There will soon be another can’t-miss stop on your Vermont beer pilgrimage.
John and Jen Kimmich, the husband-and-wife team who run The Alchemist Brewery, makers of the famed double IPA Heady Topper, are opening a new brewery in Stowe — possibly as soon as July 1.
“We’ll probably just open up one day,” says Jen Kimmich, in a what-may-be-futile attempt to control the hype.
Since their first canning run in 2011, the Kimmiches have been inundated with requests for Heady Topper, which has rated as high as No. 1 in the world on sites like Beer Advocate. The Alchemist brews 2,000 cases of the hop-drenched beverage a week, distributing it to retailers in a tight radius around Waterbury. In most cases, it sells out the day it hits the shelf.
“It’s humbling,” says John Kimmich, who adds that the whole celebrity brewer thing is a little cringe-worthy. “The reality is we’re very fortunate that people are so into what we do.”
Citing traffic concerns, the Kimmiches announced in November 2013 that they would stop selling from their Waterbury cannery, and since then they’ve lacked a retail outlet of their own. When the Stowe brewery opens, the brewers will pull about 750 cases a week back from the market to sell on site. The Alchemist will continue to make the same amount of Heady Topper annually — 9,000 barrels — while adding 6,000 barrels of another IPA, Focal Banger, as well as 3,000 barrels of a rotating beer, starting with the double IPA The Crusher.
“Our hope is that the beer tourists will come to us and buy as much as they can, while the locals will still be able to buy what they need,” says Jen Kimmich. “There are plenty of breweries our size that are selling everything out their door. We know we can do that, too, but it seems shortsighted.
“We’ve come to terms with the fact that we’re not going to make everyone happy, but we do our best.”
The Alchemist will have purchase limits at the new brewery, but the Kimmiches say that everyone should be able to walk away with a case of beer should they choose. The price per four-pack of any of the beers will be $12.50.
As for the rotating beers, John Kimmich says, “My ideal execution about this whole thing is we just randomly put beers on the shelves and they go up for sale. I’d like it to remain this special surprise that you never know what you’re going to get when you show up, but it’s always going to be great.”
The Alchemist’s new brewery (Cottage Club Road, Stowe) will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Gary Dzen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GaryDzen