Almost five years ago to the day, now , I sampled the Roasted Maple Stout from Olde Mother. They premiered their beers at the Beards, Beers & Brats Festival on a cool, breezy mid-October day in Mount Airy. This was roughly two weeks ahead of the brewery officially opening their doors at their original East Patrick Street location.
The beer was a solid offering from a brewery that was still working to open its doors.
That was not always the case in the brewery’s first six months. Brewing on a Frankensteined-together nano-system that was little more than a glorified homebrew system, consistency was an issue. About halfway through their first year, the brewery acquired the temperature control equipment to cold-crash their beer. The ability to control the temperature post-boil, and pre-yeast pitch allowed the brewery to significantly improve consistency and quality of their beers.
Just ahead of their first anniversary I sat down with founders Nick Wilson and Keith Marcoux about their first year, and the issues they faced, and the improvement of their product from opening to where they were as their first anniversary rolled around. Back then, when told that the difference between their beers from day one to that approaching anniversary were like the difference between day and night, Wilson responded, “and we hope we’re sitting here, and you’re saying the same thing next year. The goal is to always be improving.”
This week I had a chance to talk to Wilson about the first five years of Olde Mother, and what customers can expect at the upcoming anniversary celebration. “These past five years have been so busy and have blown by so fast we haven’t really been able to reflect on them very much,” said Wilson. ” We do occasionally think about the old days in our original location and how crazy and fun that was. Not to say it’s not fun at our new place but it was just different because it was such a small place. We have been in our new location for a little over two years now and it’s been straight go mode ever since. We are just grateful that we can continue to do what we love to do while steadily growing our business.”
The approach that allowed Olde Mother to grow, and to become one of Frederick’s destination breweries, has always been to focus on the beer, never to focus on growth. Wilson explained that as long as they focused on what they loved, the beer, the rest would take care of itself. In his words, “expectations of our company have always been: let’s enjoy what we do, take our craft very seriously, continue to learn, and do the best that we can. The hope was that these things would allow us to stay in business and enjoy our day to day lives and if we needed to expand we would, but that was never the ultimate goal from the beginning. Fortunately for us the beer community has shown us immense love in which we are so grateful and has allowed us to be where we are today.”
Within a few short years, Olde Mother went from a system smaller than three barrels at their original East Patrick Street location (now the home to Jug Bridge Brewing) to their current North Market Street location with a 15 barrel system. Wilson explained that
“the rapid growth of our company has definitely surprised and at the same time not surprised us. Surprised because of the fact that it’s really hard to take a leap at something that has the potential to fail – especially in the public forum – and to overcome the fear of being judged if in fact it does fail.” Wilson continued, explaining how they felt about the East Patrick location, “basically, we lacked a bit of confidence and for us to survive in the original location would have been fine….We know we are hard workers who are constantly trying to learn and get better at our craft. It’s this feeling of ‘we are doing everything we possibly can, we are giving ourselves a chance of growing this thing.’ With hard work and knowledge comes confidence, with confidence comes self assuredness and that’s when you really start believing in your company and the things you can achieve.”
As for the brewery’s five-year anniversary party, kicking off at noon on October 24, Wilson said, “for our five year anniversary you can expect a relaxed good time with plenty of space, new releases, bluegrass music, and food trucks! We are just glad that we can celebrate this year with all the uncertainty. We are bringing back some old school beers of ours for the anniversary plus some new ones. We will have 86 IPA, and Stagefright available in draft and cans for those of you who remember and like those beers! It was really cool for us to put those guys in the tanks! We’re also releasing our next Kveik IPA called Camp Crystal Kveik which has a Friday the 13th themed label for the Halloween season, $200 dollar plasma which is a session sour IPA with mango that we collaborated with Chris Sands from the Uncappd podcast, and we will also be releasing our bottle conditioned barrel aged flemmish style sour Solar Fall in 500 ml bottles.”
For more information on Olde Mother’s 5th Anniversary Party, visit their Facebook Page.