Will Hamill

ALP_1466Will Hamill, 50, is president of Uinta Brewing Company, which under his stewardship has become the 46th largest craft brewer in the country.

The 22-year old company has always had the outdoors in mind. Uinta Brewing consistently works to reduce its carbon footprint, using solar and wind power. And it has a history of supporting environmental efforts, including the Utah Rivers Council, among others.

Nearly all its labels feature outdoor recreation or scenic vistas of Utah.

Originally from Maine, Hamill moved to Utah in his twenties for the skiing and mountain biking. We met in his Salt Lake City office.

Read about cornhole and Uinta Brewing’s 21st birthday party here.

Read more about UtahOutsider Interviews here.

PrintUO: Do you believe the outdoors is good for your health?

WH: I moved to Utah for that reason, for outdoor recreation. That’s what’s so phenomenal about the Wasatch front and the Wasatch back: the ability to work in a place and have a decent job and then go skiing. Yesterday, I went skiing for four hours and worked for eight hours. I was home at 8, later than I wanted to be. But I had four hours of great powder skiing in the morning.

I’m so grateful for that. It elevates my spirit amazingly.

Uinta-Detour-Double-IPAUO: Could you get the same satisfaction at a gym? Is it a matter of getting physical or getting outside?

WH: I can’t do the gym. I’ve tried the gym. It doesn’t really work for me. And I think there are enough ways to exercise in Utah without being in a gym. That led a lot to why I wanted to live here. So, yeah, I think it’s a combination of both. I love to exercise, however I like to do something that’s meaningful to me, being on my bike, walking with my dog, or being on my skis.

UO: Do you think you’re a part of the outdoors or a user of it?

WH: I don’t really understand the question. Being part of the outdoors?

maxresdefaultUO: For instance, if you’re in the back country, do you feel integrated into the place? Or do you feel that you’re a trespasser?

WH: Depends on the day. Some days I do feel part of my environment. If I go mountain biking by myself. I’ll stop and sit in the woods and I feel much more connected than if I’m whipping through it with three other people. I’ve been in both experiences. I think it also depends on where I am internally, that day, if I’m open to that. Or, if I don’t have much time, if my schedule that day is condensed, I might be a bit stressed out entering that environment, so I’m not open to my surroundings.

I think of it a bit as being a little kid. Kids are so perceptive. They can hear everything and smell everything. As I’ve gotten older, at times, especially with having a busy schedule, I can be less perceptive of my surroundings. Present. Being in the moment. I hope to be more in the moment in the future.

yardsaleUO: Does your faith or spirituality dovetail with your thoughts on the outdoors?

WH: No, I don’t consciously think it does. Maybe that’s something for me down the road, but it hasn’t been.

A lot of people say being outside is their religion. I wouldn’t say it’s my religion. It’s just where I want to be. Using the word ‘religion’ doesn’t work for me, I guess. For better or for worse.

UO: If I were to say, I have faith in the outdoors, it’s that I trust what happens in nature more than with humanity. You know what I mean? A tree falls before your eyes, a storm brews and you’re in it, or it’s a beautiful day and you get sunburned. I trust that dynamic more than the constructs people put on how I should think. I guess it’s a mindset.

WH: I mean, I trust that, too. I trust that I could set my tent up and there could be a windstorm and a deadfall could hit the tent and kill me. It’s real. I like that. I like the responsibility of it. Personal responsibility. If I choose to go hiking on a ridge top and there’s a lightning storm, that’s my idiotic choice.

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