Featured Brewery of the Month: Switchback Brewing Company
Dec 01, 2017
The Switchback Brewing Company
was founded in 2002 by Bill Cherry and his longtime friend, Jeff. The idea that became Switchback Ale was developed by Bill over the course of a couple of years. Many are interested to learn that all of the formulation was done in Bill’s imagination, with no test brewing. He envisioned maximizing complexity, flavor, and delivering beer the way a Brewmaster experiences it. To do this, the beer is left unfiltered and carbonated during fermentation by the yeast itself, resulting in a 100% naturally conditioned beer. The result is a beer that defies easy description, because it is brewed to a flavor idea and not based on any existing style guidelines. A tough first sell, but ultimately creating a uniqueness to itself. The very first pint of Switchback ever served was at Ake’s Place in Burlington, VT on October 22, 2002.
While the marketing plan had always been to introduce draught beer first, after ten years, Switchback announced that they would bottle their beers with state-of-the-art equipment that allows them to stay true to their commitment to quality. The centerpiece of the new bottling line is a German engineered filling system that is arguably the best in the world. The gentle and hygienic handling of the beer in this filling line allows for it to be absolutely identical to the draught (keg) beer version.
In June of 2014 Switchback revamped their small tasting room at the brewery into the Tap Room at Switchback. This has provided an outlet to showcase experimental brews and Limited Run beers you can’t find anywhere else. It has also allowed them to host beer themed events including Stretch & Sip Yoga, Cheese and Beer Pairings and various educational classes.
In February of 2017, Bill Cherry announced to his employees that they had all just become partners in ownership of the company via an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan). The move made Switchback the first 100% employee-owned brewery in New England and ensured they would remain locally and Vermont-owned forever.
As of today, Switchback has grown their lineup to include Citra-Pils Keller Bier
as their only year-round offering next to the flagship, Switchback Ale
. Switchback also has six unique Rotating Specials that are available throughout the year: Roasted Red Ale
, Slow-Fermented Brown Ale
, Dooley’s Belated Porter
, Märzen Fest Bier
, Connector IPA
, and Dampf Punk. Switchback is now available on draught, in 22oz bombers and in their iconic 12oz “stubby” bottles. The Combo 12 Pack is the latest release from Switchback and gives the consumers an opportunity to purchase an assortment of quality Switchback beers.
All of this has made Switchback the North East's daily drinker since 2002.