BREWING UP DISRUPTION
Level 350 Brewing Company™ Pronounced (three-five-zero) not Three Fifty comes from a flight level commonly used in commercial aviation. Once you fly above 18,000 feet the term feet transitions to Level so 35,000 feet is now Level 350. When we were coming up with our name our attorney did all the trademark searches for each name we choose and many times he said this name won’t be approved so we kept looking. Level 350 Brewing was one of the names chosen on the list of many and cleared by the attorney’s office, so we let it simmer for a while. That same evening we did our trademark searches I flew a trip and the first flight level given was FL 350 and that was it. I took a picture of the current altitude and sent it to David and said this is our name Level 350 Brewing Company™ When we set out on this journey Quality and Authenticity were immediately decided as the first two of our core values. Quality has become such a generic word in the brewing industry and in business in general. Everyone says our product is quality our beer is quality our food is quality. So, when we set up our values, we said what does Quality really mean to us because at Level 350 Brewing Company™ “We Don’t Just Brew Beer We Brew Bier”. ™
Quality Without Compromise™
Quality is a word that represents our People, Process, Product, Equipment, Consistency, Brand Design, Grain Selection year after year from top German companies, Hops are hand selected from old world farms in German Hallertau region, Brewery Design and Layout, Brewery Theme, Food, Entertainment and the Overall Experience the moment you pull up to our brewery. So as you see the word Quality is not generic to us, but defined and we can keep going with words here, but we won’t and will only tell you with pure authenticity that we will deliver a consistent bier that gets better each and every time you drink one.
Authenticity is OUR STORY and told in the bier we make. Ladies and Gentlemen this is your Captain speaking.
Level 350 Brewing Co was started by two veteran airline pilots with over 60 combined years between them Brian Nastovski Founder and CEO and David Fiore Co-Founder and Dir. of International Operations. When they first met in 1996 Brian was one of the youngest EVER Boeing 747 Captain’s in the world at 30 years of age and David was one of the youngest new hire First Officers at the age of 27 with Evergreen International Airlines. They tackled the world together on many trips and flying yes rubber dog shit out of Hong Kong and got to experience first-hand what the world had to offer in bier. Evergreen International Airlines is where Brian and David first got to know each other flying all over the world trusting one another to do the job they were trained for each and every time without fault and it was through long flights and layover experiences that they forged a long bonding friendship for the past 22 years. While at Evergreen around mid 90’s Brian was able to work in other capacities training him for today’s role as Founder and CEO of Level 350 Brewing Company™. Brian worked in the Evergreen Security division tackling theft issues and personal issues against the owner Delford M. Smith. Brian at the age of 27 also negotiated and won a multiyear multi-million dollar contract providing aircraft services to Korean Airlines out of Anchorage Alaska that led to other foreign airline contracts. Working in the high pressure field of aviation is like an operational pipeline of fire all the time that has you moving and making decisions quickly regarding the operation based on what you currently see and hear from your surroundings and the TEAM then you quickly make a decision that will totally impact the outcome and failure is NOT an option. As airline pilots you become very pragmatic in your approach to life and your own success dealing with the issue at hand other than what should or even could be. When issues arise in the aircraft or a training scenario in the simulator, we use what is called a QRH (Quick Reference Handbook) combined with SOP and team work to bring a successful outcome 100% of the time to the current problem. When we are landing in 1/2, 1/4 mile or even zero visibility with our auto-land system enabled or the HUD (Heads up Display) we use what is called an ILS approach (Instrument Landing System) that uses a ground-based antenna for the guidance to the runway. With a full load of passengers onboard and armed with great training, years of experience (60) combined between Brian and David, trust in the equipment and complete concentration we continuously achieve 100% successful outcomes ALL the time as failure is NOT an option. This concentration and ILS type laser focused guidance is what we have to bring this amazing world class bier company to LIFE.
After years apart in aviation, but not friendship they were once again brought together. Now working today at the same major airline and for over the past 15 plus years Brian and David have achieved what’s considered the highest roles you can achieve as line pilots called Check Airman. Both Brian and David’s drive and determination has led them to serve as Lead check airman managing the core group of check airman (pilot instructors) which are the guys and gals qualifying new hire pilots and new Captains on the actual aircraft during revenue flights. Both Brian and David have taken on ENORMOUS responsibilities in their career as check airman and airline Captains for most of their life. This daily role as Captain and Check Airman has groomed them for what they have embarked on creating a world class Bier company today. Both have had navigated difficulties in their life sure, but in a manner most do not seem to survive well in as each time they may have had a personal failure NON aircraft related they would just navigate around it evaluate, grow and move on treating each experience more of a circumstance rather a failure. We are all going to fall at some point so it’s how you get up that matters.
When Brian and David began the search for their foundation in the style of beer, they kept landing on German Bavarian style. German was a beer they both knew well since spending a lot of time their aviation career in the country. So with Quality and Authenticity as their first two core values Germany it was and operating in the Reinheitsgebot German Purity Law was ONLY a natural choice for them embracing “Quality Without Compromise”™. Germany just kept offering us what we were after all along REAL Bier. With Authenticity we will brew Biers of Germany, Belgium, England and Scotland and for other world biers we will travel to and then in Bier and photos tell you the story and let you live that experience through us into you.
So It Starts
Once we decided on our foundation for the style of bier, we were going to brew we began writing a business plan doing a SWOT analysis ( Strength, Weakness, Opportunity,Threats.) and reading, reading, reading. First, we became a licensed Virginia distributor under the name 39 North Distribution to allow our self to distribute our bier pressing the flesh telling our story until the right Virginia distributor network works with us. Once our doors open, we can no longer run the distribution company and the brewery by the same people and at which time we will most likely end the distribution company of course based on what it has done in sales up to that point. We are starting out by contract brewing because we felt it was a way to keep huge capital expenses down as we are looking to build a 60 barrel fully automated system using Germanys finest equipment and that my friends is around 2.5 Million dollars and oh that KHS fully automated canning line YUP 1 million. So, you see just in this alone we felt we were to contract brew to keep initial cost down and to earn and learn our industry both here in the US and parts of the world. We feel our brand will do great Internationally based on our ENORMOUS background flying all over the world and David spending many moths a year in Italy as well using the right contractor breweries that I have already visited overseas. I will save our International plans for when we meet and talk with you one on one as its complex yet a crucial part of who we are and our story. I set out here at home to find a contract brewery that we fit in with and also didn’t want 1-200 barrel minimum. Oh, and while I visited with 5 breweries, I was building our brands look and feel. I thought we found the one that was pretty close to us until our consulting German brew master and I visited with them after my initial visits alone. Did I mention I was also designing our amazing custom tap-handle for our Windsock IPA while this was going on? So we spent about 2 hours at this first brewery and decided after the meeting it wasn’t to be and we had the plan to start brewing beer that next month and this was March 2018 and now at this writing of our story its Jan 2019 as I add to our story. So, going back to that exercise of looking for the right brewing partner I started to tell you about. Quality Without Compromise® is what Level 350 Brewing Company stands for and delays were taken because we were NOT going to compromise on quality just because we wanted to brew beer. I continued the search and thought we had our place a second time. Then the long-standing brew master quite to start his own venture and good on him. Because of his departure communications all but fell apart and when we finally were able to speak with the new incoming well he was their head brewer so not that incoming anyways he took over he said sorry never got the pass down and we have NO room for you now. Boom STRIKE 2 and Shietz I SAID LOUDLYYYYYY!!!!! The calendar kept turning its monthly pages and so I kept the search on heading up to the Great Lakes area and found an amazing contact brewery for us in our canning needs. Ok so now we were making progress, but still haven’t found my main brewer yet. As summer of 2019 set in BOOM we found the partner. Part of my quest was for a brewery using exact German brewing equipment as we were going to buy because one I knew the quality that could turn out and ONLY breweries in business for long time had them and their experience level was such that exceeded what I was after. Once we have our brewery built and running, we simply are able to take those exact recipes and duplicate without cause to keep our consistent quality brewing. So now that we landed who we were going to use to get our Windsock IPA flying it was time to schedule a brew date. That date was set and August 16th 2019 was Windsock IPA’s Birthday. As we look back almost 2 years of 4 1/2 in our creation of Level 350 Brewing Co and 39 North Distribution the quest to find a brewing partner was one we stayed TRUE to on utilizing our values to guide us. One of those values is Quality and that guiding value kept us from making the wrong choice early on and developed what we call “Quality Without Compromise”™ today. We didn’t just set out to make crappy beer I callWeasel Piss by just going through the motions, but we made Bier Real Authentic Bier on August 16,2019. We are looking to be a FULL commercial production brewer by beginning of second quarter 2020 utilizing our contract brewery located in Chicago for kegs and our canning needs and really looking forward to this stage and sharing this entire story with those wanting to hear it. Pause with me a moment while I take a breath here —— All of this was going on while maintaining our flying job shuttling folks back and forth across the country. So fast forwarding a bit we are done with all that’s required to begin brewing and start the process of developing recipes and looking for an Interim Brew master with credentials we are looking for. Now that we have found our brew master who comes with a PhD in brewing and trained in Germany also living there for several years and other parts of Europe and still reside there. He learned and trained in all other beers we will produce as I mentioned above. Now we finally get to begin developing authentic German recipes we will distribute with initially earning our place on the shelf and quality restaurants and hotel bars. Once we open our doors to the brewery, we will have developed many recipes including our German lineup, Belgium, English and Scottish to name a few all in the name of Authenticity. I thank each and every one of you for taking the time to read our story and look forward to sharing with you more of our story and what our future destination brewery will look and feel like as we meet you at future gatherings that will be posted on our event calendar located on our website.
We are kindly asking that distributors inquiring information regarding our bier to please email us at
We are extremely excited to begin conversations with future distributors and share with you our plan of support for our bier and how we can benefit you and your portfolio of the mass amount of sku’s you may currently hold. We understand the industry more than most newcomers and honestly do not feel that new to the brewing business.
Now we invite you to Sit back relax have a pint or two and enjoy what life has brought us together for not just Beer, but Bier.
See you at the Stammtisch table Prost!
Brian and David