May 11, 2018

Jack's Abby to host state beer group's conference

Photo/Edd Cote
The three Hendler brothers (from left: Jack, Sam and Eric), cofounders of Jack's Abby Craft Lagers. The brewer has been named the small business manufacturer of the year by the Small Business Administration.

With dozens of more breweries expected to open in the next few years, Jack's Abby Craft Lagers in Framingham and statewide industry group are holding an event this month to make sure those young brewers have the knowledge they need to be successful.

Jack's Abby will host the Mass Brewers Guild inaugural Mass Brewers Technical Brewing & Business Conference on May 21, which will include a day-long series of workshops and lectures. New and prospective beermakers will learn best practices from industry veterans and make connections with other Bay State brewers.

According to the guild, there are 154 breweries operating in Massachusetts, and at least 30 are planning to open in the next two years. Rob Burns, president of the guild and co-founder of Everett's Night Shift Brewing, said as many as 20 breweries could open in 2018, bringing the total number of beer companies in the state past 170.

"It's definitely about getting people some education and giving them some tools and resources so they have a deeper understanding of what it's like to operate a brewery so they can be successful out of the gate and don't get themselves into a bad position," he said.

Making a good beer, he said, isn't the hard part. It's running a business, selecting a good insurance policy, payroll and negotiating a commercial lease that seems to trip up new beermakers.

Despite some national reports of some craft brewers closing up shop, Burns said all is well so far in Massachusetts.

"It still seems like people are powering through and opening," he said.

Many companies, however, are thinking smaller, Burns said.

"They're looking at more of a taproom-focused model," said the seasoned brewer. "Maybe they sell kegs to local bars rather than sending beer to every state in the country."


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