When a Brooklyn brewery learned that its contract brewer was closing, there was no time to ‘cry in their beer’, because the Bronx came to the rescue.
On Wednesday, January 10, around 5 p.m. the Old Saratoga Brewing Company informed Braven Brewing Company that it would be ceasing operations, and that the Brooklyn-based company had only 72 hours to remove nearly 12,000 gallons of stored beer and packaging materials.
Braven, which had a contract with Old Saratoga, had to act fast. It reached out to the New York City Brewers Guild, which led them to Bronx Brewery.
When the brewery sent out e-mails to fellow brewers in the region for help in getting its stock out of the plant, at least a dozen offered help within the first ten minutes, said Marshall Thompson, of Braven.
Eric Feldman and Thompson, the co-founders of Braven, had known the founders of the Bronx Brewery, Damian Brown and Chris Gallant, professionally for a number of years.
Eric remembered meeting Damian before the Bronx Brewery produced its first can of suds.
Braven owners explained to the Bronx brewmeisters that they needed a tanker to move its inventory from Saratoga to a new brewery.
Their established friendship paved the way for the transfer to flow smoothly, said Eric.
By Thursday, January 11, the Bronx Brewery was able to provide the advice and expertise Braven needed to tanker its beer from Old Saratoga to Ipswich Ale Brewery in Massachusetts.
“It’s not like this was some massive grandiose gesture,” said Brown. “I think we could have easily have said ‘No, sorry’ because we wanted a leg up and they’re a competitor, but we felt it was the right thing to do.”
Damian had learned the process of tankering beer when the Bronx Brewery moved its production line from the Smaltz Brewing Company in Clifton Park, NY.
“From our standpoint it was just an understanding that this is a complex business and people have production sometimes scattered at one or more breweries that is out of their control,” said Brown.
When the Bronx Brewery needed tankering services they forged a solid relationship with the Stolt-Nielsen Transportation Group, a firm they recommended to Eric and Marshall.
“There were a lot of challenges we had to face for this to go right, a lot of things for this to happen correctly,” said Thompson.
After hiring the company, they learned they needed a specific adapter so the hose from the fermenting vessel could connect to the tanker truck, according to the Braven founders.
Luckily, the Bronx Brewery had those parts to spare as well.
“The hose we had would not connect. We would have had beer flowing all over the parking lot,” said Feldman.
“I’m sure it was no big deal for [Bronx Brewery] but we wouldn’t have been able to do all of the rest of it if it weren’t for that piece. Something that may be minor to you, a small favor, can mean the world to someone else. That’s really what it meant for us.”
Saratoga Brewing Company’s sudden closure occurred when its parent company ran into severe financial trouble.