One aspect of craft that has only become more vibrant as the industry expands is the sheer diversity of approaches to the business. There are at least as many ways of structuring and operating a brewery as there are styles of beer.
Each owner has his or her own vision and ambition, which slowly express themselves over time through the multitude of decisions large and small that are made daily. Sometimes the vision evolves to encompass new ideas and opportunities as they arise, and other times it remains unwavering and serves as the benchmark by which all decisions are measured.
While each business is unique, there are common junctures, stress points, and decisions that many breweries encounter during various ages and stages of the business, many of them related to growth and expansion. That’s one reason why, with this issue of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine®’s Brewing Industry Guide, we’ve chosen to take a deep dive into how several exemplary craft breweries have navigated these choices in their own businesses.
Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project (Denver, Colorado), for example, was founded with the intent of relentless exploration and unrelenting quality. While its mission remains the same, over time the interpenetration of that mission has expanded to include a variety of beer styles beyond barrel-aged wild and sour ales as well as a craft distribution arm that has helped to both diversify and solidify the business.
Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers (Framingham, Massachusetts) has exploited the largely untapped market for craft lagers to become one the nation’s fastest-growing breweries and a leader in its region. That kind of growth, while enviable, presents its own unique challenges and temptations. You’ll learn how Jack’s Abby has repeatedly leaned on its core values to chart a sustainable course forward.
Likewise, Neshaminy Creek Brewing Co. (Croydon, Pennsylvania) has also encountered logistical challenges as it has grown—some anticipated and others unknown. By remaining nimble and creative in their approach, its owners have continually found new opportunities and ways to evolve the brand within those shifting parameters.
Great Notion Brewing Co. (Portland, Oregon) was founded on the straightforward idea to be the first to introduce a hot beer style to a crowded local market while also making and self-distributing a variety of great, inventive beers. While there have been some unexpected twists along the way, the brewery continues to thrive as it seeks to take the same model and scale it up.
We hope that you enjoy this special issue of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine® and find some ideas, inspiration, and insight among its pages.
Tom Wilmes Special Issue Editor Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine® Brewing Industry Guide Fall 2017
Want more business-focused best-practice advice and instructive examples? Check out the Brewing Industry Guide, an independent resource that examines the challenges and opportunities facing the brewing industry today.
PHOTO: LESLIE MONTGOMERY