Brewery Local: Montgomery Brewing
Before eating local, shopping local, sourcing local and anything else local was in vogue, there was a time when the distinction did not exist because everything was simply local. With a tinge of nostalgia, this blog shines a light on some of the BSG customers that sow the seeds of reemergence of the small “local” brewery.
We sat down with Charles Dorsey, owner and brewer at Montgomery Brewing Company to share his experience in a small regional market
Montgomery Brewing Company
Who is Montgomery Brewing?
We are a proud, small town community brewery based 45 minutes south of the Twin Cities in Minnesota. Our brewery and taproom is located in the historic Montgomery Brewery Building, one of the few to be revived in the state, and the only one that houses a nano-brewery. Our focus is on craftsmanship and service.
What's the history of the brewery building?
The Montgomery Brewery has held many names as a brewery dating back to the late 1800’s. Back then many of the small towns had their own brewery. Montgomery was one of the larger breweries as it was a cross section of both the east to west and north to south railways. After prohibition, it tried to make a comeback, but could not seem to replicate its previous success. During World War II with the metal shortage, it converted into a creamery and later, a mail distribution shop. What’s great about the building is its rich history with the community. It seems that the locals all know someone that has either worked in the building at some point or has worked there themselves. We have heard some really great stories.
What are the brewery specs?
We are a 3 barrel (bbl) brew house with four, 3 bbl fermenters and three, 3 bbl bites. This puts us at around 360 bbls per year, which is about as “nano” as it gets in the brewing industry. We went with this initial size for several reasons. Our allotted space in the building is 1,500 square feet. We also had cost considerations, unknown consumer demand, and we knew that we like to brew a lot of different styles of beer.
How has the city of Montgomery received you?
The unknown consumer demand admittedly caught us off guard, in a good way. When we opened we had 2 fermenters and 0 bright tanks. We also thought we would only be brewing 1-2 times a month as we assumed this was a small community that preferred macro brews. On our first day of opening we ran out of beer in 36 minutes and we had to turn people away empty-handed. Shortly thereafter, we found ourselves taking vacation days from our full-time jobs to keep up with demand while adding more equipment. Within 6 months, our head brewer, AJ, was able to make brewing his full time job. We were also able to bring on a fantastic, full-time taproom/general manager, Lindsay, who is attentive in serving our customers and accounts. This has allowed us to focus on creating a great product. A continued increase in demand has allowed us to bring on 5 part time employees. This has far surpassed where we thought we would be in 11 months.