will allow some room to play and I want to start a very small program of 100% Brett fermented beers that would be a lot of fun to work into special events... you'll have to wait and see :)