Forthcoming Brewtal Brewery And Brewpub Gets A New Name


Not five minutes before writing this, I got another one: a Facebook message from an eager homebrewer announcing his intent to open a commercial brewery. Instead of being happy for this gentleman (whose beers I admit are quite good), I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of annoyance. With all due admiration for ambition, entrepreneurial spirit and the desire to advance the cause of craft beer, I’m getting a little sick of hearing from everyone who’s ever unstuck a mash that he’s trying to be the next Ken Grossman.

Most of these projects will not (and in some cases, should not ) get off the drawing board, which is why I’m doubly impressed when I hear that some eager homebrewer who’s planning to open a brewery actually has a space, maybe a license and even a piece of equipment or two.

Enter Broken Goblet Brewing, a company run by four guys who are currently building out a section of a co-working space in a Bristol industrial park. They have four named beers, they have a real-life website, they have branded T-shirts and they have, by gum, a brewery and tasting room they’re hoping to open by the end of the year.

Perhaps contributing to its ability to progress, Broken Goblet started in an unusual way: as a club. Co-owners Mike LaCouture and Jay Grosse formed The Brewtal Beer Club as a way to generate support, test their beers and try out their marketing. Within six months the club grew to 30 “members,” hosted events with upwards of 100 and supplied the remaining two owner/brewers. They planned to open the Brewtal brewery and brewpub until fate intervened in the form of lawyers and a trademark infringement suit.

As LaCouture tells it in an email, “A certain west coast brewery with a good deal more disposable cash, who shall remain nameless, decided that they would fight us on the name … and so we were forced to scrap everything and start from scratch or go broke fighting it out in court. One of our brewers used to carry a goblet around with him with our logo on it, and the night he heard the news … he smashed the goblet on the ground. We all looked down, stared at the broken goblet, and realized we had found our new name.”

Broken Goblet or Brewtal: whatever name they end up with, maybe when they officially open, they’ll christen the space like a ship: by smashing a bottle – or in this case, a goblet – across its façade.

Broken Goblet Brewing [Facebook]

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  • JA

    If you’re getting sick of hearing about homebrewer’s potentially opening breweries…perhaps you shouldn’t be writing about beer!

  • GC

    What a pointless first paragraph. No one cares about your personal annoyance with people trying to open up new craft breweries. We should be promoting support for these new local breweries not putting them down.

  • lame

    It’s a shame, I felt that Tara was one of the few authors on this site that made foobooz readable, but now she stoops to Victor Fiorello’s level with pointless rants…..unless you’re friends with her and in her homebrew club, then it’s ok to have dreams about opening a brewery.

  • Tara Nurin

    I’m hesitant to reply to these comments because I really don’t want to get into a back-and-forth. So I’ll just say this. I hear your complaints, and although I think some of them are valid, it’s important for me as a beer writer to use my experience to point out arguments that others may not realize. Of course I want people to open breweries! You can find posts and articles I’ve written elsewhere that celebrate the industry’s growth. But I fear a repeat of the 1990s, when a lot of people jumped into brewery ownership because it was cool and they thought they could make an easy buck. Many breweries in this region failed — including some very good ones. While there are a multitude of factors that differentiate the present from the past, it’s important to keep in mind that the more people open breweries, the more people are going to open bad breweries along with the good ones. While all’s fair in beer and business, every non-craft drinkers who gets adventurous enough to taste a craft beer risks tasting a poorly brewed craft beer … and we all risk that person never tasting another one. Sounds implausable, I know, but it’s true. I just hope that everyone who opens a brewery has a solid brewer and a solid business plan. And for the record, I think the friend I mentioned who’d sent me a Facebook message does. I wish all aspiring commercial brewers lots of popularity, money, longevity and good beer!

    • JA

      An edited version of that reply would have made for a better opening paragraph to your original post!

      I think (not that anyone cares) this time around the craft beer market is much, much bigger than 10-15 years ago.

      It also seems that in the Philadelphia market, the breweries that are opening are more boutique. They’re spending $100K – $250K to open instead of $5 Million.
      I also believe most are specializing in specific “genres” of beer styles….(ex. Tired Hands and it’s Farmhouse / Rustic style of beers)….not just making a Pale Ale, an IPA, a Porter and a Stout.

      I do think that some of the current (smaller) breweries are making tastier and higher quality beers than others and ultimately as other new breweries open – a few of the current lesser quality producers will close sooner than later.

      In regards to your argument about potential new craft beer drinkers and “potentially” drinking bad examples of craft beer and walking away…if that’s the case – they probably weren’t the best candidate to be converted in the first place…however, if they were intrigued enough to try it once…they’ll try it again…after all…craft beer is all about chasing the next big beer!