We constantly report on the upside of the craft brewing industry as breweries across the country expand and sell more beer than ever. All of this success helps to breed success in other industries that have smartly decided to ride craft beer’s sudsy coattails.
For example, Brian Polowniak took over as president and CEO of Michigan-based Treeborn Inc., which sells chestnut chips. I know what you’re thinking: Wow, the fast-paced, glamorous world of chestnut chips? They are probably printing money. The only question is, do they have two Scrooge McDuck pools — one filled with their gold coins and another filled with chestnut chips?
Well, actually, that might not have been the case at one point, but then Polowniak made a shrewd move. He looked at what he had — chestnut chips — and said what every CEO of every company in all industries should be saying — how does this get me into craft beer?
From Crain’s Detroit Business:
Treeborn was incorporated last year. Polowniak said the company has several customers already, including Dexter-based Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, which uses the chips in its Fuego del Otono beer; Roak Brewing Co., a brewer in Royal Oak that launched in June; Grand River Brewery in Jackson; Short’s Brewing Co. in Bellaire; and Perrin Brewing Co. in Comstock.
Polowniak said 39 breweries in 15 states are in various stages of testing his chestnut chips in its beers.
The strategy is brilliant and further demonstrates the power that local, creative entrepreneurs like craft breweries can have beyond their own walls and bottles.
Minnesota Town Hall, which has been making craft beers in Minnesota for 18 years, is another customer. Brewmaster Mike Hoops said he has been experimenting with Treeborn chips and plans to launch a new brew for the Christmas holidays that blends the chips with a popular coconut milk stout.
“We’ll sell it at one or two of our restaurants and see how people like it. I think it’s going to be quite good. It should add quite a depth of flavor,” said Hoops.
He said Treeborn reached out to him earlier this year and asked him if he was interested in testing its chips.
“I said sure. We deal with lots of ingredients that are interesting, but I’d never used chestnut chips,” Hoops said. “When we got some, we spent the first few days munching them. They were very tasty.”