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Death Of A Contract Brewer: Shmaltz Builds A Brewery

Wow, this is big news. My old friend Jeremy Cowan sent me a note this morning about this. His company, Shmaltz Brewing, makers of He’Brew and the Coney Island Craft Lagers of beers, will very shortly no longer be a contract brewer. He’s building a 20,000-square foot, 50-barrel brewery in Upstate, New York — Clifton Park (about 10 minutes north of Albany) — which will have an annual capacity of 20,000 barrels. Production is expected to begin in April or May, with a grand opened currently scheduled for July 7, 2013. He’s been working on the plans for this for a year and was finally ready to announce it to the world. Also, great news, is that his brewer, at least initially, will be Paul McErlean (who I’ve judged at GABF with). Paul oversaw all Shmaltz’s contract brewing before and “created every recipe in Shmaltz’s award winning family of beers.”

Here’s more information from the press release:

After 16 years as one of contract brewing’s loudest cheerleaders, Shmaltz Brewing Company, handcrafters of HE’BREW – The Chosen Beer® and Coney Island Craft Lagers®, is breaking with tradition and opening its own New York State production brewery. Located in Clifton Park, NY, 10 minutes north of Albany’s capital district, Shmaltz’s new home boasts a 50-barrel brewhouse with 20,000 barrels of annual capacity. With a $3.25 million dollar budget and countless hours of planning and preparation, what began as an improbable fantasy only one year ago, has blossomed into a nearly 20,000 square foot brewing reality.

The first stainless kettles were delivered this week and the inaugural brew date is targeted for late-April. Packaging should commence in May and June, and Shmaltz projects bringing 100% of its production in-house by mid-to-late summer. The heart of Shmaltz’s new operation features a custom-made, 5-vessel manual workhorse brewhouse as well as 8 fermentation and 2 bright beer tanks manufactured in the US from Oregon’s JV Northwest. The 120-bottle-per minute packaging line comes from the well respected Italian experts at SBC/BC International. The new Shmaltz brewery will package 12 and 22 ounce bottles and kegs of their diverse core and seasonal favorites. Several new releases and collaborations are on tap for 2013, and Shmaltz will continue their acclaimed exploration of barrel-aging with a current inventory of more than 300 bourbon, rye whiskey, and tequila barrels. The brewery projects hiring upwards of 10 full time staff for the new operation in addition to the dozen staffers currently handling sales, marketing and contract brewing operations. The space also touts a 1,700 square foot tasting room, and roughly 800 square feet of office space.

Even with this new beginning, Shmaltz will be piloted under the watchful and experienced eyes of the same dynamic team that’s brought the craft beer world many years of delicious beer and delicious shtick, including Jeremy Cowan (Proprietor), Bob Craven (General Manager), Matt Polacheck (Art Director), Zak Davis (National Sales Manager), Jesse P. Cutler (PR Director), and Paul McErlean (Consulting Brewmaster who created every recipe in Shmaltz’s award winning family of beers).

A press event and ribbon cutting ceremony will be announced shortly for late April or early May. The official, public grand opening bash will take place on Sunday, July 7, 2013. Specific details will be announced soon. Following the opening, craft beer enthusiasts will be able to enjoy the nectar of the new brewery gods at Shmaltz’s tasting room throughout the year. Brewery tours will be available to the public — times will be announced this summer.

Congratulations to Jeremy and the whole Shmaltz tean. L’chaim.

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