Working Outside the Hive: Former Engineers Run Utah-based Winery and Distillery
When Jay and Lori Yahne graduated from Utah State University, they expected to spend the rest of their lives as geotechnical engineers. Making wine and spirits was a hobby of theirs until a simple joke in passing turned it into a reality.
The Yahnes own Utah’s first Brandy Distillery and the smallest commercial still in the state, appropriately called The Hive Winery and Spirits Company. They specialize in premium "non-grape" fruit wines, honey wines, hard apple ciders, brandies and specialty spirits.
The Yahne’s own Utah’s first Brandy Distillery and the smallest commercial still in the state, appropriately called The Hive Winery and Spirits Company.
The company was founded in 2010, after the downsizing of their engineering firm during the 2008 recession. Prior to the creation of the Hive Winery, Jay and Lori owned Y-Squared Geotechnical P.C. and were the principal geotechnical engineers. Jay ran the drilling rig while Lori managed the soils laboratory. As the years passed and Y-Squared Geotechnical P.C. became a two-person firm, Jay and Lori decided to turn their hobby into their passion.
“We’ve always loved to create,” Lori said. “Our products are always expanding through new ideas and new flavors. Jay and I never get tired of it.”
In 2016, the company shut down, and the couple were able to pursue alcohol manufacturing full time.
“Lori and I loved being geotechnical engineers,” Jay said. “The problem solving you got to do was wonderful. We loved field work and getting dirty. Our problem-solving abilities as engineers helped us to learn and adapt to the issues we face in our current line of work today.”
The company was founded in 2010, after the downsizing of their engineering firm during the 2008 recession.
The Hive Winery has a selection of over 100 different products of wines, ciders, brandies and whiskies. The two are always coming up with new products inspired by their experiences and the people they meet daily.
“We met so many amazing people as geotechnical engineers, but since we started producing alcohol, that number has increased tenfold,” Lori said. “There are so many neat people with so many amazing stories.”
The biggest message Jay and Lori want to share with inspiring minds looking to go into engineering is to understand that becoming an engineer isn’t the only option. Engineers can pursue a variety of jobs, including entrepreneurship.
“If you love what you do, you never work a day in your life,” Jay said. “We love what we did as geotechnical engineers and we love what we do now. I work hard, but I love what I do. Days fly by and I still get time with my family, and I get time to appreciate life.”
More about the Hive Winery can be found at their website, thehivewinery.com.