Have you ever tried to brew beer in one of those cheap Mr. Beer plastic barrels? How did the batch turn out? Michael Oxton, Co-Founder of Night Shift Brewing out of Everett, MA, started his foray into the beer world in exactly the same manner. For the record, his first batch turned out horrible -- it tasted like rotten cider!
Michael and his fellow conspirators wouldn't be deterred, and soon their house was overrun with beer-making equipment and hundreds of friends more than willing to taste test the beer at one of their many house parties.
With $100,000 in friends and family money, they opened their first brewery and sold 200 barrels in the first year, then 700 the year after, then 1,500, 4,000, 10,000, and 20,000 in 2017. Night Shift Brewing was officially a runaway hit, with lines continually out the door of their new Everett Brewery and legions of loyal Night Shifters saddling up to the bar to test out their latest concoctions. Boston Magazine even named them the best craft brewery in Boston for 2017.
With production maxed out at their brewery, they added a RI-based contract brewer Isle Brewer's Guild to help meet demand from Massachusetts liquor stores and bars. The sky is the limit for this trio of co-founders and their growing team, but under the facade of automatic success was a ton of hard work and navigating a number of life-or-death challenges.
No doubt, Michael and his team will face new hardships as they push themselves to innovation on their model. First, the brewery. Now, a craft beer distribution company. What will they dive into next?
I had so much fun interviewing Michael at their Chelsea, MA, distribution center last week, and I know you'll enjoy the conversation as well.
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