At the Wormtown Brewery, you can always Be Hoppy
By Tricia Wise
Wormtown Brewery has made the move to 72 Shrewsbury St. from the popular Worcester restaurant Peppercorn’s. Owners Tom Oliveri, David Fields and Ben Roesch ensure that every one of their craft beers will offer “a piece of Mass in every glass.” Recently, Pulse sat down with the owners of Wormtown to talk about the move and their plans for the future.
Tom Oliveri: It started on kind of a whim. Seven years ago, we opened an ice cream shop at the restaurant Peppercorn’s. It was a very seasonal business: Between June, July and August, business was great; other than that, it wasn’t. We looked for something a little bit more year-round as opposed to seasonal. One thing led to another, and five years ago, we opened Wormtown Brewery.
Why did you move business to Shrewsbury Street?
Oliveri: Supply and demand.
David Fields: We moved to Shrewsbury Street because of the visibility, the point of connection that this location provides, the huge market component to being on Shrewsbury Street.
Fields: The most popular beer is, by far, the Be Hoppy, which was not anticipated. We originally opened with Seven Hills Session Pale Ale as the flagship brand. But Be Hoppy is one of our original brews as well. Just because of our consumers, Be Hoppy became the most popular beer. But that’s not our most medaled beer at this point in time, which is the Pro Am Porter, which is seasonally available.
How would you define the style of the brewery?
Fields: Overall, we are a hop-forward, West Coast-style brewery. But interestingly, when we range-such as the Pro Am Porter or the Norm or beers that won all the medals down in the U.S. Beer Open-we do really well. We have five or six hoppy-style beers, but we balance it with three to four malty, sweeter styles.
As your business expands, will you decide to serve food?
Oliveri: We serve microwave popcorn!
Oliveri: Never say never!
Fields: This is made to be a commercial brewery; everyone right now follows this retail space. We have to be this really cool stop to come and hang out. Our business plan is to be a commercial brewery, just like Sam Adams and Wachusett. There are 18 [restaurants] around here, all selling our beers, so we love the partnership we have with everybody in Worcester.
Fields: We are always sure to mention, “A piece of Mass in every glass,” which is really kind of the stamp on our commitment to beer and the local movement. Every beer we have has some sort of local, Massachusetts-grown ingredient. In the Masshole, 100 percent of the ingredients come from Massachusetts. With local businesses, it’s personal; it’s a personal touch.
Ben Roesch: It keeps famers in our community, keeps their family business. There are direct relationships. If anyone has a question or issue, I can answer it directly, which wouldn’t be possible if you go into the larger food conglomerate.