Beer & Beyond

By Jesse Campbell (jesse.campbell@mountaintimes.com)



Article Published: Jun. 19 | Modified: Jun. 19
Beer & Beyond

Appalachian Mountain Brewery co-founder Sean Spiegelman pulls a pint at the brewery’s draft house in Boone.

Photo by Jesse Campbell



While introducing Sean Spiegelman, CEO of Boone’s Appalachian Mountain Brewery, during a national craft brewery competition in Boston recently, the emcee of the event had some trouble pronouncing “Appalachian.”

Following Spiegelman’s blistering, yet thorough presentation to some of the country’s top beer connoisseurs, there is little doubt the panel will ever struggle with the AMB namesake, which is become synonymous for a niche company that has wedged a comfortable foothold in an emerging field that has become oversaturated with obscure brands and questionable marketing tactics.

To the scrutiny of some industry experts, Spiegelman said he has continued to diversify AMB by refusing to limit the brewery to one revenue stream and continues to introduce innovative complements to his brand, while still luring the consumer back to where it all started: the liquid gold in the signature pint glass.

His efforts have not gone unnoticed.

The Boone-based brewery received critical acclaim by winning the Startup Brewery Challenge during the recent Brewbound Session in Boston.

According to Brewbound, the challenge, sponsored by Craft Brew Alliance, is a business pitch contest that gave nine beer and cider companies the opportunity to showcase their products and business plans in front of a judging panel of expert brewers, marketers and retailers, as well as an audience of 175 brewing industry professionals.

The accolade is accompanied by an all-expense paid trip to Portland, Ore., where the staff will team up with Widmer Brewery and work together to concoct a new signature brew that infuses East and West Coast flavors.

“I think it’s an acknowledgement by our industry that we are unique as a business model,” Spiegelman said of the recognition, while adding he has an “amazing team of people that will take this company to the next level.”

Spiegelman had only three minutes to wow the judges during the craft competition and moved without hesitancy as he highlighted the company’s three points of emphasis, which are community, sustainability and philanthropy, while successfully defending his three-prong model approach.

In addition to the brewery, which went on the public trading market in December 2013, AMB introduced its beer-infused food truck, along with plans to begin creating a hard cider.

“This is a very exciting time for us,” Spiegelman beamed. “Going public also has enabled us to raise money to expand our brew house and open a hard cider facility in Boone… It has expanded our business model.”

Part of AMB’s success can be directly connected to a reciprocal effect with the community.

“In any business — not just craft beer — to truly build a brand, you have to connect to people, and our business model is directly connected to people,” Spiegelman said. “We legitimately put the community in consideration whenever we make a decision and how it affects people.”

As proof of its commitment to the community, AMB has hosted a “Pints for Non-Profits” program, which donates a portion of the proceeds from each beer sold to local outreaches and agencies.

“Our philosophy is that we believe people choose us to spend their money, and we use their money on the community,” he said.

Appalachian Mountain Brewery is located at 163 Boone Creek Drive in Boone. For more information, call (828) 263-1111, or visit http://www.appalachianmountainbrewery.com.

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