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MankerBeer Meets: Pre-CBC: Edward Westbrook/Westbrook Brewing Co.

Photo: flickr.com/photos/chrys/

Photo: flickr.com/photos/chrys/

Tomorrow we head for Copenhagen to stroll around until Friday and the start of Copenhagen Beer Celebration. Before we properly can start celebrating we have to complete our interview series, so here is one of the two last interviews – this time with Edward Westbrook, the young and ambitious home brewer how decided he wanted to start his own brewery and who then made sure it was built from scratch. Last year they celebrated their 1 year anniversary and this second year in the business have started off well. For being such a young brewery it’s amazing to be able to find beers such as their White Thai (love it with food) and IPA all the way across the water pool and over here in Sweden. So, fellows, time to get your CBC groove on, meanwhile – here is Edward!

 

MankerBeer (MB): Being relatively young and with little experience of commercial brewing you decided to build and open your own brewery, Westbrook Brewing Company – tell us about yourself and how you ended up building your own brewery.
Edward Westbrook (EW): I started homebrewing in college back in 2006, continued all through graduate school. After that I decided that I wanted to open my own commercial brewery, so I somehow (still not really sure how!) convinced my family that I wouldn’t lose all their money if they invested in me. That was in 2009, then we started planning the construction and everything and finally opened in late 2010.

MB: You attended last year’s Copenhagen Beer Celebration and quickly became one of the breweries on everyone’s lips with a mixture of rather uncommon classic beer styles and high class hoppy beers as well as one of my favorites Mexican Cake. What is the process when coming up with the idea of a new beer; is it driven by your own preferences at the time or any personal brewing philosophy?
EW: Mostly it’s what we want to drink! Our favorite beers are really fresh hoppy pale ales, sours, saisons, and of course weird barrel-aged stuff, so that’s pretty much what we brew! Some beers like the White Thai and Mexican Cake are based on flavor combinations found in our favorite foods.

MB: The brewery opened just a few years ago – how has the experience been so far and what are the goals for the future?
EW: It’s been awesome! Our goals are to expand a little bit (but not get too big) and keep brewing really cool stuff.

MB: Back in November I read that ‘Westbrook’ were to be distributed in Georgia and in Denmark we can find the IPA and White Thai (both available in Sweden) as well as some of the rotating beers such as Vanilla Tree Dubbel and Dark Helmet. In relation to the brewing capacity, how much is exported and what room is there for new markets?
EW: Last year I think about only 3% of our production was exported. Last summer we doubled our cellar capacity which really gave us a lot of room, and right now we are distributed in SC, Alabama, Georgia, and NYC, in addition to Europe

MB: CBC is not only for the beer drinkers but also a meeting platform for the brewers – what were the peaks of being here last year?
EW: Meeting and talking with the other brewers, and of course getting to experience the Danish craft beer culture! It was surprising to me how many of the beer fans at the festival already knew about us.

MB: You have already made collaborations with Danish/American Evil Twin, Brian Stillwater and Charleston Beer Exchange but if you could choose any collaborator and beer to brew – what would they be?
EW: Tough one, I don’t really seek out breweries/people to collaborate with purposely, but if somebody has a good idea and they want to do something I’m all for it!

MB: South Carolina is neither that big, nor populated with tons of breweries – what is the beer scene like in South Carolina?
EW: It’s growing really fast, but still a long way to go! Until 2007 there were only around 3 breweries in the whole state, now we have somewhere around 12, with 4 or 5 also planning to open soon. Unfortunately the laws in SC are really bad for breweries, for example we can’t even serve pints to our customers that come here – it has to be in tiny little 4 oz glasses!

MB: What advice would you offer everyone who are dreaming of opening up their own brewery?
EW: Make sure you have a lot of money to spend and that your beer is really really good. If it can’t stand up against the best beers already out there, you’re going to have trouble!

MB: What should beer fans at Copenhagen Beer Celebration really not miss?
EW: Besides the beers, they should definitely try and talk to the brewers as much as possible. A lot of us are traveling a long way to be there and we want to hear from the fans!

Thank you Edward, now lets check out what he is bringing to Copenhagen!

Westbrook CBC Beer List:

  • 2nd Anniversary Cap’n Skoon’s Ballistic Stout
  • Brandy Old Time
  • Grumpy Old Time
  • Funky Old Time
  • Bearded Farmer: Thomas
  • Comrade Appleseed Apple Brandy BA Imperia l Stout
  • Shane’s Big DIPA
  • Bourbon BA Quad
  • Mexican Cake 1st Anniversary Imperial Stout

Magnus "Manker" Björnstjerna

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