Brewing in Glass? Yes, Says Outsider

When you think of beer glassware, an image comes to mind. Outsider Brewing has shattered that notion. Creating its own glass system, the Asheville-area brewery has been open for just more than a year and owner Julian Arena is the focus on this patented system in the latest Last Pint for the September/October print issue of Brewer.

But we spent a lot of time talking to Arena and couldn’t share it all in a one-page article. Something that could seem concerning would be light-struck issues and Arena said a lot of thought was put into that.

“That was a huge puzzle,” said the company’s co-founder “We had to think of how it is going to take to orient the rooms so it never received direct sunlight. 

“Being a startup, we have a limited budget. So our space choices are limited. We found a cool space and it ends up being the perfect orientation for what we’re trying to do.”

Arena said the walls of the rooms that the glass fermentation chambers are in, are set perpendicular to the path of the sun outside the window. 

“They never receive direct light,” he said. “Then every light bulb in the room itself is a light amber lightbulb, which doesn’t emit the wavelength that causes light struck. So your eyes adjust when you’re in the room, but you don’t really see it until you walk outside just how yellow the light is in here.” 

A “fun fact,” Arena said, is that most people don’t know that the light-struck compounds don’t form in the brewhouse. 

“It’s only in the presence of a bunch of riboflavin apparently, according to the research,” he said. “That really is mostly on the fermentation side. So it really only becomes sensitive to the light once the yeast has become active. So having the system out front and center is no problem. It’s just the fermentations and obviously post-packaging that you need to be worried about protecting.”

The brewery showcases its entire brew day while open, so consumers can hang out and see the entire thing while sipping on what’s already been made. 

“Anyone can can sell your beer over the counter, anyone can spend a bunch of money and make a really pretty tacker,” Arena said. “If Tony’s up on the brew deck, and he’s brewing a beer he’s passionate about and he wants to tell you about it. There’s no replacement. It is just a one-of-a-kind thing because it’s about people. And I think that that is an untapped resource in this industry. It is all about relationships. And I do think that the most successful breweries understand it. I think we just took that concept and took it to the extreme and made it hyper-focused on the staffing experience.”

Arena said if a brewer or brewery wants to know more or see the process, he welcomes them to come to Asheville and collaborate in this space and capture a snapshot of brewing culture on a brew day. The brewery has started 4th Wave Craft to help make more systems for sales.

READ MORE: 4th Wave Craft Looks to Make Imprint on Brewing Culture

Read the entire Last Pint article in the September/October print issue of Brewer, which will arrive in your mailbox soon!

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