Hey there again! Back to blogging for me, but this time our subject matter is jumping all the way down I-87 to Clifton Park where we find Shmaltz Brewery. Have you been? It’s a massive and impressive space just off exit 10 where Shmaltz beer is produced and shipped all over the country. But things weren’t always done on such a large scale, and that’s what I’m tackling in this blog post. The history and origins of Shmaltz Brewing Company.
We start this 20 year journey back in 1996 in a small, unknown town of San Francisco California. Jeremy Cowan, the owner of Shmaltz, and his friends thought of a hilarious idea. Wouldn’t it be funny to have a beer named He’Brew? Of course it would! Quick side bar…over the years, Shmaltz would come up with some of the greatest beer names in the industry. Ask Jeremy about these names and he’ll be sure to tell you that beer is serious business and quality is of the utmost importance, but also….it’s BEER! Beer should be fun and maybe a little silly at times. If you can’t have a little fun with naming beer…you’re in the wrong industry.
But back to the history. So with this great idea, Jeremy and his friends hand-squeezed a bunch of pomegranates in his mother’s kitchen and brought the juice to a local brewery to “contract brew” this great new beer for them. Another quick sidebar…I know we just had one, but this is important. Contract Brewing is a lot what it sounds like. A larger brewery that’s already established itself, brews beer for smaller breweries that don’t have a brewery, or can’t make enough beer at their current brewery.
Now with this great new He’Brew beer all packaged in bottles, the guys had to sell it! Jeremy borrowed his mom’s Volvo and drove around hand selling and hand delivering the beer to accounts all over the San Francisco area. The beer was a hit! More beer was brewed and through various business connections and friends, Shmaltz began selling its contract brewed beer in Chicago and New York City! Eventually, the demand for beer became so big that operations were moved to the great state of New York. Offices were established in Brooklyn and the beer was contract brewed in Saratoga Springs. More He’Brew beer styles were added to the portfolio (more on that in another blog post) and Shmaltz began winning awards for their delicious beers. As time went on, Shmaltz beer began entering more and more states all over the country. Fast forward a few years and in 2013 Shmaltz Brewing opened it’s own brewery in Clifton Park where it brews not only it’s own beer and but now contract brews for other small breweries, coming full circle. Cut to today. Jeremy now lives in Troy, NY and Shmaltz now employs more people than I can count. They make over a dozen different beers for themselves and contract brew for a ton of new up and coming breweries. Shmaltz is distributed in 37 states across the USA…and it’s right in our backyard! I still really have a hard time grasping that.
If you haven’t been to the brewery and it’s tasting room, you need to check it out! There’s always beer on tap, comfy couches, games, and great music. You can order food to be delivered right there while you hang out. It’s great! Plus they have a store with a ton of fun stuff to bring home. There’s always fun events going on there too. Hours are Wednesday –Friday from 4-8pm and Saturday & Sunday 12-6pm.
Until next time!