On this week's episode of What's Eric Eating, 8th Wonder Brewery president and co-founder Ryan Soroka joins CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss the latest goings-on with his growing business. The conversation begins with 8th Wonder's newest beers, including the hip-hop series that features collaborations with local rappers, as well as an update on the brewery's compansion distillery, which will launch later this summer with vodka and gin.
After discussing the explosive growth of Houston's patio bars, Sandler asks Soroka to opine on what other trends he's seeing around the city. Somewhat surprisingly, he touts the growth of craft beer in Houston's suburbs.
"I think traditionally they've been a little neglected, not necessarily on purpose, but a lot of the development hot spots and the places that get all the media attention tend to be inside the Loop or inside the Beltway," Soroka says. "There are fast growing communities, young communities that want lifestyle and entertainment options as well. They don't want to come into town to commute for these options; they want them in their backyard. Katy, hotspot. The Woodlands, hot. Sugar Land, still growing. Pearland, one of the fastest growing areas in the country. These quote-unquote suburbs of Houston are new areas of growth for the food and beverage industry. We hope to expand our presence and awareness in those new markets." (What's Eric Eating is partially sponsored by 8th Wonder Brewery.)
Prior to Soroka joining the show, local food enthusiast Matt Harris joins Sandler to discuss the news of the week. Their topics include Walk-On's Bistreaux & Bar's plans to expand to Houston, the closure of Brooklyn Athletic Club, and whether the opening of Might as Well Lounge and Boozenasium means Spring Branch is about to become Houston's next hot restaurant neighborhood. In the restaurant of the week segment, Sandler and Harris, who recently returned from a trip to Japan, have an extensive discussion about their visit to Nobu; they also share some thoughts on newly-opened East Hampton Sandwich Co.