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Contract Brewing: Evolving to Support Today’s Brewers

With the growth in contract-specific facilities and excess capacity at regional breweries, the industry continues to evolve to support today’s brewers.

Haydn Strauss Aug 21, 2018 - 12 min read

Contract Brewing: Evolving  to Support  Today’s  Brewers Primary Image

Photo courtesy of BrewHub

Augie Carton, the founder of Carton Brewing Company (Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey), thinks of contract brewing in culinary terms. “I approach everything from a culinary perspective, the way chefs do. It’s cooking when we are making beer. The great chefs can walk into any kitchen and make a great dish when they know the limitations. I have nothing to hide about working in someone else’s kitchen.”

Why Contract Brew?

Sleeping Giant Brewing Company is a large contract-brewing facility in Denver, Colorado. According to President Matthew Osterman, the majority of their successful contracting customers turned to contract brewing when they found themselves out of capacity, wanting to package, wanting a dedicated contract-only brand, or wanting to operate a taproom only.

Out Of Capacity

The most common case in which breweries have found success in contracting involves growing capacity and/or brands. For instance, Carton Brewing contract brews what they call “fridge beers” at Two Roads Brewing Company (Stratford, Connecticut) in 300-barrel batches. They have chosen six specific beers with more shelf stability that are designed to be brewed at that scale with the purpose of being the consumer’s everyday beer. This strategy frees up their 15-barrel brewhouse to produce some of the more specialty and high-end styles.

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