Good Beer Pairs Well With a Good Story
Sep 11, 2013
Every beer has a story – and every brewing company too. The story of Brooklyn Brewery is the tale of a company’s rise from a hobbyist’s homebrew to a craft beer icon. It’s also the story of a neighborhood, a place where people once feared walking alone that’s now a thriving community. “A good beer is kind of like a good story,” said Steve Hindy founder and president of Brooklyn Brewery. “It’s got to have a nice beginning, a nice middle and a nice ending. And, actually, stories go with beer too.”
Hindy knows a good story when he hears one; he spent 15 years as a journalist, including a stint as a war correspondent in the Middle East. It’s there that he discovered homebrews – inside the homes of Americans in Saudi Arabia unable to buy beer due to the country’s laws. Hindy’s own experiments with home brewing led him to return to New York and launch Brooklyn Brewery in 1988.
His choice of Brooklyn was intentional; the borough has long played a role in the story of American craft brewery. In 1900, there were 48 breweries in Brooklyn and 100 in New York City producing 10 percent of the beer consumed in the country. But, the last big brewery in Brooklyn closed in 1976. “It took a while,” said Hindy. “But we worked really hard and established the brand, and now we sell in 25 states and 20 countries around the world.”
As the brewery started to grow and change, so did its neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. “People who haven’t been here in 10 years come back and they’re flabbergasted at what’s happened in this community,” said Hindy. “It’s really been a wonderful renaissance and we’re so proud to have been part of that.”
Soon, the brewery faced pressure to expand in order to meet demand. That’s where Bank of America comes into the story. The bank helped Brooklyn Brewery expand at a crucial time, boosting production capacity from 10,000 to 100,000 barrels. “They came in just at the right time – and worked very well with us,” said Eric Ottaway, chief operating officer and one of the owners of the brewery.
In addition to helping the brewery expand at home and internationally, Bank of America handles its banking, payroll and retirement plans. “It makes me feel really proud to work with a company that’s doing so many good things and has such huge potential,” said Client Manager Lauren Henrich. “I think the story is what separates them from some of the others – the history.”
The Brooklyn Brewery story is still being written, but for now it’s a story of shared success between a local business and its surrounding neighborhood. “Brooklyn is very much back,” said Ottaway. Added Henrich, “The word Brooklyn now is synonymous with cool.”