#136 – Mother’s Brewing Company in Springfield, MO

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(1) THE BREWERY & OUR EXPERIENCE

As we walked up to Mother’s back in May, people were setting up tents and other items outside in preparation for their fourth ever Mother’s Day Festival that would be held the next day. Unfortunately our timing did not line up with the party, however it was a blast talking with founder Jeff Schrag about the brewery as we hung out in the taproom and walked around the brewery. The brewery itself was full of quirky little decorations such as a Dolly Parton album on the wall by their dollys, Hans Solo frozen in carbonite on their walk-in refrigerator door, and an Air Supply album by some air tanks. We also learned that head brewer Brian Allen really pushes the experimentation approach and brewing is done to flavor with less overall focus on meeting strict style guidelines. He nails it, too, their beers are outstanding…

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(2) VITAL INFORMATION

Date of our visit: Friday, 05/16/2014
Open since: May 12, 2011 (sold first beer)
Approx. Barrel (bbl) Output 2013: 8,200
Projected bbl Output 2014: 10,000
Brewhouse size: 3 vessel, 30 bbl
Founder: Jeff Schrag
Head Brewer: Brian Allen
Packaging: Kegs, Bottles, and Cans
Distribution: S and W Missouri and NW Arkansas

Other things we learned:

* The name Mother’s comes from the goal to name the brewery as an embodiment of love. The heart tattoo logo was originally sketched by Jeff.

* The brewery is housed in a building originally constructed in 1902, then housing Star Bottling Works. By 1926 it became the Mueller Bakery and served as a variety of other bakeries until Jeff purchased the building in 2010 with intentions of opening Mother’s. Located just a few blocks from downtown Springfield, they also have about 5 acres of land adjoining the building for possible future expansion.

* Springfield is home to one of the largest stainless steel industries in the country; Mueller HQ and a dozen other stainless steel fabricators are located in town. Mother’s uses the first system built by local business, Custom Metal Craft.

* The bottling line fills 120 bottles/min and was functioning by labor day of first year. Intentionally started with larger system to avoid the ‘bottleneck’ frequent in many small breweries. Working to convert to be able to also fill large format bottles rather than the current method of two at a time.

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* Began canning summer of 2014 with 6 packs available in all markets.

* 60 bbl fermentation vessels, however, have a space with an elevated roof where they can fit 120 bbl fermenters. Estimate: could produce about 50,000 bbl out of the current facility.

* 120 bbl horizontal dairy tanks that can be utilized for lagering, i.e octoberfest.

* Hosted their 3 year anniversary party the day after our visit. Outdoor music festival, food trucks, and specialty beer releases for only $5.

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* Treat water minimally, utilizing just a carbon filter, as they want the taste of Springfield as much as possible.

* Very important to be a good pillar of the community, an active corporate citizen. In addition to being a serial entrepreneur, Jeff also serves as the chairman of the local Chamber of Commerce.

* A local movie theater, The Moxie, will feature movies in the backyard once a month.

* That said, Mother’s tries not to host too many events at the brewery so as not to compete with local bars and restaurants but very active in events in the community. Taproom hours are short and end earlier in the evening.

(3) BEERS AVAILABLE DURING OUR VISIT

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* Towhead American Blonde #
* Three Blind Mice Brown Ale #
* Lil’ Helper IPA #
* Chocolate Thunder Porter
* Training Wheels IPA
* High Plains Drifter Pale Ale
* Spring Batch Farmhouse Style Ale $
* Doozy! Double IPA @
* Missouri Cider Project
* Sandy Hopped Up Wheat $
* Sexual Healin’ Stout on Nitro
* Holy Mole Amber Ale aged on Cocoa Nibs, Cinnamon bark, Ancho, Chipotle, and Pasilla Peppers
* Listing of beers
# = Year Round; $ = Seasonal, * = Beers Sampled
@ = Specialty/Limited Release (Mother’s Others)

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What we learned about their beer during our visit:

* Peachy Keen beer was thrown in a barrel. Local farmer sold huge stock of peaches after a hail storm last year damaged the crop.

* Coming from a brewpub background, Brian Allen really pushed the experiementation approach. Brewing is done to flavor with less overall focus on meeting strict style guidelines.

* Barrel-aging began within the first year of operation and they are currently utilizing a variety of spirits and wine. Sherry bbl from MO winery called Stone Hill; Copper Run out of Branson; whiskey and bourbon, rum. Looking to get tequilla barrels as well.

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* Thing 1 and Thing 2 are available in the taproom only. Mother’s brews a 15 bbl batch and splits them up for two different treatments.

* The three year round offerings – Towhead Blonde, Lil’ Helper IPA, and Three Blind Mice Brown – are rounded out by four seasonal beers – Spring Batch Farmhouse Style Ale, Sandy Hopped Up Wheat, Old School Oktoberfest, and Winter Grind Coffee Stout.

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* Some popular, higher ABV, specialty releases include Foggy Notion Barley Wine, MILF Imperial Stout, Imperial Three Blind Mice, Uber Pils, Doozy! Double IPA, and Squashed Chocolate Pumpkin Porter.

(4) EXPANSION PLANS

* Have about 5 acres of land adjoining the building for possible future expansion.

(5) BACKGROUND OF PEOPLE WE SPOKE TO

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[Brandon, Jeff, Michael]

Name: Jeff Schrag
Title: Owner
Been with company since: Inception
Previous Brewing Experience: N/a
Previous Occupation(s): Still operating a newspaper and cuff link business
Favorite Superhero: Green Lantern

(6) MORE LINKS ABOUT BREWERY

* Brewery Website
* Events
* Contact Info

(7) You can find the rest of our PHOTOS HERE

Author: Michael Roberts & Brandon Wurtz

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