Robin Ottaway '95
Brewer Robin Ottaway ’95 likes his beer. And he isn’t the only one.
“People are caring more about what they consume. They’re drinking less and drinking better,” said Ottaway, partner in and vice president of sales for the out-of-state divison for the Brooklyn Brewery
Nowadays the “Brooklyn” name carries marketing cachet and widespread appeal. But when Ottaway
started working at the brewery in 1996, that wasn’t the case. “When we started, people would say, ‘Why on earth would you name a premium product after Brooklyn?’” Ottaway said. “But Brooklyn is sexy now.”
Sexy enough for the Brooklyn Brewery’s brands to sell in 23 states and 12 countries. “We’ll do about a million cases this year,” Ottaway said. “But when I got involved, I was going out on the street trying to scrape together a five-case deal.”
It took several years, but the three partners in the Brooklyn Brewery are making money now. But they’re not looking to cash out any time soon. “We don’t want to go public. We’ve been approached by a number of international brewers, but we have no interest,” said Ottaway.
“For years we weren’t profitable. Now we’re making a bit of money and we have no debt. We don’t want to get out now.”
Ottaway is definitive on that point. Ask him what his favorite beer is and that’s a different matter.
“Wow, that’s tough,” he said. “In our beer-geek world, we’re always asking each other, ‘If you could drink just six beers for the rest of your life, what would they be?’ For me, it’s wheat in the summer,something stronger as the weather gets cold ... but I don’t think anyone can pick just one favorite beer.”
—Mackenzie Dawson ’99