Brewery owners sell for different reasons. They want to retire or need cash from their brand equity. More and more, the ESOP is emerging as both a viable alternative to a corporate or equity buy-out and a way to reward a loyal workforce if a sale is made.
The vast majority of craft brewers make forgiving, warm-fermenting ales. But new lager-focused breweries are taking a two-tracked approach to changing that, making fresh versions of the German classics and pushing American lagers into new territory with pumpkins, coffee, rye malt and candi sugar.
As the founding brewmaster of Full Sail Brewing, and the founder and longtime head of Wyeast Laboratories, David Logsdon carries a huge footprint in the craft industry, especially in the Pacific Northwest. But he made a conscious effort to keep his latest venture, Logsdon Farmhouse Ales, at a modest scale.
Tasting panels are trained by smelling the chemical aroma standards responsible for each flavor—as beer geeks know, banana flavor is isoamyl acetate and butter is diacetyl—in decreasing dilutions. They taste the isolated chemicals added to polyethylene glycol until small amounts can be detected.
Goodwill among brewers doesn’t stop at the occasional tank or piece of advice. It’s an industry-wide culture that can be found at every stage—from conception of a brewery or beer to execution, to, yes, even consumption.