December 4, 2018

Wormtown expanding to Connecticut

Photo | Courtesy
Beer from Worcester's Wormtown Brewery

Wormtown Brewery in Worcester has a busy 2019 on tap, with more releases and states, on top of its Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire areas. Managing Partner David Fields spoke to WBJ about the brewery's next steps and commented on employment-related headlines in the Massachusetts beer industry.

What does 2019 have in store for Wormtown?

We're beginning distribution in Connecticut in April. We also have two new beers coming out for the year.

What are those new beers?

One is Masshole Lager. It's in a series we've been brewing for eight years that's made with 100-percent Massachusetts ingredients.

We did a test batch in the fall, and it's been a terrific seller for us in the taproom. We decided to introduce it to our distributors, and we're in full swing production with that.

What's the other one?

The other one is called the Don't Worry IPA. That will come out in the second quarter of 2019. It's lower in alcohol-by-volume than Be Hoppy with a couple hops we hadn't used before.

Trillium Brewing has been in the press lately for some employment practices. The Globe reported the company reversed course and restored hourly wages to employees about a week after that pay was cut. What is the culture like at Wormtown?

We did just raise our minimum wage to $15 an hour. The state agreed to do it by 2023, so we went to $15 an hour. It only affected two or three guys, but we used to hire for entry-level positions in the $11 or $12 range.

Are those taproom workers?

No. Our taproom workers are tipped and they make $8 an hour plus tips.

What other employment benefits does Wormtown offer?

We introduced a 401(k)and health care within the last three years, and our vacation plan is pretty good. You get two weeks paid after three years.

We have three employees that have been here for five years, so we recently sent them on a vacation, paid by us.

How often do employees get raises?

Every year. Our average raise for 2018 is probably right around 5 percent. 2017 and 2016 were around 10 percent.

What is it like to work in a brewery?

We want to make it feel like you're part of a family as opposed to part of a company. Whenever anyone says, "I love working for this company," we always look at them and say, "You work in a brewery. Get rid of that language. This is a brewery."

This interview was conducted and edited by WBJ Staff Writer Zachary Comeau.


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