GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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April 30, 2007

Brewery grows by hops and bounds

Cape Ann’s sole brewery has taken the East Coast by storm, its beer sailing into the hands of connoisseurs from the black fly-infested swamps of eastern Maine and south across the Mason-Dixon Line.

“The way it’s been going lately, we’ve been running out,” said Cape Ann Brewing Co. president Michael Beaton, 42, who, with his business partner, brother-in-law and brewmaster Jeremy Goldberg, 31, boiled up the first batches of Fisherman’s Brew just three years ago.

“If things keep going the way they have, we may have to move to another building in a few years. We might even have to open another brewery in another state,” he said.

Production at Cape Ann Brewing has doubled every year, from the first year’s 295 barrels to last year’s 1,300 barrels. By the end of next month, almost 2,000 barrels of Fisherman’s Brew, India Pale Ale, ale and seasonal beers will have been brewed, kegged and bottled. A barrel is equivalent to 31 gallons, or two half-barrel kegs, which are the standard dispensing units under a commercial bar.

The problem with such rapid expansion, Beaton said, has been a chronic whistling for more beer from distributors wherever Fisherman’s Brew can be found. That is Massachusetts, Maine, New York, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., Virginia, Connecticut, Maryland and, later this summer, Rhode Island. Beaton and Goldberg just cannot seem to keep up with demand.

The eight conditioning tanks, four fermenters and one each of boiling and steeping kettles here in Gloucester simply are not enough to satiate beer drinkers’ craving for the brewery’s plenitude of selections. A couple of years ago, Goldberg and Beaton had to contract with nearby Mercury Brewing Co., makers of Ipswich Ale, to produce 60 barrels of beer for every 20 here in Gloucester. Mercury Brewing also does all the bottling of Fisherman’s Brew, whereas the Gloucester plant does only half-barrel and quarter-barrel kegs.

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