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On this “Next Spherical” episode, host Zach Geballe speaks to Gage Siegel and Simone Schroeder of Non Sequitur Beer Project. Since its infancy, Non Sequitur has existed as a contract brewery, making it a quasi-nomadic operation. In different phrases, up till now, Non Sequitur has used different breweries’ amenities to provide its beer, although that is quickly about to vary.

Maybe what’s most unusual about Non Sequitur is the model’s dedication to philanthropy, as a portion of its gross sales are at all times donated to native organizations dedicated to social justice. Siegel and Schroeder talk about their unorthodox operations all through the episode, from discovering new sorts of hops to preserving their enterprise afloat throughout a pandemic — no small feat, contemplating the model’s deal with storytelling and interplay with shoppers.

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Zach: From Seattle, Washington, I’m Zach Geballe, and it is a “VinePair Podcast” “Next Spherical” dialog. We’re bringing you these conversations in between our common podcast episodes with a purpose to deal with a spread of points and tales within the drinks world. Right now I’m talking with Gage Siegel and Simone Schroeder of Non Sequitur Beer Project. Gage, Simone, thanks a lot in your time.

Gage: For certain. Joyful to be right here.

Simone: Thanks. So blissful to be right here.

Z: So let’s begin out with: What’s Non Sequitur Beer Project? I’m assuming it’s not a tribute to the caricature within the newspaper that I by no means understood as a child.

G: Most individuals don’t even get that reference. That wasn’t the main focus, per se. However I positively considered it when the title got here up. You may also be mistaken to assume it was our love letter to our canine, with how a lot consideration we pay to him. Proper?

Z: Truthful sufficient.

G: So, Non Sequitur. We’re a one-and-a-half-year-old contract-based brewery primarily based out of Brooklyn, the place we reside. We began out making our beer within the Bronx, then moved our manufacturing over the summer time of final yr to Purple Hook, Brooklyn, tripling our quantity with a deal with what we prefer to name “thoughtfully hoppy beer,” since we’ve acquired to make numerous it, and a deal with charitable giving. We’ve performed our fair proportion of initiative beers, if you’ll, like All Together, and Black is Beautiful, and People Power. However as properly, we donate a portion of our gross sales each month to numerous New York-based charities.

Z: Fantastic. I wish to get into a bit bit extra about that side of the mission and the way you get aligned with charities. However I wish to simply cowl for these of our listeners who won’t be tremendous conversant in the idea. What does it imply to be a contract brewery? What’s that life like, that sort of nomadic existence?

G: We’re a bit bit distinctive in that world, the place we make all of our beer in a single place. Of the duo right here, I’m the one who hangs out within the brewery on a regular basis. So it’s good for me to have somebody to work with time and again. By its nature, contract brewing, or gypsy brewing, as you may name it, is making beer at another person’s facility. Usually, they do it for you, and it’s gotten a foul rap as a result of some folks don’t become involved within the course of in any respect. Your common is fairly concerned. I’m extraordinarily concerned. I’m there on brew days, more often than not. I package deal all of our beer, and I write all of our recipes as properly. You’re residing in another person’s lounge is actually what it’s — it comes with its issues. Our contract companions, it’s at all times a bit bit like we’re of their means, however we’ve made the most effective of it, and we make a heck of numerous beer nowadays.

Z: That’s actually cool. And for the breweries, the purpose is, I assume that you just’re utilizing their system which may not in any other case be in use, the identical means somebody may hire out a spare room on Airbnb.

S: Primarily, as a part of their marketing strategy, they might have a contract brewing enterprise on high of it. So that they need to do their very own beer, after which even have tanks obtainable for anybody who desires to brew beer with their workers. So they might make the most of the brewers which can be in-house at that brewery. For lots of breweries, it’s additionally simply an additional supply of earnings, and they are often fairly profitable with a contract brewing program.

Z: So let’s discuss in regards to the idea and the way you’ve gotten executed this. What introduced you to launching a beer model, I assume, if not the best way we usually consider a brewery? Together with that, because it feels like these initiative beers and beers which can be primarily based round charitable giving, how do you determine what causes to deal with?

G: On the finish of the day, entering into beer was one thing that I wished to do for a few years. I’ve been working in beer immediately for about 5 years, the final 5 years previous to this. However I didn’t have one million {dollars} to spend on making it occur. So the contract brewing mannequin allowed us to get began at an inexpensive charge by means of the enterprise out, after which develop from there. So it was only a factor I at all times wished to do, and Simone has been an extremely supportive associate alongside the best way, I’ve to say. (Thanks.) And yeah, I imply, that was it — it was a factor I wished to do. I wished to do it 5 years in the past, and thought I can contribute one thing distinctive, and we’ve needed to retool and discover our specific focus as we’ve gone alongside. Our strategy to thoughtfully hoppy beer is using distinctive, new, or attention-grabbing hops in our IPAs, and even in our sours and saisons and different issues. I’ll go away the charity side to Simone.

S: One thing to notice too is when Non Sequitur was began it clearly wasn’t throughout Covid, and the concept was one to actually have charity play an element, but in addition the concept of the pop of taproom, and bringing beer into these unconventional areas, actually desirous to deal with having these actually distinctive occasions. So clearly, we’ve needed to step evenly at the moment, however we actually tried to proceed to maintain the charitable giving as a worth of the corporate. When it got here to selecting the charities that we’d prefer to work with, it was at all times actually necessary to seek out organizations that had been principally native, so New York Metropolis-focused, to assist the area people. We labored with New York Immigration Coalition, Make the Street New York, after which as time has gone on, we’ve expanded it to Deliberate Parenthood and different organizations for a few of the charity beers that we’ve labored with, just like the Restaurant Staff Group Basis. Primarily, even when it was a small portion, we at all times wished to be sure that we had been giving again to the neighborhood at massive and specializing in communities that possibly don’t get a voice typically to the bigger public.

Z: Once you’re arising with the partnership or pairing of trigger and beer, is that simply, “Hey, I wish to make this beer” and “Hey, we wish to give to this trigger,” or is there any extra type of interaction between these two elements of the beer — what you wish to make and who you wish to donate to?

G: I’d say we aren’t that organized. We’re brewing a brand new beer on Wednesday, and I made the choice Tuesday morning on what we might be making, and ordered every part Tuesday afternoon. I don’t wish to say there’s not thought to place in, however we’re simply not that far forward to have the ability to construct a partnership. Plenty of these organizations are just a bit bit too large to become involved. The alcohol side complicates issues, so we make the choice a few times a month. If there’s an enormous occasion that’s occurred, we’re very concerned. I believe you might heart our giving on the concept of social justice, most typically. Within the wake of the killing of George Floyd, we donated to BLM and the New York Civil Liberties Union, Reclaim the Block, and local-focused [organizations] elsewhere the place issues on the bottom had been occurring with the communities. We wished to assist these of us. However we’re simply making the decision on what’s happening on the earth at the moment. Generally, we’re at a loss to select, so we go down a listing of native charities for issues that encourage us.

Z: Very cool. To return again to the beer itself, you talked about working with newer sorts of hops. I’m curious: You guys are in New York, it’s not precisely hop nation. How does a brewery in New York get related to what the up-and- coming-things are within the hop business? Is it simply everybody’s on-line nowadays so it’s not a secret, or what?

G: You’d be stunned how secret it finally ends up being, although it’s all on-line. You possibly can log in to simply about wherever. We’re actually good buddies with the parents at Hop Butcher in Chicago, we’re fairly tight with Other Half, Humble Sea out in Santa Cruz, I believe that’s. I hope he’s not listening.

Z: I hope he’s listening! Take heed to the podcast, folks!

G: So we’re buddies with individuals who have been doing it for a few years longer than us. They usually’ve clued us into the most effective methods to get your fingers on the cool new hops. For 2020, we signed actually large contracts for a brewery of our dimension. So we purchased futures, if you’ll, in hops. We stock large contracts, and I can name these folks up and say, “Hey, I heard about this new hop. Any likelihood you’ve acquired some?” And in the event that they do, they’re inclined to toss a bit our means. We’re equally fortunate throughout Covid. As a lot as it’s typically dangerous, numerous of us are giving up hops they might have in any other case used. So numerous issues turned obtainable. However simply this week, with the pale ale recipe I wrote for subsequent week, I found a handful of latest hops that one in every of our broker-grower companions had launched this yr that I missed out listening to about. So subsequent week’s beer can have one hop that we’ve by no means used earlier than and one other one which once we used it was only a quantity, an experimental hop.

Z: Nevertheless it’s gotten a cool new title that feels like a pressure of weed?

G: Precisely. Altice has a reputation now.

Z: So I’ve it on, I believe, fairly good info from Cat Wolinski that the 2 of you might be within the strategy of placing collectively some type of precise bodily house for Non Sequitur. Is that right?

S: That’s right. We’re shifting to Bushwick. Whereas it might not have been within the authentic marketing strategy, as I discussed, sort of having that pop-up concept as the primary focus and actually being this nomadic model, we determined to put down some roots in Brooklyn right here in Bushwick.

Z: You will get into as a lot element as you care to — was {that a} troublesome determination, on condition that it sounds just like the type of pop-up experimental tasting factor didn’t even get a long term earlier than Covid? Was it exhausting to sort of quit that preliminary imaginative and prescient, or was it like, “Hey, this is a chance that we simply can’t go up?”

G: Properly, I imply, it was a bummer. Yeah, it was a tough determination. We had been having a lot enjoyable with the pop-ups. Proper earlier than Covid hit was the New York Metropolis Beer Week. We threw an emo evening dance celebration that was wild. I nonetheless hear from folks, brewers from different states and distributors from different states who popped out and in of that celebration and mentioned it was the good occasion they’d been to. We had been having a lot enjoyable with these. However as Covid wore on, we simply discovered that being an all-distribution brewery simply wasn’t going to work. It was actually troublesome to attempt to get the beer out once we needed to depend on distribution companions as New York Metropolis was 50 % shut down, as you might be conscious. The taproom turns into a possibility to have a spot to promote our beer. The most important hurdle that we’ve discovered within the gross sales of our beer is that we make barely bizarre stuff, if you’ll. It’s not that the beer tastes bizarre, we make IPAs like the most effective of them. Generally, we’ll play the hits and make your Mosaic, Nelson Sauvin, Galaxy IPAs. However typically we’re utilizing elements that folks don’t learn about, and we would like the chance to speak about these elements and why we selected them, and why they’re attention-grabbing to the individual ingesting the beer.

S: We positively need storytelling to be part of our model. So having that chance to both have us, or a beertender that’s working and talking to the general public that may actually share about why the hops are cool or particular or completely different is actually necessary to us. So we’re trying ahead to that specific expertise.

Z: Is there a tough timetable on this, or do you not wish to say something at this level?

G: Pay attention, we would like everyone tuning into this, however I extremely doubt anyone from the State Liquor Authority is listening. In the event that they hear us, possibly they’ll delay our software, however our software is in. And by all accounts, we should always have a license someday between the start of March and the tip of Might. That’s a reasonably large window. It must be on the sooner aspect. But when I’ve discovered something, it’s that every part takes longer and prices extra money than you meant.

Z: Yeah, that does appear to be the rule in beverage alcohol. Clearly being solely a yr and a half or so into this mission, it’s not the identical as breweries which will have been round for a very long time, however you’ve gotten gone by means of this gorgeous large transformation, just like everybody who has a enterprise. Have client calls for modified, or have your personal pursuits in what you’re brewing modified because you began? Do you are feeling like individuals are on the lookout for various things of their beer since Covid began? Are you curious about brewing various things, or is all of it sort of too shut collectively to say?

G: Properly, I believe that’s a tough query to reply. On one hand, I believe that if the faucet room was open, or would have been open this entire time, we might have had an excuse to brew extra number of kinds, conventional stuff. We wouldn’t have a tough time promoting desk beer and a pilsner. However once we are sending out the distribution, what the symptoms level to is that people need hops that they acknowledge. They need well-priced beers and kinds. Making costly, distinctive, uncommon stuff requires a bit little bit of handholding. We’ve launched extra selection into our manufacturing. We nonetheless make numerous hoppy beer, however we had been in a position to introduce selection by means of our transfer to a brand new manufacturing facility. Contract brewing is just not type to wild course of experimentation. I’ll say that.

S: I believe for us, Gage and I’d like to be making much more lager, pilsner, proper? Some cleaner kinds as properly. And I believe we’re positively going to get there. I believe that the taproom goes to open up numerous doorways for us, in addition to once we carry manufacturing to accommodate. Finally, we’ll be capable of department out a bit extra from our extra hoppy beers that we’re making. However such as you mentioned, it’s been powerful being a distribution-only model, and once we did take numerous enjoyable dangers, or tried some issues out with some stranger hops or lesser-known hops, it possibly wasn’t getting as a lot appreciation as we might have favored (particularly from a value perspective) to attempt to create these beers. So I believe it’s positively coming, and the faucet goes to open these doorways for us to diversify a bit.

Z: One final query for the 2 of you: In terms of discovering a extra everlasting dwelling, so far as the charitable giving aspect of the of the mission goes, will the plan nonetheless be extra of a rotating set of charities, or do you plan to have some extra everlasting sort of collaborations with a trigger? Possibly there’s a beer and a trigger which can be sort of at all times obtainable, or at all times tied collectively?

S: That’s query. I don’t know if we’ve a precise plan for that. As we talked about proper now, it’s been sort of what’s happening on the earth. I’m definitely open to having a long-term partnership with a corporation. We’ve mentioned that there are local people organizations in Bushwick, our new dwelling, and we’d like to be long-term companions, however nothing essentially set in stone at the moment.

Z: Gotcha. Properly, Gage and Simone, thanks a lot in your time, I actually recognize it. Fascinating to listen to about what you’re engaged on. Better of luck with getting the bodily house up and operating. I do know what sort of a nightmare alcohol allowing is all over the place within the nation. It’s not only a New York difficulty, I promise. I stay up for listening to extra about your mission because it evolves.

S: Thanks a lot.

G: Superior, thanks a lot.

Thanks a lot for listening to the VinePair podcast. Should you love this present as a lot as we love making it, then please give us a score or evaluation on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever it’s you get your Podcasts. It actually helps everybody else uncover the present. Now for the credit. VinePair is produced and recorded in New York Metropolis and Seattle, Washington, on my own and Zach Geballe, who does all of the modifying, and likes to get the credit score.

Additionally, I’d love to provide a particular shoutout to my VinePair co-founder, Josh Malin, for serving to make all this attainable and in addition to Keith Beavers, VinePair’s tastings director, who’s moreover a producer on the present. I additionally wish to, in fact, thank each different member of the VinePair workforce who’re instrumental in the entire concepts that go into making the present each week. Thanks a lot for listening, and we’ll see you once more.

Ed. notice: This episode has been edited for size and readability.

This story is part of VP Pro, our free content material platform and publication for the drinks business, protecting wine, beer, and liquor — and past. Sign up for VP Pro now!

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