Tag Archives: craft brewery

John Urlaub, Rohrbach Brewing Company

john urlaub rohrbach brewingMeet John Urlaub, owner of Rohrbach Brewing Company. I recently caught up with John at Rohrbach’s Production Brewery & Tasting Room to learn more about one of the city’s first craft breweries. A Rochester native and graduate of St. Bonaventure University, he worked for Kodak before starting the brewery. His Kodak career included several relocations, including LA – where he tried his first craft beer, Anchor Steam; New York City – where he discovered Manhattan Brewing Company and fell in love with the brewpub concept; and eventually to Rohrbach, Germany – after which, he named the brewery.

Rohrbach Brewing Company, established in 1991, officially opened their doors in 1992 at the German House in Rochester’s South Wedge neighborhood. John laughs as he tells me that the toughest part of starting the brewery was getting his brewers license. But he didn’t have trouble getting approval… it was actually finding the application. “There were so few breweries in NY at that time, no one at the State Liquor Authority could find an application!”

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Brooklyn Beer School

brooklyn brewery

One of the perks of being “The Craft Beer Girl” is making friends in the beer industry. One of the perks of making friends in the beer industry is having the opportunity to attend special craft beer events. Brooklyn Beer School is one such event. Periodically, Brooklyn Brewery invites industry members (distributor reps, bar owners, etc.) to come down to Brooklyn and learn more about the history and culture of the brewery and a little about beer in general.

Located at 79 North 11th Street in Williamsburg, the Brooklyn Brewery has been at the center of a cultural and gastronomical renaissance, taking place in Brooklyn over the last 20 years. We arrived on a Thursday afternoon, greeted by Steve Hindy, president and co-founder. The tasting room is simple, a large warehouse with concrete floors. We grabbed a beer and sat at picnic tables while Steve told us the story of how he, a foreign correspondent, and his neighbor Tom Potter, a banker at the time, came to start the brewery 25 years ago. To hear stories of Steve’s time in Beirut, and of his other experiences as a journalist, I am inspired. Enchanted by his sense of adventure and nostalgia, like falling in love.

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Visiting Saranac Brewery

Last week I traveled out to Utica, NY to visit the Matt Brewing Company, home to Saranac beer. As the second oldest family-owned brewery in the country, and the oldest in New York State, the Matt Brewery is rich with history. As soon as you enter the tour center at 830 Varick Street, you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped into a museum. Originally the bottling works of the brewery, the tour center was designed and decorated back in the 60’s, by Walter Pfeiffer – a leading Victorian architect at the time. The room, featuring high-ceilings and Italian tile floors, is filled with Victorian-era antiques… Certainly not the type of decor that I’m used to seeing at a brewery!

The tour begins with a history lesson as our guide points out a display case full of old bottles and cans representing the numerous products and brands produced at the brewery over the years. From the first 1888 Lager made by The West End Brewing Company, founded by F.X. Matt the same year, to the current line-up including Saranac Beer & Soft Drinks, Utica Club, and a number of other specialty products for smaller breweries. Recently ranked the 12th largest* brewery in the United States, and 6th* out of the top 50 US Craft Breweries, the Matt Brewing Company has a lot to be proud of.

saranac brewery tour

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Kickstarting Craft Beer: 5 Campaigns for Beer

Kickstarter allows people (anyone, even you!) to create a fundraising campaign for a creative project or business venture.  Those that contribute to the effort are rewarded with special gifts of thanks, chosen by the project creator.  A variety of rewards are usually offered based on the amount of the contribution and consist of things like a copy of what’s being made, a limited edition product, or a custom experience related to the project.  Every project creator sets a funding goal and deadline. If the project succeeds in reaching its fundraising goal, all contributors are charged at the end of the campaign. If the project doesn’t meet their goal by the deadline, no one is charged, simple as that!kickstarter.com

Since launching in April 2009, 24,000 Kickstarter projects have been successfully funded, and over 2 million people have pledged more than $250 million to show support for a wide variety of creative projects. Here’s a handful of beer-related campaigns looking for funding.

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