Mark Sigman, who has been brewing beer since 1994, recently has opened a new brewery in Plainville. The brewery’s name is “Relic,” and Sigman (as its owner, founder, and head brewer) is aiming to make artisan beers that take their inspiration from the flavors of the world.
Sigman’s full time (or ‘real’ as he joked to me) job is at an advertisement agency, so Sigman is already well acquainted with business and how to craft a winning brand. To promote and make the beer stand out in a crowded market, Sigman draws on his marketing experience to come out with some impressive graphics and distribution ideas. For one the logo already looks professional, even though the brewery is still in its infancy. Another note that tells of Sigman’s seriousness about the craft are his test growlers. He is currently testing out what bottle catches the buyers eye the most, and has a few on display in his brewery.
It is obvious that Sigman has had to do his homework to get a brewery going, but the story goes back further than choosing the most appealing bottles and pint glasses. The first thing that Sigman needed to research was a good place to brew in CT. After finding Plainville (a town where he could have good access to water and shipping) Sigman researched and found that Plainville had no laws pertaining to beer brewing on the books. He lobbied for change, typed out a multiple-page document packet detailing the law change, and then, after presenting his plans, he got great feedback from the community and the motion to allow brewing passed. Even after posting the signs that made the community aware of a brewery moving in, Sigman said that he has been received very well by the surrounding community, and everyone that he has spoken to seems excited to have a brewery in town.
The name “Relic” comes from Sigman’s travels. Touring other countries and experiencing new cultures have been a long, cherished past time for Sigman, as is the study of history. He said that “relic” reminds him especially of time spent in Europe, and that it refers to something that he imagines as old and cherished. Though the name is a nod in respect to medieval styles of beer, Sigman really wants his beer to have new, unique characteristics. This idea of unique character and preciousness is part of where Sigman’s brewing philosophy seems to come from. He doesn’t want to brew based on styles (ale, lager, stout, etc), but rather brew something that he personally enjoys with tastes that he views as complimentary or exciting. Obviously this artisan approach will take use certain styles as bases, but Sigman’s point is that he doesn’t want to lock himself into brewing only one certain style or another. Adding to the character of the beer is the fact that Sigman leaves his beer unfiltered and unpasteurized, and lets them to bottle condition (or age as they sit in their receptacles).
As far as sales go, Sigman plans to distribute growlers first, as that is the easiest to sell directly from the brewery. After that Sigman wants to start distributing to package stores and then lastly to restaurants and bars. What does that mean for you, the saavy beer drinker looking to try brand new artisan beers? Just stop on by sometime. “The lot is pretty much empty usually,” Sigman joked, “So if you ever see my car just stop on by and say ‘hi’.”
Of course Relic doesn’t open officially until maybe January, so you would probably be better off connecting with him on Twitter or Facebook. As for the final styles that are offered, Sigman is still up in the air. He wants to know what people like, and is looking forward to going to different festivals coming up and seeing what most people go for. He really wants to have new flavors cycle in and out fairly often, and wants to eventually make the brewery a go-to-stop for people to go in, try the new stuff, and refill a few growlers.
To read my full article and read more about the brewery and its beer, head over to my blog: Malted Musings. Once again, be sure to follow Relic on Twitter and Facebook. Also, for all your CT beer news, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Blogger.