How can you say no to these faces?
Smuttynose making a comeback after foreclosure sale
Union Leader Correspondent
June 22. 2018 12:48AM
HAMPTON — Smuttynose Brewing Company in Hampton is undergoing a renaissance after financial struggles led to a foreclosure sale in March.
Since taking the helm, CEO Richard Lindsay says he has been listening to employees and customers with the goal of staying true to the brand while kick starting innovation. More events for the public and in-house brewing competitions are bringing the company back to life.
Lindsay said they are investing $2 million in a canning line that will take a year to build at their historic Towle Farm Road location in Hampton.
A $300,000 interim line is already producing Blueberry Weisse. Plans are to can FinestKind and Hazy IPA soon.
A new 30-gallon small batch system for experimentation is helping brewers create new products to be served during tours and next door at Hayseed Restaurant.
“The brewery really hasn’t come up with new products in the last few years,” Lindsay said. “Now, we can just play. We can do a bunch of new stuff.”
That encouragement of creativity is music to the ears of Greg Blanchard of Lee. He is the brewery operations manager and has been employed at Smuttynose for 20 years.
Blanchard is grateful Runnymede Investments took over the company and has given them opportunities to try different things.
“The magic is back,” Blanchard said. “It’s a dream come true because no one knew what was going to happen.”
Blanchard left a career in the restaurant industry after he began homebrewing and realized how happy it made him. He applied for jobs at the handful of local brewers in the area and eventually took a part-time job on the Smuttynose bottling line in February of 1998.
Wednesday, Blanchard was looking forward to the July 16 in-house brewing competition. He said it is very competitive, but he wouldn’t disclose much about his team’s entry.
Lindsay said they are also focusing on more ways to attract people to their location for the Smuttynose experience. He envisions festivals and families spending time picnicking on the new menu items coming to Hayseed Restaurant July 4.
“I’m convinced if they come, they will want to come back,” Lindsay said.
On Wednesday evening, the brewery hosted Yappy Hour for the New Hampshire SPCA from 6 to 8 p.m. Cars were lining the street by 6:30 p.m.
From every pint sold, $1 was donated to the SPCA.
Matt and Roxane DeZazzo, of Hampstead, brought 6-year-old Buster to Yappy Hour.
“I think it’s nice dogs can come. It’s a good fundraising experience,” Matt DeZazzo said.
Amy Rybczyk, of Manchester, is the owner of Gunther’s Goodies and was there with her treats made from beer grain, peanut butter, flour and eggs.
“We always like to give back to the community and dog rescues are our favorite,” Rybczyk said.
For more information about upcoming events, visit www.smuttynose.com.
To learn more about upcoming Yappy Hours, visit www.nhspca.org/yappy-hour.
By Max Sullivan
Posted Jun 25, 2018 at 7:07 PM
Updated Jun 26, 2018 at 11:33 AM
HAMPTON – A new IPA from Smuttynose Brewing Company’s experimental branch is being launched this week as the company’s new ownership works to revitalize the brewery’s brand.
Lady Stardust, made by the Smuttynose subset Smuttlabs, will be introduced Saturday at 11 a.m. at the company’s campus at 105 Towle Farm Road for a brewery-exclusive release, sold in four packs of 16 ounce cans, the brewery announced Monday.
The night before the release, Smuttynose will hold an exclusive preview of Lady Stardust from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. in the field behind the barn. There will also be a “starlit stroll” from 8:15-9:00pm along the Smuttynose Disc Golf Course, which will end at a bonfire in the field where pints of Lady Stardust will be served, according to a Smuttynose press release.
Smuttynose CEO Rich Lindsay, who took over after Runnymede Investments bought Smuttynose in March, has said the company’s rebound from financial difficulties would result in the production of new beers. The brewery was put up for auction in March, founder Peter Egelston citing industry changes like the recent boom of microbreweries as key factors in Smuttynose’s financial struggles.
Smuttynose described Lady Stardust as a “delicate IPA with mild bitterness and tropical fruit aromas: pineapple, citrus, mango, and just a dash of pear.
“Its beautiful golden haze comes from hops, flaked wheat, and flaked oats. Lady Stardust features a myriad of hops: el dorado, amarillo, citra, hüll melon, ekuanot, and madarina bavaria all combine beautifully in this easy sipping IPA,” Smuttynose stated Monday.
Smuttynose said fans can expect to see more fresh styles coming soon from the brewery, like tropical double IPAs, raspberry milkshake beers, and hoppy goses.
Head brewer of Smuttlabs, Charlie Ireland, said he is looking forward to the future of the brand, citing Lady Star Dust as a major re-launch of Smuttlabs beers.
“Although I am captaining the creative foundation of the new Smuttlabs beer concepts, I am excited to work in collaboration with my team of brewers to create the best product possible,” said Ireland. “This collective mentality is what Smuttynose strives for in our creative process.”
By Max Sullivan
Posted Jun 28, 2018 at 11:57 AM
Updated Jun 28, 2018 at 6:16 PM
HAMPTON — Smuttynose Brewing Company’s experimental branch Smuttlabs is making its return this week with its first new release since the creative line stopped production last year.
Lady Stardust, a New England style IPA named for one of Smuttlabs head brewer Charlie Ireland’s favorite David Bowie songs, will be introduced Saturday at 11 a.m. at the company’s campus at 105 Towle Farm Road for a brewery-exclusive release, sold in four packs of 16-ounce cans. It will be the first of what Smuttlabs hopes will be a monthly series of experimental beers sold at the facility as well as in some exclusive locations, according to Mariah Scanlon, brand manager of Smuttlabs.
Ireland, who has headed Smuttlabs since it launched in 2014, said he was always confident the experimental operation would start making beer again. The company began curtailing new releases in recent years due to financial struggles that led to the sale of Smuttynose, founder Peter Egelston said this year. New CEO Richard Lindsay has said new products would come as part of the brand’s revitalization.
“I’m really excited to get out there and be expressive with some new beers in the market,” said Ireland.
Ireland said he is a music lover and has always equated the creativity that goes into brewing with that of music. He said “Lady Stardust” is one of his favorite songs from the Bowie album “Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.”
The beer’s flavor was chosen because Ireland said Smuttlabs had never made a New England-style IPA, the fruity flavor of which has become increasingly popular in the craft beer market. Smuttynose described Lady Stardust this week in a press release as a “delicate IPA with mild bitterness and tropical fruit aromas: pineapple, citrus, mango, and just a dash of pear.”
“It’s something we really hadn’t taken a shot at,” said Ireland. “I thought it could do well, and I wanted to go away from the traditional piney, kind of garlicky resinous hops that some people are using.”
Smuttynose on Friday will hold an exclusive preview of Lady Stardust from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. in the field behind the barn. There will also be a “Walk Among the Stardust” from 8:15 to 9 p.m. along the Smuttynose Disc Golf Course, which will end at a bonfire in the field where pints of Lady Stardust will be served, the company announced this week.
Smuttlabs was originally based in Smuttynose’s former location on Heritage Avenue in Portsmouth, but its team has worked in Smuttynose’s Hampton facility since it began working on beer ideas again earlier this year.
Ireland has been with the company for 20 years, working his way up from a job on the packaging line to being made head brewer of Smuttlabs in 2014. He said running the team is an ideal job for a creative brewer, dealing with a small production system that allows interesting ideas to be tested out in ways not possible with a larger line.
“It was kind of unbelievable when it was offered to me. I was really excited and honored,” said Ireland.
Smuttlabs beers had potential in the past to become actual Smuttynose releases, which was the case with the Rhye IPA. Scanlon said whether Smuttlabs will be used as an incubator for the Smuttynose product line is yet to be determined.
The return of Smuttlabs is one of several changes coming to Smuttynose as part of its revitalization. Scanlon said Hayseed Restaurant, located on the Hampton campus, has acquired a smoker and will soon begin serving items like brisket, pulled pork and other southern barbecue favorites.
Smuttynose is also holding several events this year in hopes of making the most of its 13-acre campus, including a bluegrass festival July 28. It will also host Yappy Hour July 18, when $1 from each beer sold between 6 and 8 p.m. will go to the New Hampshire SPCA. Customers are encouraged to bring their pets while they enjoy a beer in Hayseed’s outdoor beer garden.
Ireland said the new owners have brought excitement to Smuttynose and helped foster a “family-oriented” work place. The company is also holding a July 17 home-brew competition among employees with teams working on beers to be judged by local brewers.
“I’m really excited to have new ownership on board. They’re great people,” said Ireland. “It’s an amazing place to work. It’s good to come here every day.”
Smuttynose was purchased by Runnymede Investments after being bought back for $8.25 million by The Provident Bank at a foreclosure auction in March. Lindsay said the focus during the first couple of months since the sale was on transitional matters like vendor and customer relationships, bringing in ingredients and packaging material, but also brewing beer.
He said Smuttynose has taken steps toward a return to innovation by adding a new pilot brewing system and an aggressive new product development schedule. He said the plan is for Smuttynose to stay true to its brand while also working to “kick start innovation.”
“It’s a competitive market and will take time, but with our focus on innovation, new products and creating experiences for people to enjoy Smuttynose, we anticipate significant growth,” said Lindsay.