Brewing success, both on the field and off
Greg Miles PHOTOGRAPH
Most Saints fans know him as number 64, Offensive Tackle. Zach Strief has been an integral part of the New Orleans Saints team since he joined in 2006. Taking on his 12th season this fall, he has been a starter for every game he has played since 2011, has served as offensive team captain four times, and is currently ranked 17th on the team’s all-time games played list. He consistently uses his strength and experience to mentor rookies and support his fellow team members.
What fans may not know about are the leadership roles Strief commands when he’s off the field, where beer, barbecue and business are major players in the off season.
The Ohio native and Northwestern graduate annually channels his love of cooking into the “Hogs for a Cause” barbecue competition, which raises money for pediatric cancer research. He also lends his voice and energy to volunteer and leadership efforts throughout the city.
Additionally, Strief has combined his love of food and drink with boosting the burgeoning beer brewery business in the city with his recent investment in Port Orleans Brewery - a business that transformed a neglected warehouse into a thriving craft beer and restaurant destination. Port Orleans, 4125 Tchoupitoulas Street, only opened in May, but in three short months has caught the attention of craft beer lovers and foodies alike with in-house restaurant Stokehold.
We definitely think Strief is on to something. What’s a better combination than New Orleans Saints football, beer and food?
at a glance
Age: 33 Born/Raised: Cincinnati, Ohio Education: Bachelor’s degree in communications studies from Northwestern University Favorite Book: The Endurance Favorite Movie: The Goonies Favorite TV Show: Chef’s Table Favorite Food: King Crab Legs Favorite Restaurant: The Stokehold
Q: In your words, describe your role in your words as a team member of the Saints? First, I’m the starting tackle. That is job number one. After that I think I play a leadership role having been in New Orleans as long as I have.
Q: What is your favorite thing about your job? I love being in the locker room every day. From my very first season of football my freshman year of high school, it’s been the comraderie that has always appealed the most to me.
Q: What do you do to prepare for a new season every year? First thing I try to do is take an inventory of any new issues or limitations that my body has. Then I make a plan to address those issues. Finally it’s just time to start running and getting in shape. Then our Strength Coach Dan Dalrymple takes over and gets me into ideal condition for playing in the NFL.
Q: What are your passions off the field? I love cooking, and I love golf. I could do either of them every day and be completely happy.
Q: As a New Orleans resident since 2006, what appeals to you most about the city? When I moved here, I was told New Orleans was one of the toughest places in the world to move to and one of the toughest to move from. I couldn’t agree more. My favorite thing about this city hands down is the people. There is no better place in the world to sit down and talk to a stranger.
Q: What got you interested in craft beer brewing? I was home in Cincinnati a few years ago at a place called the Taft Ale House. The moment I walked in I thought to myself that New Orleans needed more places like this. Then fast forward three years, and two of our partners, Ricky Thomas and Tommy Discon, approached me with the idea of opening a brewery. I was in. I knew there was room in the market for more breweries and I wanted to be a part of building something in New Orleans.
Q: Is there a career goal, either on or off the field, that you aspire to achieve? As a Saint I want to see some of the young guys that are with us now to be here in a decade. I want to feel like I was a part of the continuing development of guys like the guys before me were with me. Off the field, I want to grow Port Orleans into the biggest and best brewery in New Orleans. That’s not going to be an easy road because there are already a bunch of them here and they’re all doing great stuff.
When we were kids my dad had to sell a 68’ Corvette that he had rebuilt to support his family. It has always been a goal to be able to build him a 68’ Corvette to replace the one he sacrificed over 30 years ago… He’s taking delivery this year.