MadTree builds community in Tennessee.

By Joe Easton

At MadTree Brewing, they live by the mantra “beer builds community and community builds beer.”

Most craft breweries follow a similar mindset as they look to engage their local community in their business. This helps them fill their taproom, sell more beer, and (most importantly) strengthen their community.

It’s this philosophy that has made craft beer so successful recently and probably one of the reasons you choose craft beer.

But what happens when sell your beer in a state that is hours away? Can a brewery still connect with their customers and build a community that far away?

MadTree is one of the biggest craft breweries in Cincinnati, Ohio and now they are bringing tasty beer to Tennessee where they intend to meet the growing desire for high quality craft beer as well as spread their community-first mindset to the Volunteer State.

Quality Leads to Quantity

MadTree opened its doors in early 2013. Since then, the craft beer world has exploded with new breweries. With so many beer options available to consumers, it can be difficult to continue to grow and expand. To see continued growth, a brewery must produce high quality beer without fail. MadTree Brewing has proven they are able to meet quality expectations.

This focus on quality started at the very beginning – this was evident when they made the bold move to can their beer. While it is commonplace today, this was a considerable risk in 2013. In fact, they were the first Ohio craft brewery to can their beer. But they knew the benefits of canning was the right move to deliver the best tast- ing beer possible.

And it goes well beyond the packaging – MadTree has put an emphasis on quality throughout the rest of their brewery, including their lab and brewing equipment. In early 2017, they moved into a considerably larger building. This expansion gave them the space to increase their brewing capacity and lab space.

They increased their brewhouse from 15bbl to 100bbl. The new system was custom designed to meet their space and quality requirements. It combines automation, technology, and the ability to produce high quality beer every time. To ensure they are continually innovating, they also have a

15bbl pilot brewing system that mirrors the larger brewhouse so they can easily scale new recipes up to the larger system.

Once the beer is made, their 1,000-square- feet lab ensures their beer is of the highest quality. Within this lab, there’s a 200-square- feet clean room for microbiology and a 600-square-feet space for analytical chemistry applications. And MadTree doesn’t keep all of these great resources to themselves, they provide services to other breweries that lack testing abilities.

To back up the science, they use an array of 10 one-and-a-half-gallon corny kegs to conduct sensory research with their staff. One recent project has investigated the effects of hops, hop oils and hop compounds on flavor profile, overall hop aroma intensity, and panelist preference. Processes like this allow MadTree to innovate while keeping quality at the front of everything they do.

They are meticulous about making sure that every can of beer that leaves their brewery tastes exactly as it was intended. It’s easy to see that MadTree puts quality first. This focus on producing amazing beer is one of the reasons they’ve experienced continued growth.

Community Building Near and Far

With or without great beer, MadTree wouldn’t have achieved the same level of success without their ability to be part of the culture and community. After all, craft beer is more than beer – it is a part of who we are.

MadTree didn’t start out seeking to use community involvement as a marketing tool. Instead, it happened naturally as they lived out their lives – both professionally and personally. They saw that they had an ability and obligation to give their customers more than just beer, and they accomplish this by giving each customer an experience that connects them to their brewery and the community.

They are constantly reaching out to community organizations to help them further their cause both through awareness and financial support. When you stop by their taproom, there’s a good chance a charity or local group will be there using the massive taproom for an event.

And it extends outside of their taproom as they are in the community on a regular basis. It’s quite common to spot their logo on the list of event sponsors.

This is no different hundreds of miles away in Tennessee. MadTree Brewing made the decision to sell their beer in Tennessee because they knew they could have a positive impact on the beer community. And they do not take their obligation to the customers of Tennessee lightly.

As part of MadTree’s dedication, they didn’t just send their beer to Tennessee. They sent Regional Development Manager Shelly Kramer. She has nearly a decade-and-a-half experience in the beer industry in- cluding working for New Belgium. She has already helped MadTree expand into other markets, and now she has brought her passion for beer and MadTree to the Volunteer State.

Shelly tells me, “You are only new once.” This mindset drives her to participate in as many community events as she can fit into her sched- ule. She knows that getting beer into the hands of customers is import- ant, it’s also equally important that they hear MadTree’s story. So she spends her time engaging with the craft beer fans of Tennessee while communicating why they should try beer from Cincinnati.

And just like in their hometown, MadTree is putting the community first as they move into new territories. In Nashville, they’ve begun supporting Youth Villages, an organization that supports families and their children that need emotional and behavioral support. While in Knoxville, they are giving back through 2nd Harvest which focuses on feeding the hungry in East Tennessee. They’ve already raised thousands of dollars for these organizations in a very short amount of time.

One of MadTree’s most known programs takes place during Arbor Day when they give away tree saplings when you buy a pint of beer at their Cincinnati taproom. This year, they brought this program to Tennessee through select partners. Shelly tells me this really made an impact as many recognize MadTree as the “brewery that gives away trees.”

It’s evident that MadTree is bringing more than just their beer to Ten- nessee; they are bringing their culture and love of community. Putting people first is their primary objective as they know a strong beer com- munity will benefit everyone.

While the demand for craft beer is quickly growing in Tennessee, customers have a lot of options. So breweries must earn the trust and respect of the local market. This is accomplished through a real passion for the community and a high-quality product.

MadTree is working hard to be a part of the Tennessee craft beer culture because they believe that beer builds community and community builds beer…even two states away in Tennessee.

PsycHOPathy: In many ways, IPA is the style
that catapulted craft beer into the mainstream.
It represents the bold, unapologetic flavor profile that craft beer drinkers love. Today, IPA can mean a lot of different things as the style has evolved, but MadTree hasn’t forgotten what this style should be. PsyHOPathy is their flagship IPA that is a hop- forward beer with ample amounts of bitterness. Cascade, Chinook, and Centennial hops are used to impart a citrus and floral aroma. The flavor brings even more citrus as well as the expected bitterness. With a nice malty backbone, PsycHOPathy will finish smooth and clean so your taste buds don’t tire of the intense hop flavors.

Lift: Not a fan of bitter IPAs but tired of “light” beer options lacking flavor? MadTree Brewing meets
that need with a full flavored Kolsch. This style is a hybrid of an ale and lager as it uses ale yeast but is fermented at lager temperatures. The result is a beer that has flavors like a light-bodied ale with the “easy drinking” character of a lager. You’ll find this low ABV beer to have gentle, crisp malt flavors with a hint of orange. While many breweries opt to make their light option a blonde ale, MadTree’s decided to do something different and give you a more flavorful option in a Kolsch.

Seasonal and Limited Releases: MadTree doesn’t stop at the expected as you’ll want to keep an eye out for their amazing lineup of seasonal releases. While MadTree fans love their year-round beers, they are always excited for the release of their favorite annual choices.

In the fall, you can look forward to checking out their Blood Orange PsycHOPathy. You’ll recognize it by the unique black and orange can. This IPA has a memorable taste because of the additional citrus aroma and flavor from the blood oranges.

Not looking for an IPA? Then check out Pilgrim. MadTree embraces the flavors of fall by adding cranberry and vanilla to a lightly hopped pale ale. While remaining approachable, it has a lot of flavor and will accompany your fall plans perfectly.

And you can’t talk about MadTree’s seasonal releases without mentioning the ever popular Thundersnow. This Scotch ale is released in the early winter each year and has ginger, nutmeg, vanilla, and cinnamon added. The result is the perfect winter beer.

Whether you are new to craft beer or have been drinking it since before it was cool, MadTree is brewing up a beer that you’ll love.

Photos provided by Madtree Brewing Co.