CHICAGO — A brewery in Chicago that began with a mission to make good beer while also opening up doors in the industry is now getting some nationwide attention.
Funkytown Brewery, which was started by Richard Bloomfield, Zachary Day, and Greg Williams in 2021, was named the winner of the Samuel Adams “Brewing The American Dream” Brewing and Business “experienceship” this past July.
This will allow the Chicago-based brewer to get a behind-the-scenes look at a number of aspects of running a major brewery from one of the most successful craft beer producers in the country.
Funkytown Brewery beat out five others, including Chicago’s Azadi Brewing, to earn the honor.
“Just having the opportunity to work under the wings of some of the greatest brewers and some of the greatest business minds is a surreal kind of opportunity, and it’s still feels surreal at this moment,” said Day of getting the “experienceship” at Samuel Adams.
The trio will get the chance to work with the Boston-based brewer over the next few months to learn the ins and outs of the big brewing business. At the end, Funkytown will get the chance to collaborate on a beer with Samuel Adams that will be released in Boston and Chicago.
It’s the biggest moment for the brewery that has made part of its mission to open up the industry to people that have not had access to it in the past. Since 2021 their collection of beers, which includes a number of ales and light APV brews, has caught on locally.
Along with being distributed at a number of establishments and stores, Funkytown’s beer is also being poured at the United Center, Wrigley Field, and Guaranteed Rate Field.
“It’s just validating,” said Bloomfield of getting the honor and opportunity from Samuel Adams. “We’re able to pitch our brand and what we believe in our culture to a broad community with Sam Adams focusing specifically on brands that they believe can affect community, and expand the industry, and move it forward.
“It just means that the concept and everything that we’ve been working for and preaching, it does have wings.”
Each member of Funkytown Brewing will have their own specific area of the “experienceship” which they’ll look forward to the most as they embark on a big time in their company’s history.
For Williams, it’s about learning their distribution channels, which will be key to Funkytown’s growth in the future.
“We’re looking to be a regional brand but just learning from them, as far as the ‘Do’s’ and ‘Don’ts,’ and those relationships from what they’ve built,” said Williams. “Also from a sales perspective, just trying to see how they maintain their sales chain. What do they utilize as far as, like, incentives for their teams so we can help build our own.
“Also just learning how to build a great culture, and what we’ve seen from them. How can we do that in Chicago.”
They’ll have a number of chances to find out that and more from one of the best in the business that’s to what they’ve already been able to achieve.
Larry Hawley featured Funkytown Brewing’s receiving of the Samuel Adams “experienceship” on WGN News Now, which you can watch in the video above.