Shmaltz Brewing Company

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Shmaltz Brewing Company
Industry Alcoholic beverage
Founded 1996
Founder Jeremy Cowan
Headquarters Clifton Park, New York, USA
Products Beer
Production output
20,000 barrels
Owner Jeremy Cowan
Number of employees

Shmaltz Brewing Company is an American Craft brewing company located in Clifton Park, New York, USA, and produces the award winning line of HE'BREW Beers and formerly Coney Island Beer before its acquisition by Boston Beer Co in 2013. Ranked in 2013 as one of the "Top 100 Brewers in the World" by, Shmaltz won 9 Gold and 5 Silver Medals in the World Beer Championships in 2012. A recipient of the "Distinguished Business Award" by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, Shmaltz was also included in the "Top 50 Fastest Growing Bay Area Companies" by San Francisco Business Times.

Founder and owner Jeremy Cowan established the company in San Francisco in 1996 with the first 100 cases of He'brew Beer® hand bottled and delivered throughout the Bay Area in his Grandmother’s Volvo. He'brew® now sells across 37 states, through 40 wholesalers and nearly 5,000 retailers. In 2007, Shmaltz released a new line of craft brewed lagers under the Coney Island® banner. The Coney Island brand was recently acquired by Alchemy and Science, a craft beer incubator, owned by Boston Beer (Sam Adams).

After 17 years of being an outspoken cheerleader for contract brewing, Shmaltz broke with tradition and opened its own New York State production brewery in Clifton Park, NY, 10 minutes north of Albany's capital district. Shmaltz's new home boasts a 50-barrel brewhouse with 20,000 barrels of annual capacity. The new brewery packages 12 and 22 ounce bottles and kegs of their diverse core and seasonal favorites, and hosts fans and beer tourists in their new tasting room for tours, barrel-aged previews, and special releases.

HE'BREW Beer[edit]

He'brew Death of a Contract Brewer Black IPA

HE'BREW Beer began as a Chanukah experiment in 1996 when founder and proprietor Jeremy Cowan and friends squeezed pomegranates to produce juice for the first HE'BREW beer.[1] Early distribution for this beer was done by Cowan himself out of the trunk of his grandmother’s car in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1997, Anderson Valley Brewing Company began brewing HE'BREW Beer and its distribution expanded to small craft beer wholesalers in California, Chicago and New York.[2] 2003 marked the year Shmaltz began packaging Genesis Ale and Messiah Nut Brown Ale in six-packs and moved production to Mendocino Brewing Company's facility in Saratoga Springs, NY. Eight beers currently make up the HE'BREW Beer line: Genesis Ale, Messiah Nut Brown Ale, Origin Pomegranate Strong Ale, Bittersweet Lenny’s R.I.P.A., Hop Manna IPA, Death Of A Contract Brewer Black IPA, Rejewvenator, and Jewbelation. All HE'BREW Beers are certified Kosher by the Kosher Supervision of America.

The company's name refers to Shmaltz, a type of cooking fat that is frequently associated with Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine.


HE'BREW Beer is widely recognized for its playful yet earnest study of Jewish, world, and pop cultural histories.[3] Each label of HE'BREW Beer lists facts and quotations related to the beer’s inspiration and its ingredients. For example, Origin, an imperial amber pomegranate ale, pays tribute to the original 1996 HE'BREW beer made with pomegranates, and its label contains facts, ancient mythology, and pop cultural references to pomegranates. Another component of HE'BREW’s marketing is its “shtick”, which incorporates Jewish religious references into the beers’ names and slogans. Genesis Ale is aptly named because it was the first HE'BREW creation, and the tagline to Messiah Nut Brown Ale is “the beer you’ve been waiting for,” which alludes to the Jewish belief that the promised savior of the world has yet to come.[4]


In 2006 HE'BREW debuted Bittersweet Lenny’s R.I.P.A., a rye double IPA dedicated to the late Jewish comedian Lenny Bruce.[5] This beer is brewed with an "obscene" amount of malt and hops, including three kinds of rye malt and seven different hop varieties. Bittersweet Lenny’s R.I.P.A. is the first in a series of “Tributes to Jewish Stars” and is available year-round. Following the release of Bittersweet Lenny’s R.I.P.A., Shmaltz sponsored an "Homage to Lenny Bruce & Free Speech," a fundraising event that featured Sarah Silverman and Lewis Black.[6] The barrel-aged version of Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A., R.I.P.A. on Rye, took home the Silver Medal in the Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer category at the 2010 Great American Beer Festival.[7]

Shmaltz offers the Rejewvenator and Jewbelation series as limited seasonal releases. Rejewvenator is a half-doppelbock, half-Belgian-style dubbel that takes inspiration from the German custom of brewing strong, dark lagers (bocks) for springtime consumption and adding the suffix “-ator” to the beer’s name. Rejewvenator's spring-to-fall availability coincides with the barley harvest in the spring and the hop harvest in the fall, as well as with the spring and fall new years in Jewish tradition. The beer itself is a lager-ale hybrid, fermented by both a lager yeast and Trappist and abbey ale yeasts, and each year a different sacred species fruit is added to the fermenting wort. The 2008 Rejewvenator, for example, featured fig juice, while the 2009 Rejewvenator was made with California date juice and 2010 Rejewvenator, with Concord grapes. The Beverage Testing Institute awarded both Rejewvenator 2009 and Rejewvenator 2010 a gold medal at their 2010 and 2011 World Beer Championships, respectively.[8][9]

Inaugurated as an eighth-anniversary ale called Jewbelation 8, Shmaltz commemorates their anniversary with each subsequent edition of Jewbelation by using the same number of malts, hops, and alcohol-by-volume value as the number of years they have been brewing. Numerology is integral to the Hebrew alphabet and Judaism, and in recognition of this aspect of its Jewish heritage, Shmaltz features religious, scientific, and cultural facts and quotations involving the special anniversary number on the Jewbelation label.[10] This extreme beer is released in the fall, and Chanukah 2011 will herald the 15th anniversary of Shmaltz and the release of Jewbelation 15. In keeping with the Jewbelation tradition, this beer will contain 15 malts, 15 hops, and 15% ABV. Fall 2011 Shmaltz also will release Genesis 15:15, a barrel-aged Harvest Barleywine brewed with pomegranates, figs, dates, and Concord grapes, to commemorate its anniversary. The series is on its 18th iteration as of 2014.

In connection with each Chanukah season, Shmaltz hosts an annual beer challenge “Chanukah vs. Christmas: The Battle Royale of Beers” in national markets including NYC, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Baltimore and others.[11]

In February 2012, Shmaltz released Hop Manna IPA® the first IPA in the HE'BREW line. The name refers to manna, the sacred food that fell from the sky to the desert to feed the Israelites following their exodus from Egypt. Hop Manna was slated to be released in 2011[dated info] only on draft, with a full national launch of bottles and draft in 2012.[12]

HE'BREW Messiah Bold

The Hop Manna® premiered at SF Beer Week in February 2012. The brew went on to take the gold medal at the 2012 World Beer Championships and maintains a 95 rating on Hop Manna® features six hops (Warrior, Cascade, Citra, Amarillo, Crystal, Centennial), three dry hops (Centennial, Cascade and Citra), and is balanced out with five malts (Specialty 2-Row, Wheat, Munich, Vienna, CaraMunich 40). At 65 IBUs and 6.8% ABV, Hop Manna® became nationally available in 22 oz. bottles and a limited amount of draft at select bars. In 2014, the brand brand became available in 4-pack, 12 oz. bottles, as well.

Barrel-Aging Projects[edit]

Like many of its craft brewing counterparts, Shmaltz Brewing has begun aging several of its more complex and higher alcohol beers in various barrels previously used to store whiskey and bourbon whiskey. HE'BREW R.I.P.A. on Rye, Vertical Jewbelation, and Genesis 15:15 were all aged in Sazerac 6-year Rye Whiskey barrels, while Barrel-Aged Coney Island Human Blockhead was the first Shmaltz beer to be aged in Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey barrels.[13] While the beers in the barrel-aged series are Shmaltz's most limited offerings, they are also the most award-winning: R.I.P.A. on Rye was the Silver Medalist in the Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer category at the 2010 Great American Beer Festival and the Beverage Testing Institute awarded Vertical Jewbelation a gold medal at its 2011 World Beer Championships.[14]

List of beers brewed[edit]

Brand Name Original Release Date Availability Style ABV%
He'brew Genesis Dry Hopped Session Ale 00 1996, Dec Year Round Dry Hopped Session Ale 5.6
He'brew Messiah Nut Brown Ale 00 1999 Year Round Nut Brown Ale 5.2
He'brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. 00 2006 Year Round Rye Imperial India Pale Ale 10.0
He'brew St. Lenny's Belgian Rye Double IPA 00 2013 Limited Belgian style rye Double India Pale Ale 10.0
He'brew Origin Pomegranate Ale 00 2006 Year Round Imperial Amber Ale brewed with pomegranate juice 8.0
He'brew Rejewvenator Dubbel Doppel 00 2008, May Seasonal Belgian-style dubbel/doppelbock hybrid brewed with figs (2008); dates (2009); Concord grapes (2010); Merlot grapes (2014) 8.0
He'brew Jewbelation Anniversary Ale 00 2004, Dec Seasonal American Strong Ale/Imperial Brown Ale - number of malts and hops used and ABV corresponds to anniversary[10] 8-17
He'brew David's Slingshot Hoppy Rye Lager 00 2011 '11-'14 Seasonal; Year Round Hoppy Rye Lager 5.5
He'brew Genesis 10:10 00 2006 Limited Imperial Amber Ale brewed with pomegranate juice 8.0
He'brew Hop Manna IPA 00 2011 Year Round IPA 6.8
He'brew R.I.P.A. on Rye 00 2010 Limited Rye Imperial India Pale Ale aged in Rye Whiskey barrels 10.0
He'brew Vertical Jewbelation 00 2010, Dec Limited A blend of all seven recipes of Jewbelation aged in (Sazerac 6-year Rye Whiskey barrels) Jewbelations 8-14 10.5
He'brew Funky Jewbelation 00 2012 Limited Barrel-Aged Strong Sour Brown Ale, a blend of 6 ales aged in Rye Whiskey and Bourbon barrels Funky Jewbelations '12-'14 9.4-9.8
He'brew Death Of A Contract Brewer Black IPA 00 2013 Year Round Black India Pale Ale 7.0
He'brew Reunion Ale 00 2011 Limited Ale Brewed with Toasted Coconut, Coffee, Vanilla, Cinnamon, Chocolate & Cocoa Nibs 7.3-8
He'brew Genesis 15:15 00 2011, Sep Limited Harvest Barleywine brewed with pomegranates, figs, dates, and Concord grapes and aged in Rye Whiskey barrels 13.4
He'brew Hanukkah Chanukah Pass The Beer 00 2014, Nov Seasonal Dark Ale 8.0

Source: Shmaltz Brewing Company [15][16]

Coney Island Craft Lagers[edit]

Summer 2008 marked the official launch of Shmaltz's Coney Island Craft Lagers line. This brand was released in partnership with the arts organization Coney Island USA, a 501(c)3 Non-Profit, and a portion of the proceeds from Coney Island Craft Lagers directly benefited Coney Island USA. The line includes the flagship Coney Island Lager, which was first released in June 2007, and five experimental lagers: Sword Swallower, Albino Python, Mermaid Pilsner, Human Blockhead (Winter), and Freaktoberfest (Fall). In 2010 the brand was awarded "Best Craft Brewer" and "Best in Show" at industry publication Beverage World Magazine's BevStar Awards for product quality, brand marketing, and overall creativity in "pushing the limits of lager."[17]

Coney Island Human Blockhead


The striking artwork for Coney Island Lagers was the creation of Shmaltz’s art director Matt Polacheck and Brooklyn-based tattoo artist Dave C. Wallin, whose original illustrations spotlight Heather Holliday (Sword Swallower) and the MC of the sideshow, Donny Vomit (Human Blockhead). The logo for the brand and for Coney Island Lager is based on the iconic "Tillie" face that graced the entrance of George Tilyou's Steeplechase Park in Coney Island.[18]

Coney Island Brewing Company[edit]

In May 2010 Shmaltz launched its first brewing location in Brooklyn, New York. At one gallon of beer per batch, Coney Island Brewing Company was officially the smallest commercial brewery by volume in the world.[19] In August 2011 Coney Island Brewing Company registered as a fully licensed brewery with the state of New York, and within its 175-square foot space brewery staff began bottling its nano-batches of beer for sale to the public, including a Pumpernickel Bagel Porter and a Cotton Candy Wit Ale.[20]

Boston Beer Co. Acquires Coney Island[edit]

On August 26, 2013, A&S Brewing Collaborative LLC, d/b/a Alchemy & Science (“A&S”), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Boston Beer Co. Inc. (NYSE: SAM), acquired all rights to the Coney Island brand from Shmaltz Brewing Company, LLC (formerly known as Coney Island Brewing Company, LLC) (“Shmaltz”), as well as some brewery equipment and other assets related to the Coney Island brand.[21] In connection with the acquisition, A&S entered into a two-year brewing services agreement with Shmaltz for Shmaltz to brew all of the Coney Island Beers.

Coney Island Brewing Company, established in 2010 on the corner of W 12th Street and Surf Avenue, in Coney Island, New York
On August 10, 2011 Coney Island Brewing Company was certified as the "World's Smallest Commercial Brewery" by the World Records Academy. Average brew batch size is one gallon
HE'BREW Beer and Coney Island Craft Lagers merchandise at Coney Island Brewing Company. 
Shmaltz Brewing Company employees break into an impromptu air guitar solo on the Mermaid Parade route. 

Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah[edit]

In September 2010 owner Jeremy Cowan published a small business memoir, Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah, that chronicles Cowan's upbringing in the Northern California suburbs and describes how HE'BREW Beer evolved from an inside joke with high school friends to a nationally distributed craft beer brand under Shmaltz Brewing Company. The book was launched at Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado, and a second edition was released in December 2010.[22] "Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah" was written with help from friend and journalist James Sullivan and is published by Malt Shop Publishing.

National distribution of Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah begins September 2011 through Small Press United. It is available at bookstores across the country, as well as at major digital retail outlets including Detailed information on Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah, including a free sampling of Chapter One and suggested beer pairings, can be viewed at here

Shmaltz Brewery[edit]

After 17 years of contract brewing, Shmaltz decided to break with tradition in 2013 by opening their own 20,000 square foot brewery in Clifton Park, New York.[23] The new brewery boasts a 50-barrel brewhouse with 20,000 barrels of annual capacity. Within a year, the brewery has already added additional equipment to boost capacity from 20,000 barrels to 35,000 barrels.[24]

The new brewery will package 12 and 22 ounce bottles and kegs of their diverse core and seasonal favorites. Several new releases and collaborations are on tap for 2013, and Shmaltz will continue their acclaimed exploration of barrel-aging with a current inventory of more than 300 bourbon, rye whiskey, and tequila barrels.

The 1,700 square foot tasting room is a place where "[v]isitors can sample a variety of fresh Shmaltz beers, tour the facility, and learn about the beer-making process. They also can witness Shmaltz’s signature borscht belt humor: in the tasting room there’s a beer menorah display featuring empty bottles from the gift pack and T-shirts with the slogan “Don’t Pass Out, Pass Over” hanging on the wall".[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "He'Brew". Shmaltz Brewing Company. Retrieved 2009-09-21. 
  2. ^ Brand, William (2005). "He’brew - The Chosen Beer: How It All Began". Northwest Brewing News. Retrieved 2009-09-21. 
  3. ^ Hawthorne, Marc. "Food Feature: Shmaltz Brewing Company". The Onion. Retrieved May 2009. 
  4. ^ Cowan, Jeremy (2010). Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah. New York, NY: Malt Shop Publishing. pp. 14, 138. 
  5. ^ Kitsock, Greg (30 September 2009). "Rye Observations". Washington Post (Washington Post). Retrieved 30 September 2009. 
  6. ^ Cowan, Jeremy (2010). Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah. New York, NY: Malt Shop Publishing. pp. 236–238. 
  7. ^ Brewers Association. "2010 Great American Beer Festival Winners List". Brewers Association. Retrieved September 2010. 
  8. ^ Beverage Testing Institute. "Shmaltz Brewing Company 2009 He'Brew Rejewvenator Ale". Beverage Testing Institute. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  9. ^ Beverage Testing Institute. "Shmaltz Brewing Company 2010 He'Brew Rejewvenator Ale". Beverage Testing Institute. Retrieved 17 May 2011. 
  10. ^ a b Cowan, Jeremy (2010). Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah. New York, NY: Malt Shop Publishing. p. 216. 
  11. ^ Farrell, Maureen (28 September 2009). "Must Try Marketing Maneuvers.". Archived from the original on 18 September 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2009. 
  12. ^ Nason, Adam. "Shmaltz Brewing to Release Hop Manna IPA". Retrieved 28 April 2011. 
  13. ^ "Shmaltz Brewing Company". 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-12. 
  14. ^ Beverage Testing Institute. "Shmaltz Brewing Company He'Brew Vertical Jewbelation Barrel Aged Ale". Beverage Testing Institute. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  15. ^ "Shmaltz Brewing Company". Shmaltz Brewing Company. Retrieved 2011-09-12. 
  16. ^ Cowan, Jeremy (2010). Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah. New York, NY: Malt Shop Publishing. 
  17. ^ Cioletti, Jeff (15 July 2010). "A Trio of Freaks". Beverage World Magazine. 
  18. ^ Miliard, Mike (13 August 2008). "Shmaltz Coney Island Lagers: Freaking Delicious.". The Boston Phoenix. 
  19. ^ World Records Academy. "Smallest Commercial Brewery: Coney Island Brewing Company Set World Record". Retrieved 12 August 2011. 
  20. ^ Kitsock, Greg (6 December 2010). "Beer: Barley, Hops, and Shtick.". The Washington Post. 
  21. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help);
  22. ^ Holl, John (10 December 2010). "Shmaltz for the Holidays". Ale Street News. 
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^

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