KOLR 10 & Ozarks Local Entertainment interviews Jim Blansit of Copper Run Distillery and Jeff Schrag of Mother´s Brewery.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Local brewers are working together to create new products they couldn’t make by themselves.
Not much beer comes from a barrel in modern times, but Jeff Schrag wanted to bring back that tradition at Mother’s Brewing Company.
“Back in the day all beer was in barrels,” Schrag explained. “Barrels impart a nice flavor. They have some nice wood notes they allow more interaction with the environment.”
Oak barrels are hard to come by these days. That’s why Schrag needed a little help.
“We had been playing with barrels just to impart that specific flavor,” he said.
Coincidentally, so was Jim Blansit, the owner of Copper Run Distillery. He was trying to produce a single malt scotch, but to do that he needed mash for the malt.
“The equipment that I use to process corn into bourbon,” Blansit explained, “is entirely different than the equipment that’s necessary to process barley into beer.”
As luck would have it, Schrag had the malt and Blansit had the barrels. That meant the two brewers could set up a trade that worked for both of them.
“The benefit is that they can use the equipment to process the barley into this wonderful wash,” Blansit said.
The two businessmen work with lots of other local producers, too.
Copper Run distills specialty products for local winemakers, and Mother’s reuses those barrels, too.
“They’re just about done with it by the time we’re ready for it,” Schrag said, “So it works out really nice.”
That might come as a surprise — you’d think that the businesses would feel like competitors. But, both men say it’s better to work as a team.
“It gives people that sense of ownership,” Blansit said. “There’s a pride, it’s like you’re rooting for your local sports team.”
“There are certain customers and constituents at either of these businesses,” Schrag added, “who are going to feel proud to be connected to these other businesses.”
In case you are curious about the exchange rate between the two businesses, it’s two white oak barrels per batch of mash.
Blansit hinted that Copper Run might release a batch of scotch this spring.