A lot of Vermont breweries opened in 2016, and next year should be no different. One of the newest additions to the state's proliferating beer scene is Butcher Beer, a one-barrel picobrewery in Warren that owner Steve Butcher aims to open this spring.
Butcher moved from Michigan to Warren in 1999 because, in his words, "It was quiet; I found a great piece of land with a tiny shack on it and fell in love with it." Since then, he has cofounded a business that builds websites and develops database applications, but brewing beer remains his creative passion. Come spring 2017, Butcher will turn his homebrew hobby into a business, setting up shop in the bottom floor of the barn on his property.
"I make my recipes up, start them from scratch and refine them from there," says Butcher. "I'm a lager and lighter-ale kind of guy, and I love IPAs; I have about 12 recipes established now."
Paperwork pending, Butcher's namesake brewery will start turning out kegs and bottles as the snow begins to melt. He'll distribute on a hyper-local scale to restaurants and retail stores via the Mad River Food Hub. A friend of fellow Warren resident Sean Lawson of Lawson's Finest Liquids fame — whose brewery's website he helped design — Butcher notes the possibility that his small brewery could ride a similar upward trajectory.
"[Lawson] started with a one-barrel system, too," he says. "Now, 10 years later..."
We'll see what comes next.