The craft brewing industry does not lack for interesting stories. At the Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America, turn left or turn right and you’ll no doubt have an interesting conversation. During the general session on Wednesday, I turned right, and I talked to Jeff Schrag, owner of Mother’s Brewing Co., in Springfield, Mo.
Schrag started out in the journalism/publishing world with his own weekly newspaper, but then got the itch to branch out, moving into the cuff links business. (Obviously.) After becoming one of the top cuff links distributors, he felt he had one more company in him and started Mother’s in 2010.
Oh, and yes, he still runs all of these businesses – he’s just your typical publisher/cuff links distributor/craft brewer from the Midwest.
Mother’s Brewing is finding a market in its area. The concept he told me about that stood out the most was Mother’s Thing 1 and Thing 2, where the company brews a beer, puts two different spins on it, sends it out and then sees the reaction to each. Maybe only one survives to see another day. You could call it a market test, or R&D, or an internal competition or just a fun, interactive idea.
Here was the latest Thing 1 and Thing 2 that launched earlier this month:
Brewed as a New Zealand-style pale ale, Thing 1 is a tad lighter and more subdued than the American version. The aroma is dominated by two new New Zealand hop varieties, Pacific Jade and Motueka. Mother’s Brewing employed first wort hopping, modest kettle hopping and two methods of dry hopping to give this lighter bodied beer a full yet balanced hop profile. With aroma and flavors of citrus zest, orange, lemon, lime, a touch of pepper spice and a noticeable resinous mouth feel, Thing 1 is a tasty pint that may go down a bit too easy.
Rather than solely relying on hops for flavor much of the character of thing 2 comes from the addition of Bergamot Tea. Mother’s Brewing employed a hot brew and separate cold brew method to create a depth of tea flavor and aroma. Bergamot tea, commonly referred to as Earl Grey, combines the rinds from bergamot oranges and black tea leaves. This beer is crisp, dry and very aromatic with both a fruity, orange and tea character. Small additions of orange blossom honey and agave nectar were added after fermentation to bring just a hint of sweetness to balance out the flavors and mouth feel.
So, that’s what Mother’s Brewing is doing – what are you doing? Have a new business initiative or promotion that has shown results? What ideas are making a dent in your local or countrywide distribution? Drop us a line at [email protected].