The little town of New Glarus, a few miles from Madison, Wisconsin, has a brewery that will crank out 100,000 barrels of good craft beer this year, and will sell it all in-state. I have relatives in Rockford, Illinois, just a bit over the state line, who developed a taste for New Glarus Brewing Co.ales when they did sell in Illinois. A distributor problem arose and the brewery opted to forget interstate commerce.
Inside, however, is a modern plant that has just expanded a few months ago to the current capacity. That level of production will move New Glarus up the craft brewer rankings, past such regional stalwarts as Full Sail, Rogue, and Lagunitas.
Brewing is supervised by Dan Carey while the business side of the operation is run by his wife Deb Carey. She was quoted in an Associated Press story recently carried by the Seattle Times, "Craft Brewers Pull Back to Tap Local Thirsts" (page A10, 08/03/11). "The idea of continually expanding your footprint and then pretending you're growing your business, I just don't see it," she said. "How can you say you're growing your business if all you're doing is expanding your territory?" The lead item in this story was about how Flying Dog Brewing in Frederick, Maryland had pulled out of 13 states and was preparing to pull out of over 20 more, to concentrate on sales in the mid-Atlantic region.
I wore a New Glarus sweatshirt to the Washington Brewers Festival last June and got several comments from midwesterners (Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota) who wished they could get the beers here, or at least at home. But for now, one will just have to pick up bottles or visit a taproom in Wisconsin. Their flagship is Spotted Cow, described as a cloudy farmhouse ale. I tried the Moon Man Pale and Dancing Man Wheat, both with a lot of satisfaction.