At the end of September, The Bronx Brewery celebrated its first anniversary with a party at Blind Tiger Ale House and the release of a new beer: a Zinfandel Barrel Aged version of its flagship Pale Ale (left).
It’s been an exciting year for the brewery, founded by General Manager Chris Gallant and Head Brewer Damian Brown. Its Pale Ale has been widely acclaimed, receiving a BevStar bronze award from Beverage World Magazine and most recently landing a spot in Time Out’s top ten drinks in NYC. Originally self-distributed by Gallant and Brown, the pair inked a deal with Union Beer Distributors in July, the same month that they were recognized by the city as Entrepreneurs of the Year. In August they brought on Sean McCain as sales director. Oh, and they’ve brewed some beer too: the flagship Pale Ale, a bourbon barrel aged version of the Pale Ale, a Rye Pale Ale, and the zinfandel aged Pale Ale.
Next up for the brewery: more beer (including canned Pale Ale) and a permanent location in the Bronx.
“We’re very happy with how far The Bronx Brewery has come since last September,” says Gallant. “Starting a craft brewery in New York City has been the most challenging project I’ve ever tackled, and seeing our beers at a growing number of bars and restaurants throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and now Westchester is wonderful.”
Gallant told BeerUnion that future brews include a Black Pale Ale, which they will release this winter, and more barrel-aged versions of the pale ale, possibly in Pinor Noir or Mezcal barrels.
He’s also looking forward to brewing in the Bronx. “We’ve spent the past year brewing as an alternating proprietor [at Cottrell Brewing Company in Connecticut]. It has been great way to get our beer into the hands of consumers and get our company off the ground with very little capital. But now we’re ready for the next step. We expect our brewery to be in production, churning out kegs of [beer] by Q3 of next year.”
Sales Director Sean McCain (pictured below at the first anniversary party with some Zinfandel Barrel Aged Pale Ale) signed on with Gallant and Brown in late August. He’d previously worked for Victory.
“When you are working with an established brewery, you are the image that was made from those who came before you. With a start up, you are creating that image. It’s pretty effin awesome,” McCain says. He explained that switching gears to a start up means you wear many hats – and there’s never a dull moment. “Today you are field sales, then packaging, then delivery, then back to field sales, then on to sales strategy, then marketing, then promotions, now office cleaner, then website developer, then your alarm goes off and you do it all over again.”
McCain noted that 2013 is going to be big for the brewery, with its beer launching in Brooklyn and Queens in January, canning the Bronx Pale Ale in the second or third quarter, and of course breaking ground on the brewery.
It’s certainly been a busy, but great year for the brewery, says Gallant. “Incredibly tiring, at times frustrating, very humbling, but in all, the most rewarding year I’ve ever had.”