Getting to know: Rock City Brewing
Rock City. It’s a nomenclature claimed by cities and regions across the world for their natural landforms, geological formations, or love of loud guitars. The Dutch city of Amersfoort earns its nickname of ‘Keistad’ — literally translated as ‘Boulder City’ — from the 20,000 lb boulder that was dragged 6 km into the city by 400 thirsty inhabitants 350-years ago in order to win a wager, for which the victors were rewarded with, of course, beer.
Of late, the thirsty inhabitants of Amersfoort didn’t need to drag a huge boulder 6 km to be rewarded with beer, although to be satiated with genuine locally-brewed beers, served locally in their own speciality brewpub, they still needed to take a hands-on approach.
That is exactly what happened recently when over 300 friends and fans of the city’s top beer producer, Rock City Brewing, made an investment that has allowed brewers Wiebe Groeneveld and brothers Koen and Walter Overeem to pursue their dream of building a dedicated brewery and brewpub.
In much the same way as the Colorado city of Boulder in the USA is rapidly emerging as a popular centre for beer and brewing, the Netherlands’ “Boulder City” may soon be earning a similarly deserving reputation.
Rock City Brewing is not a new endeavour, of course, seeing as their contract-brewed beers have been widely available locally for about 4-years. Rock City Brewing is, in fact, the most well-known and popular local beer brands in the city; it is therefore time for Rock City Brewing to obtain their own brewery, with enough capacity to realise the latent potential, and to place Amersfoort — once one of the land’s top brewing cities during the Middle Ages — back onto the country’s map of beer breweries.
The number of successful crowdfunded enterprises has exploded over recent years, and with returns and dividends outperforming anything a high-street bank can offer, the public have been lapping-up the opportunity to make their savings and investments work harder to yield much higher levels of return.
Investors in Rock City Brewing weren’t limited to Amersfoort and the surrounding region. Flyers and adverts that not only extolled the virtues of the beer producer, but also explained why it’s important to return its beer heritage back to the city of Amersfoort, were seen in bars, café and centres of beer activity throughout the land. Consequently, the Rock City Brewing crowdfunding campaign was oversubscribed by almost 45%, both surprising and delighting the disbelieving brewers who were then able to fully commit to both a brewery and brewpub of the highest calibre.
Investors have declared their faith in the Rock City Brewing name, brand and potential success to the tune of €500,000 (almost $600,000).
The restrictions of contract brewing and its limitations for not only production capacity, growth and expansion, but also experimentation and development, means the brewers’ enthusiastic and passionate commitment to unique and high-quality beers will endure, bolstered by a new and revitalising shot of dedication and loyalty that is more than simply a literal injection of cash. It is an injection of a dynamism that should see Rock City Brewing establish itself and Amersfoort as a centre of brewing excellence that stretches beyond the old city wall to the entire country. It is an injection of conviction that will inevitably see the reputation of Rock City Brewing reach out to a global market that is thirsty and anticipant for high-quality craft beers.
Anybody who has experienced Rock City Brewing’s output knows the most popular core beers (the original Koene Ridder tripel and the all-conquering Amersfoort Pale Ale) are literally at the core of a beer range that reaches from an ever-changing seasonal bock (unique each year) to what is perhaps its most well-known offering: the large and impressive range of barrel-aged beers that attract beer-lovers from far-and-wide. To a certain type of beer connoisseur, the Rock City Brewing barrel-aged range may prove to be the highlight of a visit to either the imminent brewpub or any beer festival at which they are present.
Besides its own range of beer, Rock City Brewing now has the right to market something of an Amersfoort beer institution: “Phoenix”, a brewery that brewed in Amersfoort for almost 100-years from 1873 to 1970. It is an extremely well-known name to Dutch beer historians because of its long association with the city, it’s forward-thinking, innovative approach and its connection with Albert Heijn (one of the country’s largest supermarket chains), for whom it produced the store’s own-brand of beer. The rising of the Phoenix from the flames could mirror the trajectory of Rock City Brewing, insomuch as there will be a long association with the city, there is already a forward-thinking, innovative approach, and becoming one of the country’s most recognisable brands may be the stepping-stone to bigger and better things.
Rock City Brewing’s journey to bigger and better things is already underway, and the next few years will see many milestones reached. Why not join Rock City Brewing on its journey now, try some of their great beers, and enjoy being taken along for the ride?