In fashion true to the collaborative reputation of the craft beer industry, two Boston-area beer companies are working together to jointly expand their operations.
A new deal between Cambridge Brewing Co. (Cambridge, Mass.) and Mystic Brewery (Chelsea, Mass.) will see equipment trade hands in exchange for production assistance.
Pressed for space at its own brewpub, Cambridge will house newly acquired equipment – including a used brewhouse from acclaimed Vermont brewery Hill Farmstead, oak tanks and barrels – in Mystic’s facility per the terms of the agreement. In turn, Cambridge will have access to the equipment and a bottling line made specifically for bottle-conditioned beers, one that Mystic recently installed.
The deal came about as Cambridge was toying with the idea of building out its own brewpub to fit the new equipment. The brewery soon learned that Mystic had the space, but not the gear.
“[Mystic co-founder Bryan Greenhagen] had something that we needed and we had something that he needed,” said Phil Bannatyne, founder, Cambridge Brewing. “The synchronicity was too overwhelming to ignore.”
Cambridge will increase production of offerings from its barrel program as a result of the partnership, and begin bottling and distributing beers that were previously available only on-premise at its brewpub.
“We’d purchased a new brewhouse and gear but did not yet have a location for it, and we only wanted to use it to brew a limited amount of beer annually,” added Will Meyers, brewmaster, Cambridge Brewing. “This opportunity and our mutual expertise will improve control over the production of very challenging beer styles.”
Mystic is, in effect, purchasing the equipment from Cambridge and paying off the ‘debt’ by renting the brewery space back to share, according to Bannatyne.
For Mystic, the deal will enable the company, which was founded in 2011, to “vastly expand” its production of saison and traditional wild ale offerings.
“These kind of beers require patience and fortitude and it’s a long process to get genuinely traditional production flowing,” said Greenhagen. “The opportunity to build our dream brewery and at the same time help expand one of the founding barrel programs in the United States is humbling and extremely rewarding.”
Mystic said it’s a step towards reaching its stated goal of becoming one of the country’s largest dedicated producers of Belgian-style sours and wild ales.
The upgraded facility, which is expected to be up and running by May, will also feature 1,000 barrels of wood fermentation and aging capacity as well as a traditional copper coolship.
Bannatyne would not disclose the financial terms of the deal, though no ownership stake in either company is being exchanged.