Friday, June 17, 2011

Oh, by the way...Farmer's Cabinet may be buying a brewery

A lot happened during Philly Beer Week... Wow, what an unnecessary statement. But one of the things that happened was that Tuesday night, after meeting 'Gansett rep Zach Antczak for a couple Narragansett Summers (and The Famous Woody, too) at MidAtlantic, and hosting the smoked beer/food dinner at Hop Angel (which, if you missed -- and almost all of you did -- you missed a great dinner and some surprisingly good pairings, like Raftman and smoked trout/mussels, and Schlenkerla Oak Smoke with vanilla ice cream, caramel, and smoked salt)...I met Terry Hawbaker at the Prohibition Taproom for a beer. (And Christine Gumpper was there as well; I think I may have seen her more than anyone else during PBW!)

So...enough about my day, let's cut to the chase. Terry, of course, is not only a good friend and nice guy, he's also the former brewer at Bullfrog and currently at Farmer's Cabinet. He was hired to open an in-house nanobrewery for them, making one-off beers to complement their exotic beer selection. Well, Terry told me, they'd had real problems with paperwork -- city, state, federal? not sure -- and weren't sure when they'd be able to get the brewery up and running. So when someone noticed that Shenandoah Brewing was for sale (and about to go down for lack of a buyer), wheels started to turn.

Shenandoah, you see, is Brew-On-Premise in Alexandria, Virginia. They are set up to do small batches, lots of small batches, exactly what Terry and the FC folks were planning. They have a ton of room.  

Amended here: I've been told that this is NOT a done deal, and I apologize for that. I thought I had checked on this, but I was wrong. Again: the purchase is NOT certain at this point.

Seem crazy? It's not that far to Alexandria, especially if you travel at the hours Terry is used to anyway. It's a perfect set-up. And the options are endless. Not as convenient as it could be, maybe, but it has interesting potential.

Yeah, yeah, I know: aren't these the same people who just closed two (or three, depending on how you parse it) places? Where'd they get the money to buy a brewery? Two answers: first, I don't know, and second, there's plenty of ways to skin that cat, even in this economy. And before anyone starts making trash comments about this situation...I won't allow them to post. Keep it clean, keep it reasonable, or you'll be wasting your time. Okay? Game on.


Anonymous said...

So will the old Shenandoah place be turned into a brewpub? Or will they just brew beer there and bring it all up to Philly?

Anonymous said...

ok, i came late to the party, please explain... which breweries?

Lew Bryson said...

Well, Shenandoah had some rudimentary brewpub-like tendencies...but the location's a little tough for that. I'm not really sure what's going to happen there.

Lew Bryson said...

There's only one brewery involved: Shenandoah Brewing. There's a link in the post.

Steve said...

Interesting....seems like a lot of work to just bring beer to Philly? In addition, you have to import it into the state and then go through a wholesaler. So it's still a lot of work. Why not take the equipment and move it to a location in PA, at least at that point you can self distribute.

Syllogism said...

That Oak Smoke was one of the best beers I have had this year. I am kicking myself for not getting to the dinner, but had it on tap at Hop Angel later in the week and it was incredible.

Re Farmer's Cabinet. Get the brewer a new job and I won't say what I think should happen to the owners... after what they did to the people that worked at the other places.

+1 for Nano breweries
-1 for Employers that needlessly screw their employees.

tom foley said...

the former Tap and Table has been re-opened as the Trappe Door. I stopped in on Saturday, lots of familar faces both behind the bar and in the kitchen.