Widowmaker Brewing: Cosmic. Brooding. Metal AF
Posted on: 06/30/23 12:30 PM
Cosmic. Brooding. Metal as F. There are a lot of things that can be discussed when it comes to the company we keep in Widowmaker, and to be honest, at the end of the day the verbiage may only speak to some of it. In the late Summer, early Fall the dreams of the Lavery family became reality, and I was standing in an undefined taproom, with absolutely zero personality or heavy metal regalia, wondering just what I had signed up for.
As it turns out, the end result was a truly stand out brewery making some amazing beer, highlighting an underappreciated metal and doom rock scene. Their flagship beer offering in Blue Comet has catapulted the brand to a fan favorite locally, with many looking for it more regularly than Lawson’s Sip of Sunshine or Mighty Squirrel’s Cloud Candy. If hoppy beer isn’t your bag, the brand also has a hand in well made lagers, inventive sours, and some next level stouts.
The summer has just started, but it feels like with a new location eyeing an opening in days or possibly weeks in Brighton, this could be the summer of Widowmaker, and our chalices remain ready to be filled. Skal!
1. The cat is out of the bag on the expansion in place, so first off congratulations! With the move to Brighton, a large stack of questions arise. Will the expansion lead to any changing in the way you guys have done your distribution methodology, event planning and hosting or specifications on how the two breweries will coexist and feed harmoniously off each other?
Widowmaker: Thank you! We are very excited for this opportunity to grow our brand in a way that also allows us to add some capacity while also being able to open a second location to connect with beer lovers in an area that means a lot to us. Our distribution model will not change as far as function is concerned, in the state of Massachusetts we are distributed by Homegrown statewide and that will continue. The added capacity may contribute to the added amounts of liquid that we are able to send into the market, but time will tell on that one. We are looking at Brighton as an R & D facility that will help us scratch some creative itches while also building on what we have created in Braintree. Our goal is to continue to grow our customer experience and expectation of what Widowmaker can be, how that lends itself to distribution we will let time show us.
We are always trying to provide a great customer experience. Braintree has been great for many things, but we are really excited about the flexibility Brighton will give us… For sure in conjunction with our partners from Bone & Bread we see the possibility for private events becoming a much easier package to offer customers where in Braintree there are many services we have to hire out should we hold weddings, corporate meetings, large private gatherings and so on.
2. The world of craft beer is almost dizzying with the effort going into almost incessant barrages of collaboration beers. In relation to that, how is it that you guys are able to do them at a reasonable rate without any eye rollers? From the Earth collaboration, the cheeky Clairvoyant Crown, or the numerous pop-ups and concerts you’ve hosted, it’s clear the collaborations are less lip service than true passion projects.
Widowmaker: 100%… I can’t speak to how it works for others, but I know for Widowmaker there truly needs to be a connection with whoever we decide to collaborate with. Your point about the barrages of collaborations in craft beer has made the consumer weary of what a collaboration truly is. We try to avoid the arranged marriage collab and the wouldn’t it be great to have their logo next to ours collab… if there is an opportunity for us to learn, grow, or showcase another brewer, band, or artist that we have built a connection with that is when we get excited to work on something together.
When I was homebrewing in my basement and when we are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays we were and are listening to the music you hear in the taproom so when you see a collab with Earth or them playing at our taproom that is us doing what we want to do and hoping people are into it. As far as Clairvoyant Clown goes… I mean there is no one cooler in music than Brann Dailor, that dude is down to talk beer, cartoons, music, sports… he is open to all thing’s life brings up… he has opened his house to us and become a real friend… everyone should support everything Brann Dailor does because he puts his all into everything he does and yeah… Mastodon rocks.
3. From the beginning of Widowmaker, the beers always held promise and nuance in spades, but with the movement of Chris to head brewer, the beer as a whole has shined, leading to amazing customer reviews and consistency most local breweries could only hope to achieve. For you guys, what has Chris and the brewing team stepping up as the years have passed meant to Widowmaker as a whole?
Widowmaker: Chis is amazing, he is easily one of the best things that has ever happened to Widowmaker. Chris instantly made me a better brewer and in turn he has always pushed himself to become a better brewer. So, whenever we add someone to the team the first thing we look for is someone who brings a skill that makes our strengths get stronger and our weaknesses become strengths, our goal is to always make the room stronger. That is what happened when we added Chris and with the addition of new employees that’s the blueprint. At the end of the day, it says Widowmaker on the label, we are a collective with a lot of talent that is better when we are all rowing in the same direction.
4. The Devil’s Staircase made its return from hibernation about two weeks ago. The goal of the return seems to put the idea of two year round, readily available options in stores with both Staircase and Blue Comet. What was the onus for pushing Staircase as the low ABV crusher of choice, and does this lead to any other thoughts about “year round, constant distribution beers” being a thing for Widowmaker?
Widowmaker: Well, we sort of had 2 year-round beers in Blue Comet and Ecstasy of Gold. Both are beers we love making, drinking, and sold well for us. We always were explaining the difference between the two and to the average beer drinker/consumer they were seeing similar hops, similar abv, same style, so as Blue Comet began demanding more tank space, we made the call to let Blue Comet win the race and reevaluate what our second consistently available option should be. The Devil’s Staircase kept coming back up, we loved that beer, and it sold really well for us on draft and in cans here at the taproom… we love the idea of a low abv that actually packs the flavor and power of a higher abv beer and no beer in our mind does this better than The Devil’s Staircase.
So, in the end we tapped Arik Roper to create another amazing label for us and in my opinion he knocked it out of the park and we are psyched to see this beer become a staple of Widowmaker just as Blue Comet has!
5. As a company that’s local, there’s a lot of unfortunate lip service and performative acts, but one of the truest things that sets you guys apart is how true and open you are to the local community. With the Brighton space acquisition, many brands would high tail out from their roots. What keeps you guys so invested in giving back, and also maintaining true roots to where you started?
Widowmaker: We are never going to change who we are… There aren’t a lot of people behind the scenes here at Widowmaker and the ones that are there have no interest in pretending to be something they are not. I am sure we rub some people the wrong way and can come across as unpolished at times but who cares… we own and run a brewery and we learned early-on its way more fun if you do it your way so that’s what we are going to do.
6. If you could set up the best music festival, pick one band active and inactive you’d include. Also, an album you can’t stop listening to!
Widowmaker: We already started the best music festival with Hopsmokerfest. I am very excited to keep making that an important thing that continues to grow over time. One active band we would love to host would be a band we are working behind the scenes on something with in Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats and non-active I mean it would have to be a band we reference all the time, Black Sabbath.
For the month of July, Gordon’s Brewing will be featuring fresh Widowmaker offerings including the wonderful Polychronic Bloom!
Matt Bevins • Beer Buyer
Visit gordonswine.com for products, events and more!
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