While local Alaskan beer news is a bit outside of my usual jurisdiction, this move should carry quite a bit of local and national interest. Gabe Fletcher, former head brewer at Midnight Sun Brewing Company, located in Anchorage, Alaska, has left the well-known brewery to open up Anchorage Brewing Company. Fletcher was with Midnight Sun for over 13 years and helped the brewery gain a reputation for producing outstanding, and often adventurous, beers. According to this piece from “Dr. Fermento” in the Anchorage Press, Anchorage Brewing will feature Fletcher’s passion for oak-aged and funky beers:
Every brewer dreams of making a brewery uniquely his or her own, and Fletcher is no exception. Fletcher’s real love in brewing comes from the production of oak-aged beers and according to Fletcher, Anchorage Brewing Company will produce only 100 percent barrel-aged, all brettanomyces-influenced beers that will be produced strictly in 750 ml wine-style bottles with cork and bail finish.
Fletcher’s reputation has helped to land him a spot in the portfolio of Shelton Brothers Importers (only the third U.S. brewery to do so), which will give him instant distribution across the country. But, he’ll be producing at small volumes and you’ll likely have to pay attention in order to land these releases.
Indeed, the operation will be small. “It’s going to be a one-man operation, cutting out all the overhead that a brewery has to deal with,” he says. “I’m just trying to knock out the overhead and dealing with employees.” Fletcher’s plans are to protract out a calculated 360 barrels a year, which is the equivalent of a scant 5,400 cases of wine-sized bottles of beer…
Fletcher hopes to have his first release out by February 2011. Check out the entire article for more details. Ben Johnson will take over as head brewer at Midnight Sun, and I’m guessing things won’t skip a beat. I’ll be looking forward to great beers from both breweries in the future.