Cambridge-based Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project pops up on a lot of bar menus around town. (And Twitter activity from Erin Murray indicates international expansion.) But there are misconceptions about the brand. It isn't a micro-brew, because they don't have a brewery, or a contract beer, because they make the beer themselves. Husband and wife team Dann and Martha Paquette are "gypsy brewers," a term mostly likely only familiar to die-hard beer nerds, basically renting their brewing space and equipment. The Atlantic identifies that "the real advantage for Pretty Things is the creative flexibility that comes with having few sunk [startup] costs,"
which also makes it possible for them to design signature beers, like they did for recently-opened Island Creek Oyster Bar.
Of course, setting down roots has its advantages too. Dann acknowledged to the Weekly Dig that his "dream has always been to have a space of [his] own," one where they could "have tours and tastings," as well as "industry event nights."
Even beer brewing heavyweights, like Samuel Adams' founder Jim Koch, were not exempt from the barriers to getting a brewery established. In an interview, Koch told The Beer Nut that he couldn't find anyone to give him "a loan and (the brewery) turned out to be a pretty good idea." In response, he created the "Brewing the American Dream" program, which is now in its third year. The program provides micro-loans (under $20,000) to start-ups in the food and beverage industry, as well as mentoring sessions for small business owners.
Maybe they could throw a few bones towards that Pretty Things dream.
Correction: No signature beer at Island Creek, after all! Maybe some day...
Pretty Things [Dig]
The Innovative 'Gypsy Brewers' Shaking Up the Beer World [The Atlantic]