Grüezi” reads the welcome on the New Glarus website, a small town beautifully located in Green County in Wisconsin. This is not without good reason; in 1845 the town was founded by a group of intrepid Swiss who had left their native canton of Glarus in Switzerland during a period of economic crisis. They soon felt at home in their new habitat with its rolling hills, shady woodland, and lush meadows. Many Swiss people have since followed them out to the New World. The picturesque little town still does full justice to its self-imposed epitaph of America’s Little Switzerland, complete with typical chalet architecture, Swiss folklore and the Alpine cuisine on offer at its many restaurants.
It’s in this authentic setting that Deb and Dan Carey have been brewing their specialty beers for 23 years, thus permitting them to count themselves among the pioneers of the American craft beer scene. Dan has been working with beer since the age of 20. He started his training at the University of California and in 1987 he completed a degree in brewing technology as best in class at the renowned Siebel Institute. After studying brewing in Bavaria he received his master brewer diploma from the Institute of Brewing in London in 1992. Before he signed up as production manager at Anheuser-Busch, Dan supervised the planning and commissioning of almost 50 breweries throughout the USA.
Businesswoman with initiative and energy
Deb is the businesswoman in the Carey family. She started her first business at the tender age of 16. While Dan was busy in the brewing industry, she renovated her own four walls so that they could be sold should Dan’s career make another move necessary. It was Deb who ultimately suggested to Dan that he open his own brewery. Deb started looking for a suitable location and procured the used brewing equipment. When it came to raising the start capital for the business, she was the sole contact for potential investors. She successfully negotiated bank loans, made sure the basic technical equipment was all present and correct and thus finally enabled Dan to realize his life-long dream of running his own brewery. This made her the first woman in the USA to set up and manage a brewery. To date she is responsible for investments, accounting, distribution, and marketing. She actively participates in the latter activity and draws and illustrates all of the bottle labels herself, such as the “dancing” black-and-white cow which adorns the bottles and cans of Spotted Cow, New Glarus Brewing Company’s flagship beer.
The Carey’s philosophy is quite simple: it’s based on individuality, partnership and the exclusive use of natural ingredients to produce first-class, handcrafted beers for friends in Wisconsin. Unlike most craft breweries New Glarus doesn’t distribute its products around the globe. Instead, it concentrates on exclusively supplying its native state of Wisconsin with over 234,000 hectoliters of beer per year. Wisconsin may be almost half the size of Germany but only has around seven million inhabitants. The Careys made an exception in the neighboring state of Illinois for a few years but withdrew from here over ten years ago when they realized that it was becoming difficult to meet demand and that many places frequently expected free deliveries before the beer made it onto the taps. The maxim here is that you “pay to play” and Deb is convinced that her brewery doesn’t need to do this. “We’re not aiming to be big,” she says. “We aim to make the best beer in the world and take care of all the people who work here.” This attitude has earned her a number of awards as an entrepreneur – like Dan who has won much international recognition for his beers. New Glarus is regularly voted one of the best breweries in the world.
Close to home
Deb and Dan Carey’s love of their homeland is so great that if possible they even select their business partners according to whether they come from Wisconsin or not. It was also for this reason that they decided in favor of KHS when it came to technically equipping their two brewing operations; KHS’ American headquarters is in Waukesha about 145 kilometers away, just outside the gates of Milwaukee. The first joint project in 2004 was to install a Transomat kegging system, with a KegBoy, a washing and racking machine specially designed for low capacities, added not long afterwards in 2008. This year KHS was able to provide the system that sees Spotted Cow and Moon Man wending their way to consumers in cans for the first time.
Success in cans
In order to ensure that the market launch of cans got off to a successful start, it wasn’t only the close distance and bond the two companies shared which was important but also a number of functional criteria, particularly for extremely technically-minded Dan Carey who challenges his suppliers with his impressive expert knowledge and eye for detail. In the KHS Innofill Can DVD can filler he has opted for a system which is extremely gentle on resources. With its low-pressure CAN+ purging process the Innofill Can DVD enables up to 50% less oxygen pickup using the same amount of CO₂ – or consumes up to 30% less CO₂ with the same oxygen content. Cleaning intervals are shortened by 20% and maintenance cycles are considerably longer thanks to the machine’s extremely hygienic design and no need for water lubrication in the filler carousel area. The service life for all seals that come into contact with product in the filling valves has also been doubled as these are now made of Teflon (PTFE) instead of rubber (EPDM) – which greatly facilitates cleaning.
A Transomat 5/1 Duo keg system was also commissioned at New Glarus Brewing Company in March 2016 which makes the keg racking process much faster than on the previous setup and allows the overall production time to be shortened. This ultimately benefits each and every one of the approximately 100 employees who work here in this peaceful, idyllic little town.