How Apollon Rises Above Challenges of Contract Brewing to Grow Copper Son

This is a part of a continuing series of Q&As with members of the brewing community from across the US. Brewer Magazine will share business and personal insights from Brewmasters, Head Brewers, Brewing Managers, Sales Directors, QCQA Managers and others each weekend to help you get to know each other better in the industry and learn more to better develop your own brand.

Roger Apollon Jr., Founder/Owner, Copper Son Brewing Company — New York City

BREWER: How have recent challenges in your position helped make you better? What were those “pain points” and how did you solve or adjust to the issue? 
APOLLON: Being a founder of a brewery that currently contracts at other breweries is extremely challenging! Managing brew schedules, distribution and promotion can seem like a never ending list of “do’s” that can, sometimes, make you feel like it’s impossible to accomplish it all. It forces me to stay in the moment and focus on the things that I can control. When that happens, I find I can connect more meaningfully with who ever is around me and build more authentic relationships. Ironically, slowing down actually makes the things you’re working on happen much quicker!

BREWER: What has been your brewery’s most recent accomplishment and how is it going to improve your business going forward?
APOLLON: Our beer is available online to 44 states in the US! That’s HUGE for us since we’ve got friends and family all over the country who now can get our beer sent directly to their homes. That means when people ask us, “How can we support?”, we can send them a link and they can show their love immediately!

BREWER: How did you start in the industry and why do you still want to be a part of it?
APOLLON: Over a decade ago, I started a beer tasting group in my dining room called “The Brew Council.” It was just a fun hobby that had a cool educational slant to it. Years later, I still want to introduce the next generation of beer drinkers to the wonders of craft beer! Why? Because I still believe that the conversations that happen around drinking really good craft beer can change the world.

BREWER: What are you sippin’ on right now from your brewery that you really enjoy?
APOLLON: My favorite right now is our Blues Dance Pale Ale! It’s my hommage to the great Bass Ale that I drank a lot of when I was a young man living in NYC in the early 90s. It’s a throwback to the classic, malt forward, English-style Pale Ale that I hopped with Chinook to give it a little bite at the end.  

BREWER: Be it in styles, ingredients, business strategies or sales & marketing techniques, what are some recent industry trends that you’ve tried or are excited about trying this year?
APOLLON: I’m ALL ABOUT the low ABV, meticulously brewed, Lagers and Pilsner that breweries like Suarez Family are doing right now! You can’t hide when brewing clean beers and I love tasting the “craft” again.

BREWER: What are some adaptations to business practices in the industry that you’ve observed over these past few years, and how has your brewery adjusted to stay competitive?
APOLLON: Again, I’m seeing a shift in breweries offering more low-ABV options and paying a bit more attention to Lagers and Pilsners.  It makes sense on the financial side as these beers tend to be cheaper to make. It also caters to the long-time “IPA head” who may be a bit tired (or is at an age to no longer handle) the Double and Triple IPAs that long held sway in their younger years. Our LeRoi Lager (4.7%) and Blues Dance Pale Ale (5.1%) are the beers you can sip on throughout the day.

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