Frank Lockwood and his pal Ryan Broderick, are about to realize their dream.
Opening Reverie Brewing company and hopping onto one of the hottest business trends in Connecticut.
“I kind of wrote a business plan about two years ago, had always had a love of craft beer, and had always dreamed of opening a brewery.”
In 2011 there were 16 craft breweries in Connecticut. That number has shot through the roof.
right now there are at least 87 breweries up and brewing in our state, with another 15 getting ready to open.
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That’s an economic impact of well over 718 million dollars a year.
“You would think with all of these new breweries popping up, the competition would be fierce. Well, this is broken symmetry, a brew pub not far from reverie, one of the new places working to open up. Not only are they not fierce rivals, the folks here are working to help their new fellow brewers, open up shop. I don’t know how we did it but we did it.”
Christopher Sanzeni was an aerospace engineer. When he fell in love with making beer, he started at home.
Last spring he opened up Broken symmetry, a “gastro brewery” in Bethel.
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“Yeah there’s competition, but its really not because we are all in it together against maybe the larger brewers.”
“It’s like a big bowl of oatmeal.”
The beer business isn’t new for Rob Leonard. He owns one of the oldest and biggest breweries in Connecticut, The New England Brewing Company in Woodbridge.
Over the last two decades, his one man operation has turned into a staff of 25.
He’s putting out 18 thousand barrels of beer a year,and he still can’t keep up with demand.
He says the craft beer business in Connecticut is thriving because people are thinking local.
“The consumer kind of changed. They want to know where their food is coming from, same thing with their beer. And I think people like to identify with the product and they want to support a local business.”
“Going out to the local restaurants instead of the chain restaurants. Going to the farmers market instead of the big superstore. I think that is slowly transitioning to the beer market.”
“The tap room has community tables, people come in and talk to each other, hang out, meet new people, that’s really what its about.”
Their customers agree. They love the beer, and the experience.
It’s not a generic taste anymore. Each individual place has its own individual flavor”, said Sam Gonzalez of Ansonia.
“The population of women involved is definitely growing. There are women who are home brewing, and their palates are getting engaged in better beers as well.”
Will Siss is a Connecticut columnist and author. He’s written a book about brewing in our state.
He says the craft beer business is working here because the quality is good, and the equipment now comes in a variety of sizes.
“You are not seeing people biting off more than they can chew like they used to. Now they are able to get just the right equipment , they are able to make pretty much just the right amount of beer and be able to hit the numbers in terms of their economics.”
They welcome more fellow brewers.
“Almost every town in this state has 10, 15, 20 restaurants, if you keep the costs under control why can’t every town have a brewery.”