All About Beer Magazine - Volume 35, Issue 5
September 15, 2014 By Staff
Tom Hennessy
Tom Hennessy

Tom Hennessy

To brewery patrons across the United States, the name Tom Hennessy may not be well-known. But the educator, consultant, author, brewpub operator and restaurateur has helped scores of modestly funded entrepreneurs set up and run breweries in Colorado, California, Oregon, Arizona, the Midwest, the East Coast and elsewhere.

After piecing together a makeshift brewing system for his Il Vicino pizza restaurant in Albuquerque in 1993, then repeating the process in a new location in Colorado, he produced a video, and later a DVD, detailing how to how to build a brewery for under $20,000 using repurposed vessels. He called the system Frankenbrew, and over the years it gained an almost cultlike following.

In 2008, Hennessy and his wife, Sandy, opened a brewpub in the tiny Western Colorado town of Ridgway, population 900. He began offering three-day brewery immersion courses covering all aspects of brewery operations from brewing and yeast harvesting to licensing and accounting. The courses have become immensely popular, and prospective brewery operators from across the country travel to Ridgway for the intensive hands-on training.

He refers to the course as a “mentorship program,” as former students now operating their own businesses maintain an online forum providing support to recent graduates starting their own breweries. Hennessy estimates he’s helped launch 60 brewing businesses over the years. Because he’s had to turn down so many prospective students for lack of available time slots, Hennessy authored the Brewery Operations Manual, which documents many of the topics covered in the hands-on course.

This profile appears in the November 2014 issue of All About Beer MagazineClick here for a free trial of our next issue.

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