What a short, strange trip it’s been.
In 2011 we launched Alchemy & Science with an amorphous concept of creating a “craft beer incubator” that would bring innovative craft beers to beer lovers near and far. Our “strategic plan”, if you can call it that, was to stay open to opportunities.
What we have created is a brotherhood of four distinct beer companies. We’ve bought two breweries (on opposite coasts), and we have created two from scratch. In the aggregate, we have brewed and served hundreds of different beers.
People ask about Alchemy & Science. OK, it’s an office where people work. Not so fascinating. The fruit of our work happens in our breweries and in the stores, homes, bars & restaurants where our beers are enjoyed.
The common denominator among all the breweries is simple: foremost – listen to the local market with focus on innovation and maintain an independent spirit. We function the way lots of families do. We live in different parts of the country, but we stay in touch, and we’re always available to support one another as we experience changes or rapid growing pains.
Most brewers who start a brewery find that getting just one off the ground is a full time job. For us, building four completely different breweries has created a terrific synergy. We share best practices, recipe ideas and innovations, and occasionally we will dispatch employees to a different brewery to help out.
So, here’s a quick recap of what we’ve been up to.
Angel City came first. We acquired the brewery and it’s location in the Downtown LA Arts District from its previous owner in 2012. What has evolved over the years is a Public House that serves as a community gathering place and a brewery that produces an incredibly diverse portfolio of world-class, award winning beer. Today we have year round and seasonal programs that have gone as far afield as creating a “white” stout, an Angel City Orange & Cocoa Stout and Sirachalada. In the beginning our beer was only available in the greater Los Angeles area, then in 2015 expanded to Las Vegas. In 2016 we brought Angel City’s creativity, culture and craft to the entire state of California.
Traveler Beer Company started in 2012 and is now available in all 50 states. The Traveler family of beers started with Curious Traveler, a refreshing lemon/lime shandy, and has expanded to include a wide variety of other styles. Traveler introduced a seasonal portfolio to help take Shandy beyond summer, which includes the ever-popular Jack-O Traveler Shandy brewed with real pumpkin. Furthermore, to correspond with the rising popularity of the grapefruit, a Grapefruit Shandy was launched in 2014 as a seasonal style. It became a clear hit, and before long transitioned to a year-round style, most recently becoming our lead style. And there’s more in the works for Traveler, with new limited seasonal variety packs in 2016 to help us stretch the imagination of what a Shandy can be.
Coney Island joined the Alchemy & Science portfolio in 2013. Initially Coney Island was only available in Metro New York. As word spread and popularity grew, we decided to take Coney Island’s lead styles, Mermaid Pilsner, Overpass IPA and others, to the greater Atlantic Coast, expanding into 7 new markets. In the fall of 2015 we finished construction of our Innovation Brewery located on Surf Avenue on Coney Island, and are now open for tours, tastings, beer development and more.
The new brewery opening wasn’t the only major thing to happen in 2015, we also launched a craft hard soda line, which introduced Coney Island Hard Root Beer to all 50 states in July, following it up with Hard Orange Cream Ale and Hard Ginger Ale in late 2015.
Concrete Beach Brewery broke ground in the up-and-coming Wynwood Arts District of Miami in 2013. The brewery and Social Hall officially opened with full fanfare in September 2015 with an official “towel cutting” by Mayor Rigalado and Blocktoberfest neighborhood party. Since then the Social Hall has become a gathering space for artists and community events. The local rhythm inspires the beer that is brewed, including innovations like Tropic of Passion Wheat Ale and Mojito Cream Ale. Concrete Beach beers are available in package and on draft at retail and on-premise locations throughout Miami-Dade and Broward Counties.
What’s next, you might ask? We are certain that we have enormous growth opportunities with the four brands we have now. We are not looking at acquisitions or at creating new brands. Distribution is expanding, as is packaging. Today’s drinkers want more than draft beer or the classic 12 ounce bottles. At Angel City we offer a 22 oz bottle, and in Miami, we have installed a canning line. These extensions allow us to play in a bigger sandbox, if you will, and expand in response to local preferences and opportunities.
Well, wonder of wonders . . . we are happy that having started Alchemy & Science in 2011 with no specific strategies or goals, we can now say with confidence that we exceeded our wildest dreams. We have brought new drinkers into the craft category. We have created cherished “home town brews” for three cities. We have maintained our commitment to innovation and independence. We have lots more growing to do. We hope you’ll be along for the ride as we firmly believe the best is yet to come. Onward …..