A Partnership Worth Building for Two Veteran Breweries

duclaw brewing

Heading into his 20th year with Raven Beer, Stephen Demczuk is calling an audible.

The veteran Baltimore-based brewery is teaming up with DuClaw Brewing for a variety of reasons. Many show how the world for craft beer is changing and how creativity and partnerships have become an accepted norm.

Demczuk cited increased purchasing power in buying packaging and ingredients; cross marketing the DuClaw and Raven Beer brands along with collaborations that will be easy to do in-house for the two brands along with having future business ties.

“We already have common suppliers and distributors,” he explained. “Also, the future craft beer market is unpredictable and combining forces only strengthens us in the market.”

It’s a way to help both breweries drive down the cost and help increase margins.

Demczuk noted that it’s a way to survive any potential future shake up in the business. Couple that with a larger facility, larger tanks and the ability to brew larger and more efficient batches helped along in the deal.

“The entire team at DuClaw is delighted at the addition of esteemed Baltimore-based, Raven Beer in our brewery,” said DuClaw’s Dave Benfield. “We are excited at all of the collaborative opportunities.”

Demczuk believes that with the booming and competitive state of the craft beer market this move to DuClaw will only strengthen its position in the marketplace. With some 80 breweries in Maryland, Demczuk thought to be proactive and seek out a partner where both parties would mutually benefit.

Raven Beer had been brewing at the Peabody Heights Brewery — which it helped build — along with a group of other independent breweries in the Maryland area. Raven Beer will have the opportunity create more beer along with DuClaw, which made around 35,000 barrels in 2016.

Joining Demczuk in the move is veteran Brewmaster, Ernie Igot, Igot — who started at Raven Beer in 2005 — is now the head Brewmaster for DuClaw’s operations.

Igot has brewed for 37 years, is German trained, brewed in Germany and ran brewing operations at San Miguel in the Philippines.

“For Raven Beer we primarily do German styles,” Demczuk said. “Ernie is very knowledgeable in such styles and has lots of experience. The change to DuClaw makes the transition of production of our beers to theirs smooth with Ernie on board.”

Raven Beer will continue producing its seven brands at DuClaw’s operations. Raven Beer plans a special release of their signature The Raven Special Lager, as are other specialty brews and ‘one-offs’ in the near future.

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