January 8, 2018
WBJ 2018 Best of Business

Best of Business: Wormtown Brewery partners keep their love for beer

Wormtown Brewery

The place was packed and navigating the mess of beer drinkers at the bar in the Wormtown Brewery taproom was nearly impossible without bumping into someone's beer.

It was easily one of the brewery's busiest days ever, thanks to a collaboration with Dunkin Donuts, which saw the first-ever beer commercially brewed with Dunkin Donuts coffee beans.

The beer, DDark Brew, was a hit in December and sold out days ahead of schedule.

It was an interesting example of how the brewery is still able to enjoy success while staying true to its roots, Wormtown Managing Partner David Fields said.

Ever since the brewery's founding in 2010, the team, including Ben Roesch and formerly Tom Oliveri, have made every effort to stay true to the brewery's slogan: "A piece of Mass. in every glass."

Yet, the brewery received backlash on social media, accusing Wormtown of selling out by using the national Dunkin Donuts brand to sell beer, Fields said, but that's far from the case.

Dunkin Donuts was founded and is headquartered in Massachusetts, and the brewery's building owner is a Dunkin Donuts franchisee. The corporate coffee giant's head chef is also a Worcester native.

"It was a half-second conversation," Fields said about internal discussion about the brewery selling out.

Even in the midst of a expansion to nearly double the brewery's capacity to about 60,000 barrels a year, Fields and the team haven't forgotten what got them there in the first place: beer.

Most decisions the company makes are made over a beer or two, Fields said. One such decision came during a meeting with a barreling line company. After more than a few, both sides were willing to meet in the middle, Fields said.

"That was with nobody being legally capable of actually signing a document that would be considered legally binding in court," Fields said. "We've never made a good decision without a beer in our hands."

Jason Kleinerman, managing partner at Rail Trail Flatbread Co. in Hudson, said Wormtown was instrumental in setting up the restaurant's bar. Wormtown beer is constantly on tap at the restaurant, which has 20 craft beers on tap at any given time. There's usually at least two Wormtown beers on that list.

"They were really generous with their time and expertise," said Kleinerman. "If there's one brewery that was instrumental to the craft beer program at Rail Trail, it's Wormtown."

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