Tom Sobocinski, Co-Owner at Black Hog Brewing told Innovation Destination Hartford Website Curator Nan Price about how the brewery got started, its plans for the future, and the importance of innovation.
NAN PRICE: How did the business get started?
TOM SOBOCINSKI: The idea for Black Hog Brewing was started in the fall of 2013 when some family friends connected on food and brewing. Brewmaster Tyler Jones was brewing at Portsmouth Brewery in New Hampshire while my brother Jason and I were operating a restaurant and bar in New Haven, CT.
I was very interested in the industry and would often chat with Tyler about home brewing. With a baby on the way, Tyler and his wife Racheal (The Ginga Ninja) decided to move to Connecticut. After a bit of planning, Black Hog Brewing was born. We were fortunate to find a brewery for sale in Oxford, CT and we started brewing in May of 2014.
NAN: Tell us about the startup’s growth and business reach.
TOM: Black Hog Brewing has a 15-barrel brewery system and currently 5 × 30 barrel fermenters, with two more 60-barrel tanks on the way. In just about two years we now distribute to five states including Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island.
NAN: Why Connecticut?
TOM: Jason and I were born and raised in New Haven, CT along with Racheal, who is from North Haven. We all have family and roots in the state and also felt that Connecticut needed some good craft beer. Several more breweries have opened since we did and we feel that the Connecticut beer scene has come a very long way, but still has plenty of room for growth.
NAN: Where do you see Black Hog Brewing in the next three to five years?
TOM: We want to continue to grow and want Black Hog to be a brand found in every bar in Connecticut. We plan to continue growing and producing our core ales (Easy Rye’ Da, Ginga Ninja, Granola Brown, and Nitro Coffee Milk Stout) while also producing more specialty products and series. We want to continue focusing on Connecticut ingredients as often as possible while producing very fun and well balanced ales.
NAN: What is the best business advice you’ve given or received?
TOM: I think it’s important in any business to always continue to innovate and try new things while maintaining great quality and good customer service as the number one priority. It’s very important to us that every batch of Black Hog beer that leaves our loading dock is perfect because every drop of beer represents who we are.