Big Oyster Brewery was named one of the fastest-growing small, independent craft breweries of 2018 by the Brewers Association, the nonprofit trade group representing small and independent craft brewers. This second annual list offers insight into the depth and diversity of growth within the craft brewing industry.
“It’s really nice to be included on a list like this. We’ve made this dream a reality through a lot of long hours and a dedicated team of people who are passionate about great beer. All of us have worked really hard to get to this point, from our brewing team that starts their day before the sun comes up, to the sales team, who work tirelessly to get our beer into the hands of customers at local hot spots and to all our restaurant staff who try their best to provide a memorable beer-drinking experience. We’re excited to see what the rest of 2019 has in store for us,” said Andrew Harton, head brewer, Big Oyster Brewery.
Big Oyster Brewery was ranked second-fastest growing craft brewery in the United States, according to the Brewer’s Association annual production survey.
Big Oyster Brewery, which was named after owner Jeff Hamer and a nickname that developed during construction, began inside Fins Ale House on Coastal Highway in Rehoboth. Hamer fell into a bit of luck after construction of the Fins location began when the store directly next to it became available as well.
The result was the dream of an in-house craft brewery component becoming a reality sooner than expected, and by June 2015, beers from the brew team of Andrew Harton and assistant brewer Red Killpack began to flow. The team dialed in on classic styles as well as trendy flavors to set the foundation of what Big Oyster would become. “I could never have imagined we would be where we are now when this all started,” said Hamer. “Our brewery team is partially made up of folks who’ve worked for me since their high school days, and I couldn’t be more thrilled we’ve all taken this journey together.”
Big Oyster Brewery opened its 6,000-square-foot brewery in Lewes in September 2017, and Hamer anticipates brewing approximately 5,000 barrels this year to provide for accounts they’ve made in Delaware and on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and to also welcome the addition of Southern Pennsylvania to its network. Located at 1007 Kings Highway in Lewes, a short ride from the Cape May-Lewes Ferry terminal, Big Oyster Brewery boasts 17 beers on tap, a full-service bar and a 100-seat restaurant.
The food menu features a wide variety of food from both land and sea, as well as an enclosed patio for all-weather outdoor seating. The draft list, curated by Harton, formerly of Iron Hill, takes guests on a tour of everything craft beer has to offer, from classical to new age and everything in between. Flagships like Hammerhead IPA and Solar Power Belgian Witbier lead in sales, while in-house limited can releases of their sour and IPA series are what have attracted the attention of hardcore craft beer elitists always searching for the next big thing.
“You can’t knock our hustle,” said Mike Anderson, director of sales and branding, about the entire team working to get Big Oyster into the regional spotlight. “Myself as well as my sales partners in northern Delaware and Maryland have committed an inconceivable amount of hours doing ride-alongs, account visits, and festivals to get our beer into the hands of people who can appreciate and enjoy it. I couldn’t be happier and more proud to be a part of that coming to fruition, and this ranking only confirms all the things we’ve been working for.”
Big Oyster is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, and is a great place to enjoy happy hour, or host a party, gathering or celebration. For more information, call 302-644-2621 or go to www.BigOysterBrewery.com.
The list presented includes only small and independent breweries. Growth is measured based on production at their own facilities. Breweries must have opened by Dec. 31, 2016, or earlier to be considered. It only includes breweries that reported 2018 production to the Brewers Association’s annual Beer Industry Production Survey; breweries with staff estimates or data from state excise tax reports were not considered. Breweries also needed a validated production figure for 2017, either via the production survey or state excise tax data.