USA, OR: Hubbleton Brewing Company prospering in Portland
A hobby that started in a basement, then to a front yard, has now turned into a full-time business for Dan Schey, owner of Hubbleton Brewing Company, hngnews.com reported on May 10.
Schey began brewing beer in the basement of his home in Waterloo in 1990.
In 1999, he purchased 40 acres of land along Hubbleton Road in the Town of Portland and built a house. With the extra land in front of his home, he began to think about what he could grow. In 2009, he planted his first hops crop in three acres of a former cow pasture. It is known as Arrowhead Hops where eight different varieties of hops are grown.
One acre can produce between 500 and 1,500 pounds of hops. They are dried, crushed into pellets and frozen in nitrogen-sealed bags for future use.
When the hops business took off, Schey helped form the Wisconsin Hops Exchange, a farming cooperative. It started with 11 hops growers and has now increased to 65 farmers. What hops Schey does not use for his own beer, the hops exchange distributes to micro brewers across the state and the Midwest. He serves as treasurer for the exchange and is on the board of directors.
He began home brewing beer in the basement of his home where he could make a half-barrel at a time. One thing led to another, which led to another, which led to another, Schey said.
In 2015, he applied for a federal brewer permit, which allows him to brew and sell his product. He brews about 200 gallons a year, and pays $7 a barrel in federal excise tax, $2 per barrel state tax, retail tax to the county and state tax for the tap room. There are a lot of regulations and it is very keenly watched, Schey pointed out.
After receiving a federal permit, he was approved by the State Department of Revenue for the microbrewery and then the Department of Trade and Consumer Protection for food products.
In early 2016, he began brewing beer in a shed he and his son, Mike, constructed on his property. Dan is a former industrial maintenance man and constructed most of the equipment in the shed used to manufacture and store his beer.
The metal shed contains a tasting room, cooler, brewing room and storage area all in one. There is a small bar, with barstools and six taps for people to try samples of the product.
It is a way for people to come out and see what we are doing, Schey said of his operations.
To date, there have been visitors from two foreign countries, nine states including Michigan, Minnesota, and from the Quad Cities, Scheys wife Lori pointed out. For some it is a vacation destination, Lori Schey, the accountant for the business, said. Two people have written about Hubbleton Brewing Company in their books, with signed copies on display in the tasting room.
Schey currently brews six types of beers, with more planned in the future including a hefeweizen. Each beer has a different recipe, but all items are locally grown. The three main ingredients for beer are malted barley, hops and water. The malted barley comes from Briess Industries, with operations in Waterloo. The glass bottles come from Milwaukee.
I experiment around and make my own style of beers, Dan Schey said. One of his favorites is the Crawfish River Porter. Another popular brew is Crooked Judge IPA. It is named after Levi Hubbleton, who in 1848 kept some of the fines he imposed on people. The area was named after him, Dan Schey said. I am a history buff as well, he said.
Fred the Moose is a double IPA, named after a white-elephant gift that has been around the family and now sits above the tasting area. Murphys Irish Ale is named after the family dog. There is also Hunstmans Breakfast, which has coffee and chocolate flavors, and Cattail Pale Ale, named after the cattails in the area.
I try to do a different beer every month, Dan Schey said.
Mike Schey is the brewerys full-time sales and marketing representative. He also works promoting the products to bars and grocery stores. About 95 percent of the product is sold wholesale, he said.
He also works with social media in promoting the product. He attributes the steady increase in popularity to word of mouth advertising. The business has received a lot of support from local residents. The business owners said they want to work with the community with tourism options.
Currently, the tasting room is open Fridays from 5 to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 1 to 5 p.m. Growlers of beer are available for purchase.
The next step for the entrepreneurs is to market the beer in six-pack bottles.
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