Changes Made Now That Can Affect Your Future

Already one-twelfth through the year and that means thinking ahead to 2024 is already on the horizon. When Brewer stopped in to chat with the Hendler brothers — the three co-founders of Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers — in the late summer of 2022, the plan for 2023 was already laid out and thoughts toward 2024 were already happening.

Sometimes, looking back makes plans for success while looking ahead.

“I think the one failing we may have had is we’ve let too much R&D go to the Springdale side and not being focused enough on the Lager,” explained Jack Hendler. Jack’s Abby has been almost always Lager-focused from the start while the Springdale brand was for IPAs and other barrel-aged products. “I think that’s going to be my real focus for the next few years is R&D on the Lager front.”

Planning ahead is harder and harder, said CEO and co-founder Sam Hendler.

“We feel like we have a better shot at 2023 planning than we’ve had at the last few years, given the circumstances,” he said. “It’s not the most fun stuff to talk about, but the supply chain is a total mess.

“Whether that’s malted barley, or cans or cartons, that’s been really tough lately. It’s more and more important for us to be forecasting forward. We can secure a supply chain to support what it is we want to accomplish.”

That R&D focus can come in a few different directions, Jack said. Some of it will be in different styles that the brewery hasn’t done before. A lot of that inspiration has come from a book that Jack Hendler has been working on for the Brewers Association about Lagerbier.

“Being able to talk to a maltster in Illinois that has brought over heritage Czech Republic Moravian malts and is doing a unique malting process on those, and then being able to see what malt may have been like 100 years ago, and getting a better feel for how and why Lagerbier is what it is today,” Jack said. “That’s sort of a lot of what we’re writing about. Why is Lagerbier the way it is right now, particularly in Europe? How did it develop and, to explain how we’ve gotten to the point that we’ve gotten, and I’m really curious about using a lot of these heritage ingredients to try to actually get and ‘better understand’ the evolution of Lager over the last few 100 years.”

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