Welcome to BeerAdvocate!

Looking to talk, rate or trade beer? Join today by creating your free account.

Dismiss Notice
Curious about recent updates to the site and app? Check the Announcements forum for updates.
Dismiss Notice
Love Belgian Beer?

Join us Sep 17 in Portland, Maine for Return of the Belgian Beer Fest, featuring hundreds of authentic Belgian beers and Belgian-inspired offerings.

Tickets + more: beeradvocate.com/belgian

Definitive list of gypsy brewers

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by OneDropSoup, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. OneDropSoup

    Subscriber

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2008
    Posts:
    1,375
    Likes Received:
    1,637
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Out of curiosity, does anyone know if this exists? If not, could one be compiled? The ones I can think of:
    Mikkeller
    Evil Twin
    Pretty Things
    Stillwater
    Omnipollo
    Local Option
    High & Mighty
    ToOl
    The Perfect Crime
    Any others? Are any of these not "real" gypsies, maybe just contract brewed regularly at a specific spot?
     
  2. ptrc

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2011
    Posts:
    70
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    I think pretty things is considered a tenant.
     
  3. tendermorsel

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2006
    Posts:
    650
    Likes Received:
    321
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    There are probably a TON more. For example I know De Proef in Belgium is basically brewery that anyone can use to brew and many smaller Belgian/European brewers brew commercial beers there. Hell, my local store Julio's had De Proef brew a beer for them a few years back. Some of these breweries are so small that they probably don't make it stateside. Some brewers started at De Proef and then once there product/was established and they had capital established there own breweries.

    I think that Armand actually does his non lambic beers (lager and porter) at De Proef. Does that make him a gypsy brewer? Personally I think the term Gypsy brewer is pretty stupid.
     
  4. tjensen3618

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    Posts:
    1,986
    Likes Received:
    3,109
    Location:
    California
    Where are you drawing the line between contract brewer and "real" gypsy brewer?

    to be considered a gypsy brewer do you have to be present for every hop addition? or is recipe creation and general oversight of the brewing process good enough?

    Personally, I think gypsy is mostly a clever term thought up to avoid being slapped with the contract brewed label.
     
    jesskidden, RyanBeer13 and Norica like this.
  5. OneDropSoup

    Subscriber

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2008
    Posts:
    1,375
    Likes Received:
    1,637
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I agree with folks that the "gypsy" label is kind of murky & maybe euphemistic.
     
    RyanBeer13 likes this.
  6. RyanBeer13

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2011
    Posts:
    94
    Likes Received:
    40
    Location:
    Virginia
    To be a "gypsy" Im guessing you must brew your beers @ various breweries. A contract beer is normally made by one select brewery.
    im not postive on this just my guess
     
    JxExM likes this.
  7. DocJitsu

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Posts:
    222
    Likes Received:
    331
    Location:
    California
    It may not be for very much longer that Mikkeller can be considered pure "gypsy brewers." I spoke to Stig at last June's Firestone Walker invitational, and he reported a planned joint venture with Three Floyds, which will include a permanent facility in Copenhagen.
     
  8. LeRose

    Subscriber

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2011
    Posts:
    2,333
    Likes Received:
    5,924
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Found this distinction tacked on to a very brief NPR transcript. I'm not entirely it is that great a difference, although by nature I guess the gypsy approach is a series of "one offs" with no permanent contracts. This was Written by a Mike Marcus:

    A contract brew is typically one where the recipe and branding belong to the contractee while all other details are handled by the brewery. The brew, packaging and sometimes distribution is conducted by the contractors’ staff using their usual methods and supply channels.

    Gypsy brewing on the other hand is far more hands on. It is conducted by a skilled brewer, using ingredients specified, sourced and purchased by the themselves on somebody else’s equipment.
     
  9. tjensen3618

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    Posts:
    1,986
    Likes Received:
    3,109
    Location:
    California
    Those are the two far ends of the gypsy vs contract spectrum.
    I would say that most breweries that call themselves a gypsy brewer probably fall somewhere between these two.
     
  10. jesskidden

    Subscriber

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2005
    Posts:
    7,773
    Likes Received:
    17,991
    Location:
    New Jersey
    The legal term in the US for that is an "alternating proprietorship" (although not every brewer who claims the "gypsy" title qualifies as an AP for everyone of his beers).

    Garrett Oliver, in his Oxford Companion to Beer* [pg 262], considers the alternating proprietorship as just a form of contract brewing (there is, after all, a "contract" involved):

    [​IMG]
    * Yeah, I cited it :eek:
     
  11. tendermorsel

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2006
    Posts:
    650
    Likes Received:
    321
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Do you have to be present when a beer is brewed to be a Gypsy brewer? What if you just send a recipe over to a brewer like De Proef and they do the brewing, bottling and packaging. I have a strong suspicion that some "gypsy" brewers do exactly that.
     
  12. jesskidden

    Subscriber

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2005
    Posts:
    7,773
    Likes Received:
    17,991
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Until they form the Gypsy Brewers Association, get some spokespersons, hire some lobbyists, and start writing some rules and definitions (putting up pdf files of "Who's NOT a Gypsy Brewer" is optional) they can call themselves anything they want and do it anyway they want.;)
     
    zid likes this.
  13. tendermorsel

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2006
    Posts:
    650
    Likes Received:
    321
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    True... which is another reason I hate the term.
     
  14. BearsOnAcid

    Beer Trader

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2009
    Posts:
    3,007
    Likes Received:
    3,010
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    High and Mighty is just brewed at paper city.

    The term gypsy brewer is really lame. I can't think of one brewer that truely fits the definition (if it's even definable).
     
    tendermorsel likes this.
  15. OneDropSoup

    Subscriber

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2008
    Posts:
    1,375
    Likes Received:
    1,637
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Well, since we're talking about it, what breweries do we know of that are strictly contract or alternating proprietorship?
     
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe