Still Growing Strong: Steve Hindy

Steve Hindy, co-founder and president of Brooklyn Brewery.

What has your company been up to since we profiled you in 2004?

In 2004, we had just sold our distribution company to focus 100 percent of our attention on selling Brooklyn beers. Since then, we have tripled our sales to 180,000 barrels a year.

We have always exported Brooklyn beers. But in the past eight years, our export business has boomed. It is now 20 percent of our business. We have expanded our brewery in Brooklyn, and we are looking to expand our operations at the brewery in Utica.

Where are you going?

We will grow by nearly 30 percent this year, and we did the same last year. We expect to grow by at least 20 percent next year. This is all organic growth in existing markets; we have not expanded our footprint, domestically or internationally. We sell in 25 states and 20 countries.

We are very excited by our export opportunities and expect that part of our business to continue to grow more rapidly than domestic sales. The cost of gasoline today means it is cheaper to ship beer to Stockholm, Liverpool, and Milan than to ship to Los Angeles.

What changes do you see happening in the future of your industry?

The craft beer movement is surging. There are 2,400 breweries in America now, and another 1,000-plus in the works. It seems that the craft segment is bifurcating: there are about 50 breweries that are intent on developing brands that can have regional and national markets, and there are many others that seem content to be local and spin out dozens of small batch beers. 

Brooklyn Brewery has its big brands, like Brooklyn Lager, which represent 50 percent of our volume, and a portfolio of seasonal and special brands that keep our offerings fresh. The smaller brands are not volume brands, but rather an effort to keep our consumer engaged and excited about Brooklyn Brewery.