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Hillsborough brewery recognized on national level

A Hillsborough brewing company was honored this year as one of 2018’s best breweries in the nation.

Flounder Brewing of Hillsborough was named one of the fastest growing small and independent craft breweries of 2018 by the Brewers Association (BA), a not-for-profit trade group representing small and independent craft brewers.

The second annual list offers insight into the depth and diversity of growth within the craft brewing industry.

“We’re proud to see our hard work recognized in these rankings from the Brewers Association,” Jeremy Lees, Founder and President of Flounder Brewing said in a statement. “In 2017, we were just six employees and open 1-2 days a week. Now we have a full-time Head Brewer and a total staff of 12 people.

“We’ve worked hard to maximize our limited capacity in our current space. We look forward to continued growth as we expand Flounder Brewing and relocate to a larger space at Carriage Farm in Hillsborough in 2020,” Lees said.

Flounder Brewing was ranked 22 among 50 small and independent breweries from across 27 states. Officials from the BA said that median growth from all the breweries on the list was 163% with the median size being 1,350 barrels of in-house production in 2018.

Breweries on the list range from 50 barrels to more than 40,000 and grew from less than 70,000 barrels collectively in 2017 to more than 170,000 barrels in 2018.  As a group, these brewing companies represent approximately 10% of total craft growth by volume for the year and include 13 brewpubs, 35 microbreweries and two regional craft breweries.

“Even as market competition continues to increase, these small and independent breweries and brewpubs demonstrate there are still growth opportunities across a diverse set of regions and business models,” Bart Watson, chief economist of the Brewers Association said in a statement.

BA officials said the list included only small and independent breweries. Growth is measured based on production at their own facilities. Breweries must have opened by Dec. 31, 2016, or earlier to be considered.

It only includes breweries that reported 2018 production to the Brewers Association’s annual Beer Industry Production Survey; breweries with staff estimates or data from state excise tax reports were not considered, according to officials. Officials also said that breweries needed a validated production figure for 2017, either via the production survey, or state excise tax data.

Flounder Brewing opened in 2013 by Jeremy Lees, his brother Daniel Lees, and cousin Billy Jordan. The company said that the beginning, the family was only brewing 31 gallons of beer per batch and open every six weeks. From there, the company said that it took off after Jeremy left his full-time job to turn his dream into a reality.

By the end of 2017, the brewery was able to hire six employees, including Doug Duschl, their full-time head brewer, according to the company. With the help of their head brewer, they began brewing at max capacity of 186 gallons per batch.

The company reported that in 2018, their team grew by 100%, they started opening four days-a-week for fresh beer to go, and increased their self-distribution footprint. Now with the brewery’s reported success, the company said it is eyeing a new location at Carriage Farm, which features a 5,500-square-foot barn.



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