New Glarus Brewing Company

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New Glarus Brewing Co.
IndustryAlcoholic beverage
United States
OwnerDan and Deborah Carey

The New Glarus Brewing Company is an American brewery founded in 1993. Located in New Glarus, Wisconsin, it is an independently owned craft brewery. New Glarus Brewing Company is the 15th largest craft brewer and 25th largest overall brewing company in the United States, by sales volume.[1]


Deborah Carey, co-founder of the brewery, meets President Barack Obama in the White House, November 2012

The New Glarus Brewing Company was founded in 1993 by Deborah Carey as a gift for her husband, Daniel. Before starting the New Glarus Brewing Company, Dan Carey was an experienced diploma master brewer.[2] The brewery began in an abandoned warehouse with used brewpub equipment. In 1997, Dan Carey acquired the copper kettles from a brewery in Germany that was slated to be demolished. When the retiring German brewmaster learned that his kettles could be repurposed, he sold all of his equipment worth an estimated value of $1 million to the Careys for its scrap value of just over $24,000 US. New Glarus Brewing Company brewed its first beer in October of that year and began selling its product in December. Today the company brews a variety of beers, with its Spotted Cow label leading in sales. New Glarus brewing employs about 90 people today.[3]

The brewery made the choice to pull out of Illinois sales effective 2003 leading to the sale of New Glarus beer 'Only In Wisconsin' today. The move was made due to insufficient capacity to fill both Wisconsin and Illinois markets.[4]

In May 2006, New Glarus Brewing Company broke ground on a new $21 million facility on a hilltop on the south edge of the village of New Glarus. The facility was designed to look like a Bavarian village and has become a destination for tourists who visit New Glarus. The original facility drew an estimated 25,000 visitors annually, but the expanded facility likely will draw up to 150,000 people a year.[5] Production at the company's old facility had topped-out at over 65,000 barrels a year.[6] The new 75,000 sq ft (7,000 m2) facility was expected to increase production, and in 2014, New Glarus Brewing was on track to brew 165,000 barrels. A new cellar could give the facility the storage space to brew 300,000 barrels in a year.[3] The expansion will enable the company to increase production of its "Thumbprint", fruit, barrel-aged, and R&D beers. Construction was completed on schedule, and the Hilltop brewery opened in 2008.[7] In 2014, the brewery released its first beers from its wild fruit cave, a specialized addition to its original facility (commonly referred to as the Riverside Brewery) that incorporates wild yeasts and other microorganism used in brewing.[8]

Spotted Cow[edit]

The company's best-selling brand is Spotted Cow. First brewed in 1997,[9] Spotted Cow is a cask-conditioned farmhouse ale. New Glarus brews about 45,000 barrels of the beer a year, which accounts for about 40% of all the beer New Glarus makes a year.[10] Spotted Cow has been the best-selling draft beer in the state for a number of years [9] and is considered one of the most well-known beers in Wisconsin.[11] Spotted Cow is one of New Glarus' unfiltered brews, meaning the brewer's yeast is still in it.[12] The brewer's yeast will sometimes settle at the bottom of bottles. Spotted Cow has a 4.8% ABV.[13] New Glarus owners Deborah and Dan Carey said the name Spotted Cow was actually inspired by sheep on a trip to England.[14] The beer reached #1 on the list of the top 100 beers of all time by the Cold Cans podcast.[15]

Other beers[edit]

The brewery's tasting room and beer store

The Wisconsin Belgian Red, a fruity Belgian lambic-style ale brewed with Montmorency cherries from Door County, Wisconsin, has won awards in beer competitions around the world, and has ranked in the 100th percentile (highest possible average rating) among the critical beer drinkers at[16] The Uff-da Bock, which is a bit stronger than most bocks, is also popular.

New Glarus Brewing Company brews five beers that are available year-round.[17] In addition, the company produces seven seasonal varieties, including a winter Coffee Stout, lighter summer offerings like Dancing Man Wheat, and a fall Staghorn Oktoberfest. "Thumbprint Series" beers are released at the brewers discretion (usually 4 times per year). These are limited-release brews by owner/brewmaster Dan Carey. There are also limited brewery only releases called the "R&D Series" sold in 500 ml. bottles. Some of their beers have rather unusual names, like Stone Soup, and Pumpkin Pie Lust.


New Glarus beers are distributed exclusively in Wisconsin[18] by 17 independent wholesalers. Many grocery and convenience stores in Wisconsin carry Spotted Cow and a few other varieties, and many Wisconsin bars have Spotted Cow on tap. Wisconsin Belgian Red and Raspberry Tart are available only in 750 mL bottles and quarter-barrels (29.3 L); the remaining brews are sold in standard 12-fl oz (U.S.) bottles, in six- and four-packs or cases, and in quarter- and half-barrels. From 1998 to 2002, the company's brews were also sold in Illinois, with a majority of its sales in the Chicago area. New Glarus actually pulled Spotted Cow from Illinois shelves in 2002 because the company was struggling to meet demand for it in Wisconsin.[19] Deborah Carey also said the often messy "pay to play" approach, sometimes the only route to get a beer on bar/restaurant taps in major U.S. markets, further supported the brewery's limited distribution.[3]

In 2009, a New York City bar was raided and fined for illegally selling Spotted Cow.[20] In 2015, a bar in Maple Grove, Minnesota, also was caught illegally selling Spotted Cow after the establishment's owner allegedly purchased kegs in Wisconsin and took them back to Minnesota for retail sale.[21]


On the YouTube channel RedLetterMedia, bottles of New Glarus beer can often be seen either in the background or being drunk on screen by members of RedLetterMedia. This is most noticeable on Best of the Worst and Half in the Bag. To date, no member of RedLetterMedia has actively promoted the brand on the channel. Both RedLetterMedia and New Glarus Brewing Company are located in Wisconsin.


New Glarus Brewing Company has been one of the most award-winning brewers of its size.[22] It won two bronze medals at the 2009 Great American Beer Festival in Denver.[23] Spotted Cow has won a variety of awards over the years, including Best Drink in Wisconsin in 2009 by Bon Appetit magazine.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Top 50 Brewing Companies by Sales Volume of 2019". Boulder, CO: Brewers Association. April 1, 2020. Retrieved April 4, 2020.
  2. ^ "New Glarus Brewing". New Glarus Brewing. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c Alex Gary Register Star Media (August 31, 2014). "Distribution: The beer you can't get here". Rockford Register Star. Retrieved March 23, 2015.
  4. ^ Gutsche, Robert (December 4, 2002). "Brewer's success to leave Illinois flat". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  5. ^ Daykin, Tom (September 1, 2012). "New Glarus Brewing Co. attracts a crowd". Retrieved March 23, 2015.
  6. ^ Brew, Sconnie (March 4, 2012). "What do A Spotted Cow, A Fat Squirrel and A Moon Man have in common? |". Retrieved May 8, 2014.
  7. ^ Shepard, Robin. "New Glarus Brewing marks its 20th anniversary with expansion, special Belgian Dubbel ale - Isthmus | Madison, Wisconsin". Isthmus. Retrieved March 23, 2015.
  8. ^ Shepard, Robin. "New Glarus Brewing debuts the first sour beers from its wild fruit cave - Isthmus | Madison, Wisconsin". Isthmus. Retrieved March 23, 2015.
  9. ^ a b "New Glarus Brewing bottles love for Wisconsin". GazetteXtra. July 22, 2012. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
  10. ^ "New Glarus tapped SBA resources from start - The Business Journals". June 14, 2013. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
  11. ^ Robin Shepard. "New Glarus Brewing marks its 20th anniversary with expansion, special Belgian Dubbel ale - Isthmus". The Daily Page. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
  12. ^ "New Glarus Brewing". New Glarus Brewing. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
  13. ^ "Spotted Cow | New Glarus Brewing Company | New Glarus, WI". BeerAdvocate. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
  14. ^ ROB THOMAS (June 16, 2011). "New Glarus Spotted Cow has won over beer snobs and newbies alike". The Capital Times. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
  15. ^ "Episode 19: Spotted Cow". Cold Cans. Retrieved September 11, 2017.
  16. ^ "New Glarus Wisconsin Belgian Red". RateBeer. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  17. ^ "New Glarus Brewing". New Glarus Brewing. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
  18. ^ "Beer Man: Clean, tad sweet Edel Pils satisfies". July 6, 2013. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
  19. ^ "Brewer's success to leave Illinois flat - Chicago Tribune". December 4, 2002. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
  20. ^ John Del Signore in Food on Nov 27, 2009 5:05 pm (November 27, 2009). "SLA Raids Bar for Selling Wisconsin Beer". Gothamist. Archived from the original on February 28, 2015. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
  21. ^ Chazin, Rachel (April 17, 2015). "Spotted Cow beer sold illegally at bar in Maple Grove, Minn". KMSP. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  22. ^ "New Glarus Brewing". New Glarus Brewing. Archived from the original on December 21, 2008. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
  23. ^ "Capital, New Glarus medal at Great American Beer Festival : Wsj". September 28, 2009. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
  24. ^ "New Glarus Brewing". New Glarus Brewing. Retrieved May 8, 2014.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°47′40.19″N 89°37′56.59″W / 42.7944972°N 89.6323861°W / 42.7944972; -89.6323861