​Can Your Brewery Survive Without An IPA?

With a recent trip to Charlotte, I was able to meet with a bevy of brewery owners — all in one day, I might add. Meeting with Lenny Boy founder Townes Mozer, who founded the now brewery as a non-alcoholic Kombucha producer in 2011. By 2013, Lenny Boy had matured into a full-fledged “fermentation center,” continuing with Kombucha, but adding a brewery as well.

Mozer ran me through the gamut of products available from the brewery’s 20-some taps and he explained how Citraphilia, the brewery’s IPA which outsells its other packaged brands 2-to-1, really sparked the growth from a 2,400 square-foot facility with an 80-gallon hot water tank as a liquor tank into opening a 32,000 square-foot production house.

So could a brewery, like Lenny Boy, grow and thrive if not for an IPA?

“I don’t think so,” Townes said. “I mean we will release new beers every week for the most part. Some of them are 20-barrel batches some, just 15 gallons … by and large a lot of them are IPAs or hop-forward beers. And if we don’t have a lot of IPAs or hop-forward beers on, a lot of people ask for them.”

He added that the Milkshake IPA trend is something Lenny Boy has followed and Mozer said when a new one goes on on tap, ‘then they’re the first ones to kick … even if it’s a 7-bbl batch and it’s just outta here. So they’re popular.”

Mozer believes the Charlotte market is really hop-forward because of the success of predecessors, like NoDa Brewing.

“You go to Greensboro and Raleigh and they’re more into your more standard styles,” he said.

That doesn’t mean Lenny Boy can’t cater to other consumers. The brewery touts itself as making a year-round Brown Ale along with fellow Charlotte brewery, Birdsong.

“The IPA craze is really interesting,” Mozer said. “But it will be interesting … I think Lagers and Pilsners and some of those things are starting to slowly trickle back in. But I don’t think the IPA is going to go anywhere.”

Photos Courtesy Lenny Boy Brewing

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