Hard ciders were popular in the United Kingdom for years before reaching the mainstream U.S. market. Likewise, stevia was used as a sweetener in Japan for decades before getting approval as a safe food additive in the United States in the form of Rebaudioside A, according to Cargill. Many trends are born overseas and eventually make their way to the U.S. market. But that doesn’t mean Americans can’t be trendsetters too.
Although it’s common for siblings to attempt to out-compete each other as children, it’s less likely that it will result in a profitable business venture for them as adults. But for brothers Russ and Jim Klisch, what started out as a case of sibling rivalry over who could homebrew the better beer turned into a successful beer business.
Back in the late ‘50s and ‘60s, talking beer stein characters Schultz and Dooley promoted the mellow taste and naturalness of Utica Club lager in TV commercials. At the time, the brand was a strong regional competitor produced in Utica, N.Y., by West End Brewing Co., which is known today as F.X. Matt Brewing Co.
The beer category, which includes domestic beer, imported beer, craft beer, hard cider and flavored malt beverages, has mostly remained flat or suffered minimal declines in off-premise accounts in recent years, according to market research firms.
Upon entering the century-old F.X. Matt Brewing Co. offices in Utica, N.Y., visitors are greeted with Victorian-era furnishings, including an old bank teller counter with a slanted bottom to accommodate women’s hoop skirts. Historic furnishings like this continue throughout the 400,000-square-foot campus. However, despite its historical appearance, the facility offers many modern touches.