The Value of Independence

Posted on Aug. 6, 2018, 3:21 p.m.

The value of independence in craft brewing has been a big topic in our industry during the last year.  I thought that as the owner and founder of Mother's Brewing Co. I should throw our opinion into the mix.

We are an independently-owned craft brewery in downtown Springfield, Missouri. We were founded by me, a local entrepreneur, in 2010. We brewed our first batch of beer on April 1, 2011. I still own 100% of our stock and we have grown to nearly 20 employees. We sell beer in portions of four states: Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas and Illinois. As our beer hits taps and shelves farther from Springfield it sometimes requires a little extra effort to clearly convey Mother’s independence.

We are distributed by two groups of wholesalers: one set affiliated with Miller-Coors and the other set affiliated with Anheuser-Busch Inbev. We don't sell beer by regions or by states but rather we go market by market, sometimes city by city and choose the best fit for us in that local market, usually with great success.

And as an independent craft brewery, we are more interested in brewing good, solid, innovative beers than growing into a big company or spreading our reach far and wide. In the industry our business approach is called: Deep rather than Wide. We would rather sell a lot of beer in a few markets than a little beer in a lot of markets. Our goal is to sell our beers in the smallest, smartest footprint while still making this a good business for all involved. This signal is made clearer in the craft brewing world when you are distributed by a variety of wholesalers with mixed allegiances to the Big Brewers. It simply makes you an unattractive target for acquisition.

We believe that independent brewers are the best for the beer, for the community and for the drinker. These brewers (and us) are willing to do more and work harder for less because we are more motivated by good liquid, and the fun of sharing, than by a good return on investment. We are blessedly inefficient, which means more people spending more time to use more ingredients to make good liquid. That money flows around our communities and to our suppliers. It may not be everyone's dream, but it is mine.

Regardless, as we grow, as we innovate, we plan to stay true to our core founding notion: to brew beers, as good as anyone, anywhere, right here in Downtown Springfield, Missouri.


Jeff Schrag

Founder, Owner, & Carouser in Chief

Mother's Brewing Co.

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