A Culture of Craft.
why we do this
Everyone respects and values those who hone their craft to the highest level. From beer to spirits to food made from scratch (all on-site), to the crafts people and artists who contribute their talent, skills, and passion to bring a unique experience to the community, this is the place where true craft is celebrated at every turn. verae artis
What to expect
Our vision is clear: celebrate true passionate expressions of craft. Our strategy is simple: gather a group of people who have talent and passion for their respective crafts, and deliver a unique experience to our local community. we are rooted in tradition, but not shackled by it. Expect true representations of historic styles of beer, spirits and food — but watch as our crafts people spread their wings and fly — there might be a few surprises in store.
Black Flannel Brewing Company has multiple Certified Cicerone®’s on staff with a particular focus on providing beer education opportunities to our guests. We believe the more you know about beer and spirits, the more you will enjoy our offerings. Visitors to this website will be able to explore and acquire a good level of knowledge. On a weekly basis, visitors to our brewpub in Essex, Vermont will have the opportunity to learn topics such as “Learn How to Taste Beer Like a Beer Judge”, “Classic German Beer Styles”, “History of Brewing”, “Brewing Processes”, and so much more.
raven & anvil
The anvil is a tool of the crafts person. It's a symbol of creating the imagined from the raw materials of reality. It represents the practical application of craft; the physical work that goes into it.
The raven is a symbol of rebirth, renewal, reflection, wisdom and creativity. The raven bowing can be interpreted many ways; respect the craft, head down in your work, a nod to the past… what does it mean to you?
Process EquipmentAll of our process pumps and motors are installed with a variable frequency drive which allows us to use the exact amount of energy we need for any given task. This includes the pump that powers our chilled water system, which has a pressure transducer in line which allows it to ramp up and down automatically as demand increases or decreases.
CoolingState of the Art glycol chiller with patented high-efficiency hybrid refrigeration technology by Dodge Engineering. All glycol piping has been installed using Cool-Fit ABS Plus which is the industry gold standard for efficiency and sustainability. The chiller also uses floating head pressure technology to leverage the cold Vermont weather and increase efficiency.
HeatingBuilding insulation & weatherization. HVAC smart zones, smart thermostats, variable frequency drives on HVAC equipment and kitchen hood systems.
KitchenSuper energy efficient electric fryers used in our kitchen. Intellihood system to optimize ventilation based on actual usage. Walk-in cooler utilizes chilled glycol for energy efficient cooling.
Solar PowerBlack Flannel Brewing Co. & Black Flannel Distilling Co. are located at a facility that is 100% solar powered. The first center of it's kind in New England to achieve this distinction.
LightingDimmable LED lighting used throughout the brewery and distillery. Employ use of motion sensors, daylight sensors, with occupancy detection.
CleaningOur brewhouse, still, and fermentation vessel cleaning process (CIP or Clean in Place) will include a methodology to reduce the amount of water required to achieve the same results that requires a great deal more water (and use of heavy phosphorus-based chemicals) that we will reduce in our process.
Wastewater ReductionRather than putting water down the drain, Black Flannel has optimized water use so it can be used in more than one process along the way. Some breweries waste over 13 gallons of water per gallon of beer produced. Our target is to reduce water use to less than 1/4 what other breweries are using.
Hot Liquor (Water) TankHLT’s save energy. At the end of the boil, we run our beer through a heat exchanger on the way to the fermenter. We put all of that heat back into the HLT vs down the drain. This saves significant energy on all brew days (especially double batch days). Heating strike water can account for 1/2 of brewery energy use.
Cold Liquor (Water) TankA cold liquor tank is a buffer vessel used to hold cold water for use in cooling wort down to a fermentable temperature after boiling. Having this for use in the heat exchanger takes the load off the other areas in the brewpub that require cold water (kitchen, bathrooms).
Aluminum Cans / LabelsShrink-wrap labels make cans unrecyclable. Our labels are easily removed during the recycling process making our aluminum cans 100% recyclable. Cans are also the best choice for most beers, allowing zero UV ray light or oxygen contact with the packaged beer.
4-Pack CARRIERS / ReuseWe participate in the can carrier recycling program from EcoFriendlyBeer. As of the fall of 2021, 100% of all can carrier we use for canning are recycled, reused, and sanitized. So don't throw those 4-pack carriers away. We would be thrilled for the opportunity to reuse them.
GlassFor special releases, especially sour beers and all spirits, we plan to use glass bottles which are of course 100% recyclable. And unless you've been living under a rock, you'll know there is also incentive to return bottles and cans for cash money!
Kegs, Casks, BarrelsKegs and casks are reusable thousands of times over. Barrels can go through many fills and uses, for example, they may start in our distillery to age bourbons, then used to age beers. Once they have been used multiple times, they can be reconditioned and used all over again.
Spent GrainA small percentage of spent grain is used for baked goods in our restaurant. The rest of our spent grain is sent to a local pig farmer for inclusion in their feed mixture.
Grain BagsGrain bags are strong and a great material that can be used for various crafts such as tote bags, wallets, and purses. we bring the majority of grain bags we use to a local recycler who ships them to a manufacturer of strong and sustainable outdoor flooring / decking materials.
YeastAny yeast that is no longer viable for use or repitching will be stored in an IBC tote for transport to a regional biodigester to make electricity so it doesn't make its way down the drain.
HopsMany breweries send their hop trub down the drain. Black Flannel will collect hop trub to send to a regional biodigester to make electricity so it will avoid adding too high a biological demand on the local wastewater system.
Compost (Food)As of summer 2020, all Vermont individuals and businesses are be required to compost in order to remove compostable materials from landfills. This reduces solid waste in the state by more than 40%. Regardless of the law, Black Flannel already planned to compost all food waste… you know, because it’s the right thing to do.
Compostable MaterialsWe use cloth napkins and any to-go containers, straws, cups, or other container materials will be 100% compostable. You won't see any styrofoam or single use plastic in our facility.
Carbon Dioxide RecaptureWhile don't yet have this in place but it is in our future expansion plan to add a CO2 reclamation system to allow us to reuse all CO2 that off-gasses from our fermenters and use to carbonate our finished beer. The proceeds from our Raven & Anvil membership program are earmarked for this future initiative.
our craft. our way.
With more than one Certified Cicerone® and multiple Beer Judges on staff and in our quality program, Black Flannel Brewing and Distilling Companies have a strong commitment to quality. Beer, Spirits, Food, Cocktails - anything we offer to our guests will be a carefully considered and crafted experience.
A good example of our commitment to quality is our beer quality testing and sensory evaluation program. From grain to glass, Black Flannel and our supply partners run ingredients and finished beer through a series of over 100 quality checkpoints to ensure our guests have the best experience while enjoying our beer. This includes a sensory evaluation program (called the “Flannel Panel”) which consists of a group of loyal and happy tasters, ranging from industry professionals, to certified beer judges, to typical consumers. This panel is tasked with the job of ensuring the beer in the glass represents the level of quality we are well known for in Vermont.
spirits. Black Flannel Distilling Company is the only distillery in the state of Vermont that is within the same physical footprint as a sister brewing company. This provides unique opportunities for collaboration and achieving the best quality fermentations, leading to top quality, clean, smooth, and highly creative products. This quality carries through to our craft cocktail program. Most of our craft cocktails are made with 100% Black Flannel brewed or distilled products.
The simple fact that Black Flannel Distilling Co. ferments and distills everything on-site sets us apart from a vast majority of other spirit manufacturers in Vermont and beyond. Most buy their distilled products in bulk and barrel age, infuse botanicals, back sweeten, or finish in some other way before bottling and adding their branding to the finished bottle. There is nothing wrong with this approach. We simply believe that the ability to control the quality - fruit, vegetable, or grain to glass - makes for a more interesting and superior result. One that we feel good about labeling hand crafted in Vermont.
Our brewpub includes a full service restaurant where our team of talented chefs (including 2022 James Beard semifinalist Chef Christian Kruse) prepare unique dishes right before your eyes. Our menu and weekly specials are specifically designed to pair optimally with our beer, spirits, and craft cocktails to bring you a one of a kind experience not available anywhere else in Vermont.
We realize how fortunate we are to live in Vermont, brew beer & distill spirits for a living, and we would not exist without the support of the people around us. We are a part of a healthy and vibrant community where we all work hard to maintain a high quality of life. Vermonters are a generous bunch and we have many people and companies who contribute their time, homes / spaces, money and products, and we will do our part as well. If you are a non-profit organization and think we can help in some way, please feel free to contact us any time. Though we have a limited budget to support non-profit organizations, we will do all we can to help.
Events & Sponsorships
Our first local non-profit event in 2021 was in support of slamt1d (supporting type 1 diabetes). This wiffle ball tournament raises a minimum of $5000 per team and they play on a weekend in June (at little Fenway, Jericho VT). We had a gathering of teams the evening before the event. This is just one example of the type of non-profit event Black Flannel loves to support.
Since our opening in 2020, we choose a local non-profit organization to support by donating a % of proceeds from a beer release or cocktail sales. We have worked with over dozen non-profit organization in the last 18 months including the American Cancer Society, Special Olympics Vermont, the Ronald McDonald House, Outright Vermont, Howard Mental Health, Passion for Paws, COTS, Aunt Annies Place, and the Vermont Brewer's Association to name a few.
We have a non-discrimination policy - everyone is accepted as part of our community and nothing (except experience, qualifications and passion for their craft), are considerations for employment.
We also have gender neutral bathrooms with only one requirement… wash your hands (your mom thanks you, your friends thank you, and we thank you).
Everyone has the right to pursue a path that makes them happy in life. Our happy place is right here, embracing exceptional craft with coworkers, friends, family, and everyone in the community.
In craft beer and spirits, there is virtually unlimited material - a person could spend a lifetime of study and never run out of subject matter. The more we know, the better we can engage in honing the finer points of our craft.
Black Flannel provides financial incentive for all service staff to study and become Certified Cicerone® Beer Servers. In addition, we provide many opportunities for staff and the general public, to reach new levels of Cicerone® certification. We provide on-site education, seminars, and study group opportunities. Kaizen (continual improvement) is part of our mission. We support employees who wish to develop their knowledge and skill in their respective crafts.