Jeremy Cowan, HE’BREW Shmaltz Brewing Company

Schmaltz Brewing Company
Jeremy Cowan, the founder of Shmaltz Brewing Company.


Jeremy Cowan delivered the first cases of beer from Shmaltz Brewing Company with his grandmother’s car in 1996. He had contract brewed 100 cases for Hanukah, hand bottled and hand labeled by all of his friends, and delivered to five grocery stores in Northern California by himself.

Schmaltz Brewing Company
Jeremy Cowan, the founder of Shmaltz Brewing Company.

“From there I self distributed for about a year, and then expanded to a couple of areas a year later,” explained Cowan. “And then we moved all the production from California to New York in 2003, and then this summer in 2013 we built our own brewery in Upstate New York.”

The brewery was officially opened in May 2013 in Clifton Park, N.Y. When asked what it was like to finally own his own brewery Cowan laughed and said, “Stressful.”

“It’s been an amazing summer,” he continued. “It’s been a wild process. We’ve been thinking about this or a while. I just did it so that we could secure our own production and take total control of all the quality and the creativity we wanted. It never was my dream to own my own brewry. People think that’s the reason they get into the business, or that’s the reason they get excited and it’s a wonderful process and it’s an incredible project, but my goal was to make these high quality, fun products and I was totally happy as a contract brewer.”

What changed for Cowan was that he wasn’t able to get the amount of beer he desired for the company, but also the quality wasn’t as consistent for his taste. “This was a great direction,” he said. “So, I’m terrified and totally excited.”

When Cowan opened Shmaltz Brewing Company it was his goal to make a great craft beer that people could get excited about. However, what he had also created was the country’s first, and still only, Jewish Celebration beer. “It ties into our packaging and events,” he said. “A lot of the beer styles and recipes we create have connections in Jewish history and pop culture. That’s certainly a unique angle.”

Considering no one else has raced into his niche, Cowan can’t decide if he was so smart, or some alternative, to launch a Jewish brewery. “I’m still the only one, and happy about giving people an opportunity to enjoy the punch lines and enjoy these incredible flavors we’ve created.”

In concert with the Craft Writing Symposium at the University of Kentucky in February 2014, Cowan will be on hand to speak and discussed the growth and evolution of Shmaltz Brewing Co., and its HE’BREW Beer and Coney Island Craft Lagers.

Shmaltz Brewing Company“I give a lot of presentations around the country on everything from niche marketing to everything about branding and craft beer, to Jewish spirituality in an entrepreneurial environment,” explained Cowan. “In addition to the brewing operation I’m the president of the New York City Brewers Guild, a non-profit organization promoting all of the local breweries in New York. I also wrote a book called ‘Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah’ — kind of a small business memoir on the history of the company. I assume we’ll be touching just about everything, and then drinking some beers as well.”





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