We recently welcomed Jackie Rubbo of Yonkers Brewing Co. to Union Beer Distributors to give us the story behind their new upstart brewery in Yonkers, NY. The brewery is one of the newest to be apart of our ever-growing craft beer porfolio, and we're excited to share both their mission and their great beer!
· How did Yonkers Brewing Co. get started?
"My brother John and our friend Nick used to make wine with their grandfathers as kids, and one day they thought of making their own. Then, in January of 2014, they cracked open a beer and said, “why not make beer?” They brewed a few batches on their own and brought me on later to give them my honest opinion. It wasn’t too good at first. I told them they had a great idea, but not the skills. That’s when we hired Sharif Taleb as our Head Brewer, and he helped us to craft and execute our recipes. Later on, we formed a Kickstarter to help build our brewery and tasting room."
· What was your experience in using Kickstarter to launch your brewery?
"We wanted a place for the community to come together as well as a place to brew our own beer, so we worked with one of our friends to put the campaign together. They did a great job shooting and editing a fun video about the family, our good beer and the hardworking people behind it. And we had a lot of fun! Rewards included t-shirts, beer dinners and even the chance to make your own beer at the brewery. We ended up raising about $45,000, which was $10,000 more than our target goal. People donated $5, $100, even $2000 at a time. We're lucky to have the support of the community, and it was them that helped us reach our goal. I would recommend Kickstarter, even though it’s a lot of work, because of the passion that people showed for bringing the brewery to Yonkers."
· What Makes Yonkers Brewing different?
"Our story is really important to us and the brand, so we focus on making a personal connection. It started with two guys who started by making wine as kids, and then they brought everyone together to start a brewery. We’re a family-run business with every hand on deck- my dad is the kitchen manager, my brother Joe bartends, my mom helps us with events; everyone is part of the family at Yonkers Brewing Company. As for our beer, it’s really about how sessionable it is. Our motto is “Start here, end here”- it applies to both our family moving from Italy as well as starting and ending with a Yonkers beer. You can get to the bar after work and order a Yonkers Vienna Lager, and when you’re getting ready to leave, you’re still enjoying that Vienna Lager(another one of course!) It’s so drinkable and great tasting. We’re dedicated to the education, so we want to show people that Yonkers is easy on the palate, even if you’re having something like our IPA. That’s why we love our tasting room, so we can bring people over and taste tour our beers, because there are potential craft beer drinkers everywhere."
· How important is the Yonkers community to the Brewery?
"We’ve always be active in the community, all the way back to our days in grammar school together. We’re a family run business, and we bring the community together whenever we can. Now that we have more to give, we try and do as much as possible. We enjoy picking causes and supporting them with beer, hosting an event or by making a monetary donation. The tasting room is a centerpiece for the community, and we host a lot of events like growler painting, birthdays and even yoga. We’re all about beer education and we give free tours of the brewery all the time. The thing I’m most proud of is, although we give free tours of the brewery, we ask for donations to the Yonkers Animal Shelter, so they can help build playgrounds, buy food and other things for the animals they rescue."
· What do you think the future holds for Yonkers Brewing?
"We want to make sure people in our home markets know who we are before we start to spread ourselves thin in other markets. We want to reach Yonkers, the boroughs, Orange County and all the surrounding areas first, because it's all our home. It’s because of the people in those areas that Yonkers Brewing even exists, so they are our priority. We don’t want the day to come where someone down the street asks for a case and we have to tell them the last one has already been shipped across the country. Once we're established at home, then we'll start expanding to other areas."
Thank you to Jackie and the rest of the team at Yonkers Brewing for taking the time to share their story. Look for their Vienna Lager and Yonkers IPA on shelves soon!