In what’s described as “…the first in a series of Spotlight posts on new breweries…”, Beernews.org has chosen Michiana’s own Greenbush Brewing Co. for its inaugural feature.
While informational for those who’ve had limited or no exposure to Greenbush, the 10+ Q&A session with owner/brewmaster, Scott Sullivan, also lends some brilliant insight into this fledgling company.
With all apologies to 3 Floyds (“not normal”) and Dogfish Head (“off-centered”), I love the whimsical and quirky nature of Scott’s responses that seem to follow in the footsteps of those that have come before Greenbush, yet are still unique in their own right:
2) It sounds like the beers are being received favorably. What resources have you used in forming your recipes?
Interestingly enough, I’ve never had any idea what commercial breweries use for this sort of thing and now that I know people at other breweries, I still forget to ask. I started out homebrewing using Beer Tools and never switched. It does what I need it to, so I figure why reinvent the wheel? As for recipe development itself, I used to always pick a style I wanted to do and sort of get an idea of how other breweries I liked did things. Then I’d build a recipe that I thought was sort of something like that particular family. Usually, I was wrong. Apparently, people like our wrong-headed approach to brewing because yes, we’ve been at capacity from just about the first day and have another 60 barrels worth of fermentation coming online.
It’s almost as if they don’t really have a plan, don’t care for one, and have shown they don’t need one to be successful. (Note: I’m sure Scott, Jill – the Ambassador of Everything – and the rest of the crew do have a plan, they’ve just executed it with such ease that one could hardly tell.)
Furthermore, I absolutely respect his thoughts on growth:
11) How big do you guys want to grow? Into the size of a regional craft brewery or stay smaller?
Ha, this and anonymous rating forums are my favorite topics! I have no problem with breweries getting big and I hope we are fortunate enough to do so. I do however have a problem with breweries sacrificing quality and creative aspiration. The indie beer cred community thinks those two things are synonymous, which I think is flat out ridiculous. If I can maintain quality standards and creativity and grow big, I will without hesitation do it. Is that the measure of success? No, not anymore than staying small is a measure of credibility. People in Michigan love piling on Larry Bell for being big, as if that’s against the code of beer ethics. Anybody who says they wouldn’t do the same thing if given the chance is couch quarterbacking.
If (When?) they really start to hit it big, there will undoubtedly be those who proclaim, “I liked Greenbush before they got popular/before everyone else did.” The notion of “selling out,” as far as simply losing credibility due to growth, is a terrible one. As the man said, if they’re able to maintain quality standards and creativity and still grow big, who in their right mind wouldn’t do that? It’s about simple economics, not beer geek cred.
Remember, “Good Beer Wins”, and right now Greenbush is winning. Head on over to the very well ran Beernews.org and read the rest of the article for more!