How Grey Sail’s Brinton is Reinvesting Back Into Company

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.

Alan Brinton, co-owner, Grey Sail Brewing — Westerly, Rhode Island

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?
BRINTON: 2023 was a year of great growth at the brewery — with that, of course comes additional logistics and building internal capacity. We replaced four older tanks, original to our operation, to four new 40 BBL tanks and upgraded our utility systems to support the new tanks. Any construction while operations are still in full swing is a challenge. We had to time the tie in of the new systems just right to ensure we didn’t interrupt our brewing schedule.

BREWER: What has been your brewery’s most recent accomplishment and how is it going to improve your business going forward?
BRINTON: In honor of our 12th anniversary, we installed a 59-megawatt rooftop solar array at the brewery. The panels will offset over 30% of our total electricity usage. The solar array adds to our other environmental efforts, including a CO2 capturing system, donating our spent grain to a local farm, and hybrid vehicles for our sales team. Not only are we lessening our footprint, we are saving on energy costs, so we can reinvest back into our operation.

BREWER: How did you start in the industry and why do you still want to be a part of it?
BRINTON: I am an engineer by trade, and enjoyed brewing at home. The idea of owning and operating my own brewery started to creep into the back of my mind. My wife and I took the leap in 2011, and haven’t looked back since. Our customers and our brewery team keep me coming back. Sharing our latest creation with them, helping the community, and cracking open a cold one with the team at the end of the day keeps me wondering how I got so lucky.

BREWER: What are you sippin’ on right now from your brewery that you really enjoy?
BRINTON: I will always be partial to Captain’s Daughter, our Double IPA. She’s bursting with tropical and citrus flavors. When I need a low ABV, I am reaching out for her twin, Little Sister, a Session IPA. 

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?
BRINTON: We have several different IPA styles from a laid-back IPA to our anniversary Triple IPA. This year, we’re focused on connecting with customers that might not think they like an IPA. We truly have something for every pallet.

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?
BRINTON: While we have some lighter offerings, we’re very excited to be launching a new light ale this spring. She’ll have a subtle sweetness, and being low in calories, perfect for a day at the beach or out on the water.

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