Definitive list of gypsy brewers

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

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  1. OneDropSoup

    OneDropSoup Meyvn (1,048) Dec 9, 2008 Pennsylvania

    Out of curiosity, does anyone know if this exists? If not, could one be compiled? The ones I can think of:
    Evil Twin
    Pretty Things
    Local Option
    High & Mighty
    The Perfect Crime
    Any others? Are any of these not "real" gypsies, maybe just contract brewed regularly at a specific spot?
  2. ptrc

    ptrc Initiate (0) Aug 26, 2011 Massachusetts

    I think pretty things is considered a tenant.
  3. tendermorsel

    tendermorsel Initiate (0) Oct 22, 2006 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

    tjensen3618 Initiate (0) Mar 23, 2008 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

    OneDropSoup Meyvn (1,048) Dec 9, 2008 Pennsylvania

    I agree with folks that the "gypsy" label is kind of murky & maybe euphemistic.
    RyanBeer13 likes this.
  6. RyanBeer13

    RyanBeer13 Initiate (0) Jan 24, 2011 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

    DocJitsu Devotee (477) Dec 28, 2009 Florida

    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

    LeRose Meyvn (1,183) Nov 24, 2011 Massachusetts
    Supporter Subscriber

    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

    tjensen3618 Initiate (0) Mar 23, 2008 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

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,305) Aug 10, 2005 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):

    * Yeah, I cited it :grimacing:
  11. tendermorsel

    tendermorsel Initiate (0) Oct 22, 2006 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

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,305) Aug 10, 2005 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.:wink:
    zid likes this.
  13. tendermorsel

    tendermorsel Initiate (0) Oct 22, 2006 Massachusetts

    True... which is another reason I hate the term.
  14. BearsOnAcid

    BearsOnAcid Savant (958) Mar 17, 2009 Washington
    Beer Trader

    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

    OneDropSoup Meyvn (1,048) Dec 9, 2008 Pennsylvania

    Well, since we're talking about it, what breweries do we know of that are strictly contract or alternating proprietorship?
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