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Case Study: Urban Artifact Doubles Down on Fruit

From a 19th-century former church in Cincinnati, Urban Artifact is building a national reputation driven by heavily fruited, tart (and shelf-stable) beers and direct-to-consumer sales.

Kate Bernot Apr 15, 2022 - 11 min read

Case Study: Urban Artifact Doubles Down on Fruit Primary Image

The brewery pasteurizes fruit purée in-house rather than purchasing aseptic purée, which gives them more control over the flavor of the fruit and varieties of fruit they can use.

Cincinnati’s Urban Artifact learned the art of the pivot years before the rest of the world was forced to do it. Not long after opening in 2015, the brewery’s leadership learned that the long-fermented, barrel- aged, mixed-culture beers on which they had based their business just weren’t selling the way they’d hoped. In fact, those beers were hardly connecting with drinkers at all.

“People didn’t like Brett beers,” says Bret Kollmann Baker, cofounder and COO of Urban Artifact. “They didn’t like Brett-flavored things. We spent a long time perfecting using Brett in our brewery, and now we don’t do any of it.”

Instead, the brewery doubled down on what drinkers were excited about: fruit. Today, Urban Artifact is one of the country’s best-known producers of heavily fruited, kettle-soured beers—and better yet, they’re the kind that don’t explode on shelves because the fruit ferments out fully. Honing this specialty has propelled the brewery to more than quadrupling its production between 2016 and 2020, finishing last year at 10,200 barrels. Distributed around Ohio, the beer also ships directly to fruit-beer enthusiasts in 10 states, building the brewery’s national reputation.

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