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MicroBrewr 041: A flagship nanobrewery in a tourist town, with Backshore Brewing Co.

MicroBrewr 041: A flagship nanobrewery in a tourist town

Danny Robinson had the choice of building a giant brewery in the middle of nowhere, or a tiny brewery right on the beach and boardwalk. He chose the later and made Backshore Brewing Co. in Ocean City, Maryland.

“The plan from the beginning was to have this nanobrewery up on the boardwalk, be the flagship of the brand.”

It seems to be working. In a town whose population fluctuates from 3,000 in the winter to 300,000 in the summer, Backshore has a 1-BBL brewhouse and has beer made under contract to meet demand.

I first heard about Backshore Brewing from Alexis Irvin, who spoke with us on MicroBrewr Podcast 040. Check out episode 40 to hear about Blood, Sweat, and Beer documentary and to get a coupon code for 20% off the price when your order a digital download of the movie.

Some of Danny’s advice to others:

  • Get really deep with the math.
  • Get a mentor and find more mentors.
  • Play to your strengths.
  • Be honest with yourself, but keep trusting yourself.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of packaging and marketing.

Brewery specs:

Kettle size: 1 BBL.

Size and quantity of fermentation tanks: 4, 2-BBL fermenters.

Size and quantity of bright tanks: 2, 2-BBL bright tanks, sometimes used as fermenters.

Annual brewing capacity/last year’s production: Brewed 200 BBL last year, contracted 400 BBL for distribution.

Square footage: 600 sq. ft., with 500 sq. ft deck.

Years in operation: 2.5 years (opened May 2012).

“A business is very different from a hobby.” [Tweet This]

 

Listener question:

From Federico Nussbaum: How can we find out how many beers to have on tap in the start? How can we find out which styles to serve in our local area?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

Your Free Audio Book

An upcoming beer style:

Ciders

Other resources:

You can reach Danny Robinson and Backshore Brewing Co. at:

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

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MicroBrewr 040: Keep persevering to get to the end, with Blood, Sweat, and Beer movie.

MicroBrewr 040: Keep persevering to get to the end

Alexis Irvin and her partner Chip Hiden travelled across the country trying to find out what it takes to make a living doing what you love. They interviewed a bunch people in lots of different fields who all had their dream job. And they put it together into a movie and book called, The Dream Share Project.

Then they followed their own dreams, quit their jobs, and started working for themselves. For their next project, Alexis and Chip travelled across the country interviewing people with a dream job in one field—craft beer! They made a beer movie!

Blood, Sweat, and Beer is a feature-length documentary coming out in 2015 that follows 2 startup breweries, one in Braddock, Pennsylvania and another in Ocean City, Maryland.

For making Blood, Sweat, and Beer movie, they interviewed over 100 people for the film. Everyone from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., New Belgium Brewing, Brooklyn Brewery, and small local breweries.

The most important things Alexis learned about starting a brewery:

  • Handle all of the legal paperwork thoroughly
  • Start with a team
  • Consider how your brewery can benefit a specific location

SPECIAL BONUS:

20% OFF digital download pre-order of Blood, Sweat, and Beer documentary.

Alexis and Chip gave us a coupon code exclusive to the MicroBrewr audience.

Go to the Blood, Sweat, and Beer website. Click “Redeem Code.”

Enter this code for 20% off: MICROBREWR

That’s a digital download of the film for only $3.99!

Be sure to connect with Blood, Sweat, and Beer documentary and thank Alexis for being on the show and for the discount.

“ Just keep going. You have to persevere to get to the end.” [Tweet This]

 

Listener question:

From Ray Pierce: Is it profitable?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

Your Free Audio Book

An upcoming beer style:

Sour beers

Other resources:

You can reach Alexis Irvin and Blood, Sweat, and Beer documentary at:

You might also like:

MicroBrewr 050: Have passion and be persistent with Craft Conscious in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

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MicroBrewr 039: Apprenticing in a brewery incubator program, with Ferndock Brewing Company.

MicroBrewr 039: Apprenticing in a brewery incubator program

Kyle Roth is just about to finish the brewing apprenticeship through Platform Beer Co.’s incubator program. Soon he, his brother and cousins, partners in Ferndock Brewing Company in Sandusky, Ohio, will venture out on their own.

We heard from Paul Benner, who told us about Platform Beer Co.’s incubator program, in MicroBrewr Podcast episode 026. Kyle is the first person to go through the brewing apprenticeship program and he’s so glad that he did.

The apprenticeship gave Kyle a jumpstart in everything he needs to know to open a brewery.

His advice to a homebrewer who wants to start a commercial brewery:

  • Start earlier
  • Make connections
  • Find a mentor
  • Talk to brewers

“Best idea so far has been joining Platform Beer Co. and taking this opportunity to go pro.” [Tweet This]

 

Listener question:

From Jimmy Batte: How do you get your percent cost mark up? Is there a typical 30% you apply to everything? What is the general guideline?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

Your Free Audio Book

An upcoming beer style:

Gose

Other resources:

You can reach Kyle Roth and Ferndock Brewing Company at:

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

Subscribe on iTunes             Listen to Stitcher

MicroBrewr 038: Learn the classics and stay true to your genre, with Gordon Biersch Brewing Company.

MicroBrewr 038: Learn the classics and stay true to your genre

Dan Gordon enjoyed beer from the young age of 15 years. In high school, he lived next door to 2 brewers when he studied in Austria. Then in post-grad, he studied Brewing Engineering and Beverage Technology in Germany. Back home in Palo Alto, he partnered with restaurateur, Dean Biersch, to open a brewpub in Palo Alto, California, which later became Gordon Biersch Brewing Company in San Jose, California.

Gordon Biersch went on to open brewpubs throughout the U.S. and abroad. They had to divest, but remain connected. Meanwhile Gordon Biersch Brewing Company was the 49th largest craft brewery in the nation based on 2013 numbers. Their beers won 4 medals in the 2014 Great American Beer Festival.

Dan and Gordon Biersch were part of the famed craft beer class of 1988. He has a wealth of insight. Here are some of his suggestions:

  • Get industrial experience from a legitimate brewer
  • Invest in quality equipment
  • Stay true to your genre
  • Start bottling sooner rather than later
  • Hold your breath and wait a little bit

“[Homebrewing] is a foundation and building block for making beer popular these days.” [Tweet This]

 

Listener question:

From Trina Christensen: What is the most rewarding thing about brewing? Are you tired of cleaning yet?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

Your Free Audio Book

An upcoming beer style:

Pilsner

Other resources:

You can reach Brian Kelly and Elevation 66 Brewing Company at:

You might also like:

MicroBrewr 035: Staying creative and innovative with partner brewing, with 21st Amendment Brewery in San Francisco, California.

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

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MicroBrewr 037: A forty-year career at the epicenter of craft beer, with Anchor Brewing.

MicroBrewr 037: A forty-year career at the epicenter of craft beer

Mark Carpenter wasn’t happy with his job. One day, he took a tour of Anchor Brewing, San Francisco, California, and thought it would be a fun place to work. Over 40 years later, he’s still the brewer.

Shaun O’Sullivan, Founder and Brewer of 21st Amendment Brewery says Anchor Brewing is “the epicenter of craft beer for all of us in this industry.”

Anchor Brewing has been operating in San Francisco under the same name since 1896. The company struggled severely in the mid-1900s. Fritz Maytag loved to drink Anchor Steam Beer on tap, and he bought the company in 1965.

Fritz had to learn to brew, and he invested heavily in brewing equipment and modernizing the processes. It is no wonder he is often called “the father of modern microbreweries.”

And Mark Carpenter, has been there almost the whole time. It was an honor to be able to speak with Mark on-site at the same brewery location where he’s been making beer since 1979.

When Mark started working at Anchor in 1971, they were producing “the only beer in America that really wasn’t just a yellow beer.”

When Anchor Porter was released in 1973, not one porter was being made in England. Most dark beers, were simply the light beer with coloring added.

Liberty Ale, with its Cascade hops, came out in 1975, a time when not many—if any—other breweries were using the Cascade hops as an aroma hop.

In 2013, Anchor was ranked the 21st largest craft brewery in the nation.

Anchor gallery

Anchor Brewing, San Francisco, California on October 28, 2014. Nathan Pierce and Mark Carpenter, Brewmaster from Anchor Brewing (left), at Anchor Brewing, San Francisco, California, October 28, 2014. Bobby, leading a tour at Anchor Brewing, San Francisco, California, October 28, 2014. Anchor Steam Beer fermenting at Anchor Brewing, San Francisco, California, October 28, 2014. Anchor Steam Beer on tap at Anchor Brewing, San Francisco, California, October 28, 2014.

Of the early years at Anchor, Mark says, it was an “unbelievable place to learn to make beer. It was just a lot of fun.”

Mark is very humble. When I asked him the best idea he ever had for the brewery, he replied, “Boy, I don’t know. You’d have to ask somebody else.”

He says the biggest mistake he ever made is knowing that he had to let an employee go, but not doing it soon enough.

“Breweries are kind of magical places.” [Tweet This]

 

Listener question:

From Michael Rohleder: Has the market reached the saturation point, is there still room for another craft brewer?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

Your Free Audio Book

An upcoming beer style:

German Styles

Other resources:

You can reach Mark Carpenter and Anchor Brewing at:

You might also like:

MicroBrewr 010: How Ninkasi Went From a 15-BBL System to the 30th Largest Craft Brewery in the Nation w/ Ninkasi Brewing, from Eugene, Oregon.

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

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MicroBrewr 033: Wastewater treatment solutions for a craft brewery, with Brewery Wastewater Design.

MicroBrewr 033: Wastewater treatment solutions for a craft brewery

Wastewater treatment is a key issue for a craft brewery. John Mercer from Brewery Wastewater Design in Montrose, Colorado has more than a decade of experience. He shares wastewater treatment solutions for a craft brewery.

For every gallon of beer produced, a typical brewery uses 7 gallons of water. If your municipal wastewater treatment plant can’t handle it, you could be facing high fees for wastewater treatment.

Brewery wastewater can fall into one of several categories:

  • Floor drains in the brewery, which contain alcohol, sugars, and other contaminants.
  • Kitchen drains, which includes grease.
  • Restrooms, which typically go the sewage treatment plant.
  • Side stream, which is a way to divert extremely concentrated wastewater such as spent yeast, waste beer, fermenter blow-off, and trub.

If your brewery is in an area that has municipal sewage service, you might not have to do anything. If you’re in the county with no sewage service, you’ll likely have to build your own brewery wastewater treatment infrastructure.

Solutions will vary depending on your brewery wastewater characteristics, or who designs your system.

Diverting the very concentrated sources through a “side stream,” could reduce the contaminants in your wastewater by 90%. Which could mean reduced fees for treatment.

Key questions to ask:

  • Is the wastewater facility at capacity?
  • How much would the fees cost?
  • Does your consultant have experience designing systems for breweries or other food manufacturers?

SPECIAL BONUS:

Ask John any question about wastewater treatment for your brewery.

Leave your questions in the comments section below.

John will keep watching the comments for the next 30 days to answer as many of your questions as he can.

Be sure to connect with Brewery Wastewater Design and thank John for being on the show and for helping us out with questions.

UPDATE: Thirty days is up, John is no longer monitoring the questions here. You can still reach him through the links below. Thanks for your great questions everyone!

Tweetable:

“I came back to brewery work because the people are the greatest and the industry is the greatest.” [Tweet This]

 

Listener question:

From Megan Tolbert: How low environmental impact is your business?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

Your Free Audio Book

An upcoming beer style:

Sour beer

Other resources:

You can reach John Mercer and Brewery Wastewater Design at:

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

Subscribe on iTunes             Listen to Stitcher

MicroBrewr 029: Selling more beer through your local craft beer store, with 99 Bottles beer store.

MicroBrewr 029: Selling more beer through your local craft beer store

Tiffany Adamowski and her husband have been operating 99 Bottles beer store in Federal Way, Washington for the past 7 years. She tells us how to work with a craft beer store like hers to sell more beer.

99 Bottles has over 1,200 labels of craft beer in stock from over 40 different countries. They also have ciders, meads, and a gigantic selection of beer kegs. They do growler refills and they offer tasting flights every day.

99 Bottles has won a bunch of local awards like “best beer selection,” “best beer store,” and “don’t miss” bottle shop.

This a long episode, but stay tuned through the whole thing because Tiffany gives tons of super detailed advice on how to sell more of your beer at retail outlets like her beer shop.

Some of her tips:

  • Email before you visit a store, don’t stop in unannounced.
  • Use customer relations management (CRM) software to keep track of your contacts and to pass the information on to the next sales person.
  • Drop off samples with a business card, and a flier about your brewery.
  • Provide basic information about each beer including: ABV, IBU, description, format, shelf life, storage temperature.
  • When you go to brewer’s night at the shop, be sure to mingle with the customers.
  • Be careful about thin beer bottles, especially for bottle-conditioned beer, you don’t want your product exploding on the store shelf.
  • Bring extra labels when you visit a store, sometimes bottles arrive unlabeled.

SPECIAL BONUS:

Ask Tiffany any question about working with retailers to sell more of your beer.

Leave your questions in the comments section below.

Tiffany will keep watching the comments for the next 30 days to answer as many of your questions as she can.

Be sure to connect with 99 Bottles beer store and thank Tiffany for being on the show and for helping us out with questions.

UPDATE: Thirty days is up, Tiffany is no longer monitoring the questions here. You can still reach her through the links below.

Listener question:

From Jon Tiffany: What is an upcoming brewery that we should our eye on?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

Your Free Audio Book

An upcoming beer style:

Scottish ale

Other resources:

You can reach Tiffany Adamowski and 99 Bottles beer store at:

Tiffany’s blog:

If you like the show, please subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher. When you subscribe, it’ll let you know when there’s a new episode, you won’t miss a thing!

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

Subscribe on iTunes             Listen to Stitcher

MicroBrewr 028: Repaving the way for women in craft beer, with Scarlet lane Brewing Company.

MicroBrewr 028: Repaving the way for women in craft beer

Eilise Lane drank a beer in Bend, Oregon that changed her life. After she found out that a woman made the beer, she opened Scarlet Lane Brewing Company in McCordsville, Indiana.

Scarlet Lane Brewing Company’s website:

It was at one time illegal for males to brew beer. We intend to respect that history with our beer designs, our marketing our branding, and our operations. Scarlet Lane is excited to be (re)paving the way for females in the industry…

And they certainly are repaving the way for women in craft beer. Scarlet Lane is the first woman-owned package brewery in Indiana. The investors are mostly women, and the president is also a woman. The 15-BBL system and 30-BBL fermenters at Scarlet Lane are a long way from the turkey fryer that Eilise used to cook wort in her backyard.

Eilise refers to her beers by proper name and she calls her stout her baby. She has lots of great advice such as:

  • Describe your beers in a way that will resonate with customers
  • Talk with a customer about her taste preferences to find a beer that she will like
  • Start talking early with hops growers and wholesalers to make sure you have access to the hops you want

Listener question:

From Orlando: How did you move from home brewing to a lager scale?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

Your Free Audio Book

An upcoming beer style:

Brown ale

Other resources:

You can reach Eilise Lane and Scarlet Lane Brewing Company at:

If you like the show, please subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher. When you subscribe, it’ll let you know when there’s a new episode, you won’t miss a thing!

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

Subscribe on iTunes             Listen to Stitcher

MicroBrewr 027: Family, church, and craft beer in a small valley town, with Dust Bowl Brewing Co.

MicroBrewr 027: Family, church, and craft beer in a small valley town

Brett Tate wanted to tell his family’s story. So he did it with craft beer and Dust Bowl Brewing Company in his hometown, Turlock, California.

Brett’s family left the Dust Bowl in Oklahoma and made a new life in California. Dust Bowl Brewing’s entire brand is a tribute to that story.

Turlock is a small valley town where Ripley’s Believe It or Not once counted the most churches per capita in the US. Now Dust Bowl Brewing is helping to revitalize the community with their brewery and their restaurant, and soon an expanded brewery.

Brett has a lot of great advice about:

  • Working with distributors
  • Managing a “team” of employees
  • Hiring a star brewer who can do more than make great beer

I got to meet part of the Dust Bowl Brewing Company team at Smoke on the River in Sacramento, California. Here’s a photo of sales manager, Scott Chaffee and me.

Nathan Pierce and Scott Chaffee, Sales Manager from Dust Bowl Brewing Company (left), at Smoke on the River, Sacramento, California, September 6, 2014.

Nathan Pierce and Scott Chaffee, Sales Manager from Dust Bowl Brewing Company (left), at Smoke on the River, Sacramento, California, September 6, 2014.

Listener question:

From Peggy Pierce: Is your water purified?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

Your Free Audio Book

An upcoming beer style:

Mega IPA

Other resources:

You can reach Brett Tate and Dust Bowl Brewing Company at:

If you like the show, please subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher. When you subscribe, it’ll let you know when there’s a new episode, you won’t miss a thing!

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

Subscribe on iTunes             Listen to Stitcher

MicroBrewr 025: A religious experience at the homebrew club, with Studio Brew.

MicroBrewr 025: A religious experience at the homebrew club

In 2009 Erich Allen had a “religious experience” the first time he went to a homebrew club. He started brewing all-grain batches and made 7 beers in one week. Soon he had a dream to open a brewery. Then it became his passion, and then his obsession. So he and his wife visited 48 breweries around the nation to get advice before they converted a photography studio at their home into a 3-BBL nano brewery: Studio Brew in Kingsport, Tennessee.

Erich tells great stories. He takes us on the long journey through the many permitting agencies. At first it didn’t seem possible to have a brewery at his home. But by working with the staff at the permitting agencies, they found a way and did it all working with the system.

Erich is an eloquent speaker. There are many gems in this episode including:

“I respect the beer styles that were set forth centuries ago, but try to make something that people will say, ‘That was the best beer ever.’”

“That’s what it’s all about: Make craft beer to share with those who love beer.”

Listener question:

From Mel Troha: Is a nanobrewpub always easier to start and sustain than a production nanobrewery?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

Your Free Audio Book

An upcoming beer style:

Session IPA

Other resources:

You can reach Erich Allen and Studio Brew at:

If you like the show, please subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher. When you subscribe, it’ll let you know when there’s a new episode, you won’t miss a thing!

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

Subscribe on iTunes             Listen to Stitcher

MicroBrewr 024: Real ale in the mountain bike capital of the Northwest, with Brewers Union Local 180.

MicroBrewr 024: Real ale in the mountain bike capital of the Northwest

Ted Sobel quit his high-paying job as a software engineer and took a couple years off to walk around the United Kingdom. When he was done walking, he opened Brewers Union Local 180 in Oakridge, Oregon.

Although they get calls about unionized labor, it’s just a clever name. Brewers Union focuses first on providing a traditional English “public house.” It’s a “third place,” a place other than home and work. It’s the local.

They make English-style cask conditioned ales, and they have guest beers on tap to support the locals and the many passersby who come to Oakridge for mountain biking and other outdoor recreation.

Ted says that the biggest mistake he made was working too hard. This month marks their 6th year in business and Ted looks forward to finally taking a vacation. He recommends starting with more money and hiring staff.

In this episode, Ted advises to:

  • Follow your vision, even when others tell you to do otherwise
  • Take time to drink the beer you make

Listener question:

From Hayden Little: What is your least favorite beer that you produce? Why do you keep producing it?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

Your Free Audio Book

An upcoming beer style:

Session beer

Other resources:

You can reach Ted Sobel and Brewers Union Local 180 at:

If you like the show, please subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher. When you subscribe, it’ll let you know when there’s a new episode, you won’t miss a thing!

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

Subscribe on iTunes             Listen to Stitcher

MicroBrewr 023: Keep striving to be better, with Pecan Street Brewing.

MicroBrewr 023: Keep striving to be better

Patty Elliott met her husband at Armadillo Music Hall. Years later, even while running their export business, they saw an old hardware building in their town and decided it should have a brewpub in it. So they started Pecan Street Brewing in Johnson City, Texas.

While they spent 3 years renovating the building, their son, Sean, practiced brewing.

They strive to make Pecan Street Brewing a “third place.” A third place is a place other than work or home, where people can spend a large amount of time and feel just as comfortable as at the other places.

Patty has a hard time defining success. “We want to be perfect and we know we wont be there,” she says, “but we want to keep striving to be better. So I don’t know if we could say if we’ve ever succeeded because we just keep wanting to get better.”

Patty shares some fun stories about the names of their beers. She also has lots of great advice including:

  • Be sure you have enough funds
  • Be ready to stick with it

Listener question:

From Christopher Kirby: What’s the best beer you have ever had?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

Your Free Audio Book

An upcoming beer style:

India Pale Ale

Other resources:

You can reach Patty Elliott and Pecan Street Brewing at:

If you like the show, please subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher. When you subscribe, it’ll let you know when there’s a new episode, you won’t miss a thing!

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

Subscribe on iTunes             Listen to Stitcher

MicroBrewr 022: Expanding to... India! with Arbor Brewing Company.

MicroBrewr 022: Expanding to… India!

Matt Greff fell in love with beer while at university in Germany. He and his wife, Rene Greff, opened Arbor Brewing Company Brewpub in Ann Arbor Michigan in 1995. Since then, they opened a microbrewery in nearby Ypsilanti, Michigan and, just a year and-a-half ago, opened a brewpub in Bangalore, India!

They operate under the principle of “capitalism with a conscience.” Rather than being focused solely on profits, they aim for their business to be good for the community and good for their employees. “The best decision we every made,” says Matt, “was giving our management team a lot of autonomy.”

Do you want to open a brewery? This is Matt’s advice for you to start doing tomorrow:

  1. Develop a vision
  2. Do your homework
  3. Get experience

Matt also talks about:

  • How his love affair with beer started
  • How to use geothermal cooling to reduce energy costs
  • How being named “best brewpub in the Midwest” affected their sales

Support Arbor Brewing Company’s crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo

ABC Microbrewery Needs a Kitchen

(Deadline: September 4, 2014, 11:59 p.m.)

UPDATE: They met the goal of their fundraising campaign. Woohoo!

Listener question:

From Tanner Munro: Have you thought about pairing beer to food, as a compliment beverage to food?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

Your Free Audio Book

An upcoming beer style:

Session IPA

Other resources:

You can reach Matt Greff and Arbor Brewing Company at:

If you like the show, please subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher. When you subscribe, it’ll let you know when there’s a new episode, you won’t miss a thing!

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

Subscribe on iTunes             Listen to Stitcher

MicroBrewr 020: Beer for every man, woman, and child in Big Sky Country, with Philipsburg Brewing Company.

MicroBrewr 020: Beer for every man, woman, and child in Big Sky Country

Cathy Smith and her husband opened Philipsburg Brewing Company in Philipsburg, Montana. They found a cool, old building, built in 1888, spent a few years fixing it up, and hired Mike Elliott to be their pro-brewer.

In August 2012, Philipsburg Brewing opened to a crowd of about 100 people—and that’s in a town with a population of about 850!

None of them had ever owned a brewery before, but they’re business is doing fantastic. They say that their biggest mistake was not being ambitious enough. They currently are operating a 10-BBL system, and are planning to expand to larger facility with a 50-BBL system within a year!

Cathy tells us why they walk customers to the door. Mike tells us about his invention for the bar.

They are both great speakers and this interview has tons of fantastic advice, such as:

  • Hire great people
  • Put customers first
  • Give quality in every area
  • Reach out to other breweries

“The brewery business is an amazing business,” says Cathy. “We’re not all competition, we’re all in it together.”

“People will let you pick their brains to a surprising extent,” adds Mike.

You won’t guess their answer to the question, Cans or bottles? They have some great thoughts on the dilemma.

Listener question:

From Adeen McKuin: What’s your favorite beer?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

Your Free Audio Book

An upcoming beer style:

California Common

Light beer

Other resources:

You can reach Cathy Smith, Mike Elliott, and Philipsburg Brewing Company at:

If you like the show, please subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher. When you subscribe, it’ll let you know when there’s a new episode, you won’t miss a thing!

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

Subscribe on iTunes             Listen to Stitcher

MicroBrewr 019: Marketing a flagship beer with Roswell aliens, with Sierra Blanca Brewing Company.

MicroBrewr 019: Marketing a flagship beer with Roswell aliens

In this episode, I talk with Rich Weber from Sierra Blanca Brewing Company and Rio Grande Brewing Company in Moriarty, New Mexico. Rich started Sierra Blanca in 1996, added the Alien brand in 1997, and bought Rio Grande Brewing Co. in 2006.

Rich had been homebrewing since 1987 and was already working 100 hours a week at his own restaurant, when he started Sierra Blanca. He hired master brewers to mentor him for the first 2 years and has been growing steadily ever since.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of aliens crash landing near Roswell, New Mexico, they released Alien Amber Ale in 1997. Today, Alien Amber Ale accounts for 40% of sales among their 9 beers.

Rich talks about his company and provides some key insight to the 1947 Roswell UFO incident.

He offers some great advice about:

  • Working 100 hours a week
  • Marketing and distribution
  • Branding ideas
  • Gaining knowledge from visiting other breweries

Listener question:

From Marc Stafford: Why do you do what you do?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

Your Free Audio Book

An upcoming beer style:

Session beer

Other resources:

You can reach Rich Weber and Sierra Blanca Brewing Company at:

If you like the show, please subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher. When you subscribe, it’ll let you know when there’s a new episode, you won’t miss a thing!

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

Subscribe on iTunes             Listen to Stitcher