A Brewmaster’s Secrets To Creating A Lasting Buzz For Your Brand

A Brewmaster’s Secrets To Creating A Lasting Buzz For Your Brand

Brewmaster is the third-best job title in the world. “The first is astronaut,” says Garrett Oliver, the brewmaster for Brooklyn Brewery since 1994. “The next is quarterback. But after that comes brewmaster.”

One thing that’s exceedingly clear to the group visiting Brooklyn Brewery during the Fast Company Innovation Festival is that Oliver is very good at his job. They are held rapt as he recounts stories of trekking to warehouse parties back when cabs wouldn’t go to Williamsburg; the history of industrialized food production; the rise, fall, and rebirth of craft brewing in the United States; and the merits of the Rolling Stones versus Elvis Costello. Oliver knows how to thread a narrative about the intersection of creativity and entrepreneurship—the lifeblood of Brooklyn Brewery.

From its beginnings in a Brooklyn apartment, the brewery founded by Steve Hindy and Tom Potter has since grown into a brand synonymous with craft beer. The company—which is the 12th-largest craft brewer in the U.S. by volume—now generates 50% of sales overseas and recently sold a 24.5% staketo the Japanese company Kirin to help fund ambitious expansion plans in Asia and South America. It’s also inked a deal to build a sprawling 77,000-square-foot facility in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. It’s one of thousands of businesses in the growing $20 billion craft beer industry, but it has separated itself from the pack by growing big while retaining the cachet of an artisanal small company.

Here’s how.


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