Page 25 - Wallingford Magazine Issue 23, Summer 2019
P. 25

 Craft Brewery Hub: Wallingford!
by Bob Birdsey
Whether you are a beer geek, curious local consumer or just one who likes to try new or different things, Wallingford now has three craft breweries that are sure to whet your imagination – and thirst!
Beginning with Dave Durant’s Cliffside Brewing on Center Street in 2017, followed by Front Porch Brewing on North Plains Industrial Road later that year, and most recently by Center Street Brewing Company on Wallace Avenue behind Archie Moore’s, these breweries have already cap- tured a large and dedicated local following and vaulted our town into a hub of Connecticut craft brewing
While beer has been brewed for thousands of years, the craft brewing industry has only been building for about 30 years. The United States craft beer industry now includes over 5,000 local breweries that make small, usu- ally hand made, batches of full flavored diverse styles of beers and ales. Con- necticut has 80 or more such breweries already.
What happened?
For many years, the beer market had been dominated by the popular but similar tasting pilsner style beers offered by Budweiser, Miller and Coors. In the 1970s and 1980s several individuals, including Jim Koch (Sam Adams) and Fritz Maytag (Anchor Steam) felt there was an opportunity to sell a wider vari- ety of flavorful beers with distinct character.
Jim Koch graduated Harvard with an MBA and got a job with a consulting firm in Boston. He was a beer lover, but felt American breweries were produc- ing inferior product. According to legend, he quit his consulting job and began brewing beer in his kitchen, using a family recipe handed down from his great- grandfather and selling it to local bars and restaurants. Jim became a craft beer pioneer and great marketer and is often regarded as the founding father of the craft beer industry.
Fritz Maytag, of the very successful Maytag family, was looking for a business outside of the appliance business when he learned that the small Anchor Steam Brewery in San Francisco was failing and up for sale. This brewery had produced colorful local beer for years, but had problems they could not afford to fix. Fritz saw a challenge and an opportunity to apply the Maytag philosophy for
quality to the business, invested some of his family fortune, and turned the business and brewery around, introducing many new customers to locally made beers. He later became a cheerleader for other small breweries as the craft brewery industry began to grow. Like Jim Koch,
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