Finding ways to expand in beer culture, an exchange in ideas, and possibly overseas business, is what was on the mind of Eric Wallace of Left Hand Brewing.
For the first quarter of 2017, an exchange program between the Longmont, Colorado brewery and Italy’s Birrificio Italiano has seen a swap in brewers.
“While the universal truths of brewing are evident across craft beer, we are looking at our different processes and techniques across brewing and operations, to gain insight and explore new ways to address challenges,” Wallace told Brewer. “For Birrificio Italiano, there is interest in how we coordinate our supply and demand with greater brewery operations, [and] forecasting our sales to plan our production schedule.
“For Left Hand, we look forward to learning about their different operating style, work with spontaneous fermentation, the barrel program, and how their pub works.”
Left Hand has welcomed Francesca Guzzetti into the Left Hand fold while Henry Myers has made his way to Como, Italy, the home of Birrificio Italiano.
Wallace and Birrificio owner Arioli Agostino have known each other for 15 years, each having been in the craft beer business for 20-plus years, and visiting across their travels. They have discussed how they can work together and foster a partnership.
This “Brewer’s Exchange,” also called a “Sharevolution” is the first step in providing an exchange of knowledge and familiarizing each team with each other,
“But we hope for continued collaboration and networking,” Wallace said.
There is also potential for distribution and relationship building.
“We are able to help Birrificio Italiano with their U.S. distribution, and vice versa, Birrificio Italiano can help with introductions to the Italian market and distributors,” Wallace said.
With distribution in 8 countries outside the U.S. and additional markets in development, Left Hand continues to support the culture of craft beer while seeking opportunities to improve the beer drinkers’ access to a wide variety of high quality, flavorful beer.
“Our partnership with Birrificio Italiano goes beyond the exchange of knowledge,” Wallace added, “opening the door for continued collaboration in a number of different ways, on both sides of the Atlantic, by learning from each other and in furthering independent craft brewers’ efforts to make the world a better place by expanding the reach of great beer.”
Guzzetti has been keeping notes of her journey at Left Hand via a blog on the brewery’s website.
“I am in awe of the overall size and automation at Left Hand,” she wrote, noting she comes from a brewery with an annual barrelage of 6500 hectoliters (about 5,500 barrels).
“So it is now fascinating to be at a brewery, with 10 times the employees and 14 times the barrelage,” she said, noting that the system she works on back home is less automated and more hands on.
“At my brewery, I am used to turning off the light and saying goodnight to the beer. Here – things continue, the baton is passed,” she said. Yet, she said she could recognize the universal truths of brewing.
“[Brewers are] … people who love what they do, and love drinking what they brew,” Guzzetti said. “I feel the same craft beer spirit with the greater Left Hand team, each enthusiastically working on a different piece of the puzzle, a part of a greater team. This is how you find yourself crossing an ocean, working at a structure which is a number of times bigger than your habitual workplace, and still you feel at total ease… You feel at home, and throughout your day you meet a range of familiar characters I immediately recognize.”