Interview: Ryan Galiotto (Fueled by Hops)

Interview: Ryan Galiotto (Fueled by Hops)

Fueled by Hops LLC – Ryan Galiotto’s Company

Setting up the Interview

With the upcoming “One Sweet Afternoon 90’s Throwback Party” brewfest, I decided to reach out to Ryan Galiotto, owner and head of Fueled by Hops, and ask him some questions about a whole host of things. He was gracious enough to answer our questions and talk to us, so please, enjoy the following interview.

The Interview

After the first question, I will abbreviate ‘The Beer Thrillers’ to TBT and will abbreviate Ryan Galiotto to RG (as per standards with written interviews).

The Beer Thrillers: Who “is” Ryan Galiotto? Where did you grow up? Education? Interests? Hobbies? Etc.
Ryan Galiotto: I consider myself to be just an average guy who likes beer. I grew up in Easton, PA, just down the street from Weyerbacher Brewing, before moving to Pittsburgh (so I’ve covered both ends of PA). After I finished college, I moved to Chicago which is where I fell in love with beer. Since 2007, most of my hobbies revolve around craft beer. Well, that and spending time with my wife and daughter.

TBT: How did you get into beer? First remembrances of beer? Favorite initial drinks/beer?
RG: I was in Chicago and lived very close to a Goose Island location. I made my way throw their beer list before moving on to Fat Tire, Dogfish Head and all the popular craft breweries of that era. Once I discovered Garret Oliver and Brooklyn Brewing, I was absolutely hooked. I couldn’t believe that Brooklyn Brown Ale could taste as well as it does (and I still think that).

TBT: Progression into craft beer – what was your first craft beer? First breweries you went to?
RG: I can’t recall the first, but it was probably Yuengling. My early memories though revolve around Goose Island and Dogfish Head, which were also my first breweries.

TBT: How did you become interested in beer more than just a drinking habit? (ie. the site/writing/etc)
RG: I ran a craft beer bar back in 2008-2009ish. We handled about 125 brands of craft beer back then which is a TON of beer for that era. The idea for Fueled By Hops was actually born back then, however, I shelved it. I wanted to learn everything about beer at that point before I started any kind of business. Fast forward to 2017-2018ish and craft breweries were popping up around me, I knew it was time to act on my idea.

TBT: How did Fueled by Hops begin? (When did it begin, who all was involved, what all did you do, etc.)
RG: It all started on March 9, 2019 when I was drinking a Hitchhiker Brewing BA Woke. The idea was already created long before, but I didn’t know how to execute it. After noticing a lot of beer groups on Facebook (most of which were very toxic), I decided to start my own and get rid of that toxicity. We started with 8 members, and three of them were my brother, my brother-in-law, and my wife along with some other friends I met at breweries.

TBT: Where did you envision Fueled by Hops going or becoming when you first started it?
RG: I always just wanted a beer blog and cool community that hosted meetups and stuff. I never really evisioned it getting much bigger than that. However, after I incorporated, I started seeing different avenues where we could grow and started pushing the brand in those directions.

TBT: How has Fueled by Hops grown since it first started? Who all has helped out? What all has changed? What was it like Day 1 til today?
RG: We’ve grown our Facebook group from 8 members to 5,300 today. We probably could have many more members, however, we’re trying to make sure the group doesn’t get too large and lose it’s “good vibes only” nature. So it’s a slow grind up. Since Day 1, we’ve added on a merch store, multiple podcasts, a blog (which is now defunct) and have hosted a bunch of cool events and festivals. Most of this is all handled by myself and my business partner, Nick Adams.

TBT: Where do you foresee Fueled by Hops going/doing in the future? What all would you like to do with it? Bucket list goals for it?
RG: It’s weird to say but I think I see us growing in to a “beer-focused” media company. Some would argue that we’re there now, however I still want the “community” to be the front-facing part of the brand. I want to eventually release more podcasts and social content for the beer nerd. It may not all be about beer, but it’s certainly going to be relevant to people just like me. As long as the brand serves my beer friends well, I really don’t care how large it grows. I think that attitude helps the brand maintain it’s vibe as it scales up.

TBT: Talk us through the Best Brunch Ever brewfest. How did it come about, who all was involved, how did you brainstorm it, how successful was it?
RG: Best Brunch Ever was thought up actually AT Drink The Cookie Table. Nick and I were just walking around and said “hey, we should do this with brunch foods”… and then we just ran with it. He and I work well together and we really complement each other’s creative sides. So, Best Brunch was in my opinion, one of the most creative beer fests in a segment of the beer industry that’s becoming dry. It was also incredibly successful, selling out one session in just a day.

TBT: Was there any other brewfests before it? Or any other big events you had done before Brunch?
RG: There was one festival before it: Drink The Cookie Table, our ode to the Pittsburgh cookie table concept where all the beers were focused in the “dessert” direction. We called it “The sweeeetest event of the year”. It was our first festival and also our first sellout event. For being our first festival, I think we nailed this one. It’ll always be special to me. In fact, it’s actually being written about in a book releasing later this fall.

TBT: Moving onto the new brewfest – One Sweet Afternoon, how did it come about? What all ideas did you have behind it? Why Erie? etc.
RG: We wanted to move away from the “food” concept and do something our followers would love.  So we had the idea to do a throwback event and being as most of us were kids in the 90s, it was a natural fit.  All the beers at this event will themed around being a kid in that decade:  cosmic brownies, Ninja Turtles, East Coast Rap, Nesquick, and sooo much more.

We deemed this one a “party” rather than a festival because it seems like our events have more of a Party vibe to them.  When we plan fests, we don’t just plan them for beer nerds.  Our motto is:  you don’t need to be a beer nerd to enjoy our events, but if you’re a beer nerd, you’ll enjoy our events!

We chose Erie because that’s the second largest following of our brand.  It wasn’t fair for Pittsburgh to get all the love so we wanted to a big festival for the Erie market (which we love).  It’s also smack in between Pittsburgh, Buffalo and Cleveland, three great beer markets.  It just made sense.  As a result, we were able to assemble an amazing list of breweries from those regions.

TBT: How do you see One Sweet Afternoon doing? How is attendance looking currently? Are tickets still available?
RG: With this event being in a new market, we expected attendance to be lower than our Pittsburgh festivals. With that said, tickets are moving nicely and this will be a nice crowd.

TBT: Any future brewfests planned?
RG: After OSA, we’re going straight into planning Drink The Cookie Table 2! More details will follow on this one.

TBT: Any future events planned?
RG: We always have events on the horizon. Follow us on Instagram @fueledbyhops_ for those details!

TBT: What do you foresee coming down the pipelines in the remainder of 2022, and looking forward – in 2023, 2024, and even 2025?
RG: That’s hard to say, but I do want to focus more on charitable giving. Right now, we run a scholarship program for the Point Park University Brewing Science Academy. This program helps a member of an under-served / marginalized community learn how to brew beer professionally. I’d like to host some events that will allow us to expand this program.

TBT: What are your favorite breweries? Favorite beers? Favorite styles?
RG: My favorite brewery of all time is The Answer. I’ll drink anything from there. Other than that, my favorite beer of all time is Brooklyn Brown Ale.

TBT: Trends – where do you see the future of craft beer going? What trends do you see on the horizon?
RG: I think the term “craft beer” is dying.  Let me explain…  I’m not saying the industry is dying, but rather that it’s maturing in to just “beer”.  Two years ago, we all chased ‘hype’ beer but now we ‘expect’ good beer when we go to a brewery.  In my opinion, COVID really shifted distribution of beer and now good beer is readily available at our local distributors and breweries.  As a result, the ‘hype’ has died down.

I think the focus is going to shift more on the experience the brewery can deliver rather than the beers it makes.  Look at breweries like Trace Brewing bringing in DJs and drag shows, or The Answer who’s hosting hip-hop nights during the week, or Hop Farm that hosts comedy shows.  Breweries are going to need to work a little harder to get consumers in their tap rooms.

But I’d really like to see more ‘niche’ breweries, rather than those that try to make every style of beer.  I think Golden Age Beer coming out and focusing on just lager was a very progressive move.  I know if I want a great lager, I’m going to Golden Age, just like if I want great pizza, I go to Fiori’s in Pittsburgh.  Focus on what you do best and own it.

TBT: Where do you see the future of online medium for craft beer – podcasts, Youtube videos, blogs, websites, etc?
RG: I think social media and online mediums are going to always be pivotal to this industry.  I just wish the major networks were more friendly to the beer industry.  We’re seeing Instagram and Facebook take down posts and actual whole accounts of breweries, and it’s just not fair.  I think industry leaders need to lobby these social networks to allow our breweries to operate online without fear of ‘getting in trouble’.

Otherwise, tag me in your favorite beer podcasts because I listen to a TON of them.

TBT: Finally – Any plugs? Merchandise? Ticket links, etc?
RG: Head over to to grab tickets to our next festival. They are still available! And all of our latest merch is at As an exclusive for Beer Thrillers, we’re dropping TWO surprises tees this week!

TBT: Any final comments?
RG: We’re two guys running a business and throwing events that cost us more than the cars we drive (no joke!). Your support allows us to continue to innovate and evolve the beer industry. Every ticket sale, t-shirt sale, glassware sale etc, just helps us continue our mission. Remember to SUPPORT SMALL!

Thank You Ryan

I’d like to take the time here to say thank you Ryan Galiotto for so graciously answering our questions and taking time out of his busy schedule for us here. Be sure to check out the brewfest “One Sweet Afternoon – a 90’s Throwback Party” on September 17th, in Erie Pennsylvania. For more information, check out our article here: One Sweet Afternoon – a 90’s Throwback Party Brewfest.

Fueled by Hops

For more information on Fueled by Hops, you can check out their social media pages at the following:

Fueled by Hops Related Articles

The following is some Fueled by Hops related articles here on The Beer Thrillers:

Other Pittsburgh Related Articles

For those interested in Fueled by Hops and native to the Pittsburgh area, here are some other Pittsburgh related articles:


The following is some of the interviews we’ve done through the blog:

Thanks For Reading

As always, thank you everyone for checking out the blog and reading. And a special thanks to Ryan Galiotto of Fueled by Hops for doing the interview with us. Be sure to check out some of our recent articles about our trips to Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Canton, and other spots in Pennsylvania and Ohio; as well as our book reviews, beer reviews, and lots of other news articles. There are a ton of great articles (over 550+) to check out here on the blog, so be sure to search around and look through the different category heads – you’ll find them on the right. Thank you so much everyone for reading! Hopefully you’ll get to check out the “One Sweet Afternoon – 90s Throwback Party” on September 17th in Erie. Sounds like it’ll be an absolute blast!


-B. Kline

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