Tuesday, January 31, 2012

State of the brewery

This year will be the year we start brewing!
So it is time to give you an update on what is happening. An important step was to set up a core management team to review my preparations, projections and plans, and to reconstruct it in a way that would work. I am very proud and honored to have found 2 exceptional professionals who were enthusiastically willing to join the Saint William Brewery. They represent 2 different sides of the beer medal. In later blog posts, they will introduce themselves as well.

The first person to join was Peter Renzulli, an accomplished accountant, who heads his own national accounting and bookkeeping firm. Currently in his final semester at Rutgers University to complete his MBA, he is a very meticulous and driven person, with a keen sense for business and numbers. Having tried his hand at home brewing, he loved the idea.
He is the man who will ensure the numbers work. Passion for beer is key, but if you cannot make a profit, our goal to share the best possible beer, born from Old World tradition and New World innovation, to as many people as possible, would stop before you know it.

Secondly, Alan Jestice joined Saint William Brewery. He is a very accomplished Craft Beer evangelist, with years of experience and understanding in the wonderful world of American Craft Beer. He is co-owner of the Blind Tiger Ale House in New York, for years responsible for managing the tap choices, branding and marketing, making it one of the most influential places to be for cutting edge brews you'd find nowhere else. With a vast experience in the restaurant and bar business, he knows how to bring Craft Beer to the thirsty consumers wanting the best.
He will assist us in navigating the Craft Beer world, help us bring our message and beer to beer lovers in NJ and beyond. To use his own words:
My work consists of merging ideological aspirations of the brewer and the practical realities of consumerism in craft beer — to sift out a brand that is specific, recognizable and truthful. Currently, as the basic story has been laid out, I am using the financial and physical parameters of this fledgling brewery a part of the brand's public persona — making the journey of the brand as unique and accessible as the beer that it is built upon. 
Between the three of us we cover the business side, the organisational issues, the branding and marketing side, the technical side, making us a formidable team to reconcile passion and vision with the reality of today's economy and market. I am honored and proud of their commitment to lift Saint William Brewery to the highest possible standards, and cannot wait to bring you the fruits of our labor!

Practically, we have been weighing different options, and at this point are ready to go out and find a location. The formula we are pursuing is called 'Alternate Brewing'. This is how Mikkeller  Brewery goes about brewing their highly successful beers, and several American Craft Breweries (such as the Rheingold Brewing Company in Connecticut and Pig's Eye Brewery in Minnesota) are following this route as well. The website of the TTB (the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, part of the US Department of the Treasury) defines it this way:
An “alternating proprietorship” is a term used to describe an arrangement in which two or more people take turns using the physical premises of a brewery. 
Generally, the proprietor of an existing brewery, the “host brewery,” agrees to rent space and equipment to a new “tenant brewer.”  Alternating brewery proprietorships allow existing breweries to use excess capacity and give new entrants to the beer business an opportunity to begin on a small scale, without investing in premises and equipment. 
This means that we are looking in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania to find a brewery with excess capacity, willing to enter into a contractual agreement with us, allowing us to rent their facilities for 1 or 2 brews a week. Once we have found that, and have the contract agreed upon, we can start the licensing and start brewing as soon as all the approvals are received. This would strictly be a temporary situation, for 6 to 18 months, as the goal is to have our own brewery as soon as possible.Under this arrangement, the 'hosting brewery' would receive additional income from their equipment, lowering their liability. We will also offer to buy any additional fermentation tanks needed, and once we leave donate them to the host. On the other hand, we would avoid the high initial start-up costs, while still being able to start brewing and get our branding and marketing started (meaning, getting our beers to you!).  This allows us to have something solid, to show investors real data, substantially lowering their risk as we get ready for the next phase. It's a win-win for both parties! As we go ahead with this, I would love to hear what you think of this formula. Leave us a comment!

And that, dear beer people, could only mean one thing: the official start of Saint William Brewery and our beers. We look forward to offer you our Saint William Triple, Saint William Honey and Saint William Amber. For starters. We know you'll be back... And we will be ready to fulfill your need for deeply satisfying beer, one glass at a time. Cheers!
Party in honor of tapping the first keg of Saint William's  


  1. Hey Wim. Cant wait to try the new brews! Let me know when some is available.

  2. awesome blog! I came across here and knew that your brewery is in the process of startup,and I'm wondering if you are interested in our brewing equipment.Maybe I can do something helpful for you.Dustin

  3. Good luck getting the first batches out!

    Will you be shipping to Belgium? Or should I come over to your side of the Atlantic to taste it? :p