Aldrige Beer

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Craft Brewing Goes Public In August 1995, Paul Shipman, the CEO of Alridge Brewing (AB) prepared himself to enter uncharted territory. A craft brewing operation had never before been taken public in the United States, and he and his management team were about to do just that. Sure, there were massive large-batch breweries like Anheuser-Busch and Miller Brewing Company that were profitable, publicly traded firms—but there was something different about Alridge: it embodied the ethos and grassroots beginnings of the microbrew movement, and Shipman was confident that widespread market demand for craft beer was set to explode. He and the team had steadily developed their premium-quality handmade ales for nearly
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They also bought and cleaned up an old transmission shop in Seattle, and McElevey painstakingly reconstructed a recycled brewery that he located and had shipped from Germany. Many test batches and recipes later, the trio were happy with their first product and planned a grand opening on August 11, 1982—which was attended by both the mayor of Seattle and the governor of Washington State.4 Their marketing strategy was primarily word-of-mouth; they began their marketing campaign by reaching out to local restaurants, bars and brewpubs to carry kegs of their beer, which was delivered in early years by a single truck.5

-3Development of a Distinctive Beverage


AB beer was brewed by a special system that involved adding fresh hops to freshly milled grain, fermenting with proprietary yeast in a temperature-controlled vat and employing a filtration process. The bottled beer was not exposed to the air until it was opened by the consumer—and was hand-dated for peak consumption within 14 days. AB’s attention to the highest quality, traditional European brewing methods and locally sourced ingredients helped them to build a strong local reputation and loyal consumer following. Shipman wanted to control every aspect of the process, from the equipment used, the processes employed, to the people who brewed
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