Smuttynose Brewing Co. CEO and founder Peter Egelston, at left, chats with Brent Merriam of NEMO Equipment in Dover after speaking during this year’s first University of New Hampshire CEO Forum in the Huddleston Ballroom on Thursday. (GRETYL MACALASTER PHOTO)
The beer biz
Smuttynose’s Egelston tells UNH forum about growing a beer business
That is Smuttynose CEO Peter Egelston’s typical attire, and he can be seen wearing it in advertisements, at CEO forums and in his Portsmouth brewery most days.
He started Smuttynose Brewing Company in 1994 almost by accident after purchasing a building full of brewing equipment at auction.
This year, Smuttynose Brewing Co. will ship more than 45,000 barrels of beer to 23 states and the District of Columbia, making it one of the top 50 regional specialty breweries in the nation.
Today there are more than 2,500 craft breweries nationwide, and that number is expected to exceed 3,000 by this time next year.
The move is focused on increased capacity, logistical efficiency and energy efficiency. The building will be certified to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards.
He said the company’s approach to growth over the years has been on an as-needed basis, and when it could afford it. This includes distribution, which has slowly expanded from the Northeast region across the United States.
In addition to its year-round beers, Smuttynose offers a seasonal line that Egelston said is a driving factor for the craft brewing industry. The fall pumpkin ale is one of Smuttynose’s most popular brews.
Attendees at Thursday’s forum had an opportunity to try some of the brews themselves, giving the next executives to speak after Egelston a tough act to follow.
Portsmouth Regional Hospital President Anne Jamieson will speak on Oct. 17, and Matthew Albuquerque, founder and CEO of Next Step Bionics and Prosthetics, will speak on Nov. 14.
The UNH CEO Forum was initiated in 1997 to serve as an outreach program of the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics and the UNH Graduate School for CEOs, company presidents and senior managers. The forum provides members with opportunities for networking and idea exchange in an informal setting.
“I think it’s great. It’s nice to listen to what they have to say and nice to integrate with other business leaders,” Merriam said.