Blog Episodes

Beer’d Brewing — Taking Stonington by Storm

This how Beerd Brewing began:

The reason I got into this, is the love of making beer. Putting a smile on someones face when they try a beer for the first time and saying “that’s phenomenal” is the most rewarding thing in the world for me. – Aaren Simoncini, Beerd Brewing

After leaving the accounting and finance world behind to follow his dream of a career in brewing, Aaren Simoncini stealthily launched Beerd Brewing Company on a 3 barrel brewing system. After years of toying with the idea and running a high-end homebrewing operation, along with some professional practice at Cottrell Brewing, he decided to make it a reality and Beer’d Brewing began its journey.

Located on the inside of an old factory building known as The Velvet Mill — which was literally a velvet mill used for importing and processing velvet in the late 1800’s — since, has been sold and converted into spaces for artists and small businesses to set up shop. One only has to look up at the rafters and admire the beautiful industrial structure that has withstood the test of time. It’s quite a unique building situated amidst rows of sea-breeze kissed properties, and over the years it has continued to be a valuable asset to the industrial and crafty operations within the seaside community.

Once you enter the main hall, past the huge open court which houses the farmers market during winter months, stands a recognizable logo painted on the side of a massive sliding fire door. If you happen to arrive before 1pm on weekends (prior to opening hours) a neatly assembled line begins to grow as eager customers wait for the fun to begin.

From the Get-Go

Last year during some downtime on a trip up to Boston, I had the chance to film a quick interview to capture Aaren’s story.  For my side project Brewfiles, I put together a video profile which captures the relatively early beginnings of what appears to be the powerful future of the craft brewing industry. People who get it and people who like being connected to their customers and the industry.

Being an accounting and finance major, I said let’s put some constraints on this business plan and not hope on the best. Let’s hope on the worst, and if I have to, I can use my own cash from my day job to keep this thing afloat. – Aaren Simoncini, On starting his brewery

Shaving the Way

Just slightly over a year from the production of the above Brewfiles video, expansion was well under way. What started out as a 3bbl brewery with 36bbl of fermentation space, quickly exceeded those expectations. At the time of the interview they were already going beyond their bbl/year prediction.

I recently caught up with Aaren in August to see how he was doing, and like visual music to my eyes, success was obvious at the brewery. According to the current stats, they have recently been certified for statewide distribution throughout Connecticut, minus one county. While they were formerly restrained to the 8-or-so initial draft accounts and on-premises growler filling now they can be found on 15 draft accounts with more planned via self-distribution.

If all goes according to plan, Aaren stated that they could potentially reach over 800 bbl for 2015 which is all scheduled to fit into the new space that’s almost 2,000 square feet, with a capacity of about 3,000 bbl. All things considered, that’s amazing growth for just over a year, specifically in a small town such as Stonington.

Riding the Wave

As easy as it seems, Beer’d Brewing looks to be making a splash far and wide, starting with Connecticut, and hopefully throughout the brewing scene with their uniquely hopped offerings. If you’ve never been to the brewery — you should go if you have, and have had a moment to chat with Aaren, you’ll know that he’s a humble guy, connected to the brewing scene and his customers.

It’s important for me to constantly be innovating. Unless my beers are getting 5’s or 100’s, it’s important to constantly be changing them. I want to be the best I can possibly be, not only for myself, but for the consumers. – Aaren Simoncini, Beer’d Brewing

Like other brewers with real passion, his grassroots beginnings in homebrewing indicate the skill involved and success to come. Additionally, the general interest in what people have to say about the beer (which by the way, is really good) will help maintain this growth track — so we can all continue to be happy campers with a Beer’d.

Past ↦ Present

For a recap, some of the major changes include (in no particular order):

  • Tasting room with full servings.
  • State-wide CT distribution, minus one county.
  • New 2,000 sq ft facility with up to 3,000 bbl capacity.
  • A super-cute English pointer puppy named Lilly (pictured above in all her cuteness).
  • More beer up to 56 in the rotation! more availability and a bright, hoppy, future.

Be sure to get your hands on some Dogs & BoatsHobbit Juice or 8 Days a Week if you’re in the Mystic / Stonington, CT area. It’ll be worth the trip.

Don’t forget to read more about Beer’d Brewing in the September issue #104 of Beer Advocate’s 9 Steps to Beerdom article featuring a photo by yours truly!

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