Jewish Beer Company Grows Fast

Shmaltz Rides Microbrew Wave to Big Market Success

shmaltz brewing

By JTA

Published June 11, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 2)

Today, beer lovers looking for Jewish-inspired alternatives to He’Brew can choose from Maccabee, marketed in the United States by Israel’s Tempo Beer Industries; Lompoc Brewing’s 8 Malty Nights, a chocolate rye porter; and the microbrews of New York-based Lost Tribes, which incorporates exotic ingredients from the Middle East.

But Shmaltz has embraced its Jewish side with a gusto unmatched by any of the others. Its newest addition, David’s Slingshot Hoppy Lager, joins a host of quirky labels including Funky Jewbilation, Hop Manna, Genesis Dry Hopped Session Ale, Messiah Nut Brown Ale and Rejewvenator.

Cowan, a Stanford University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in English, devises the shtick, as well as the written product descriptions and marketing concepts. His art director, Nat Polacheck, interprets the concepts into the company’s signature style.

The new brewery is a far cry from the brand’s humble beginnings in 1996, when Cowan started selling cases from his grandmother’s Volvo – a story he shares in his memoir, “Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah: How It Took 13 Years, Extreme Jewish Brewing, and Circus Sideshow Freaks to Make Shmaltz Brewing Company an International Success.”

Sales of craft brew increased to $10.2 billion in 2012, up from $8.7 billion in 2011. The ranks of small breweries are larger than they’ve been at any time since before Prohibition.

“Since the 1970s, the growth has been small but linear,” says Cowan, who spearheaded the creation of the non-profit New York City Brewers Guild in 2012 and currently serves as its president. “In the last four or five years, there have been more breweries opening every year than ever before.”

According to the Brewers Association, small craft brewers produce fewer than 6 million barrels of beer annually. Like Shmaltz, these brewers typically take distinct, individualistic approaches to connecting with their clients. They also use both traditional and non-traditional ingredients, like the fruit juice found in He’Brew’s Origin Pomegranate Ale.

With his new facility, Cowan is now brewing 50-barrel batches every two to three weeks, with an annual capacity of 20,000 barrels.

“It’s incredibly exciting, incredibly gratifying to be part of an industry that is going through positive change right now,” Cowan says.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.