After several years of slugging it out in the brewing community working for other brewers, Matt Phillips (the patriarch of Phillips Beer) decided it was time to make beer of his own. But while Matt’s beer was incredible, his business plan was not (at least according to the banks) and nobody would lend him the money to start the brewery.
Undaunted, he grabbed credit card applications on the way out, filled them out the same day, and opened Phillips Brewing Company on a mountain of credit card debt. What palatial brewing fortress did this high-interest financing purchase? A small, windowless apartment where Matt would brew beer by day and sleep on the floor by night, with lamps on timers to remind him when wake up and do it all over again.
Phillips’ first brews were about as unconventional as his financing structure. In the conservative beer climate of 2001 the brewery launched with an Espresso Stout, a Raspberry Wheat Ale, and a boldy-hopped IPA; a suitable foreshadow for the creativity to come.
Since then Phillips has moved out of the apartment and into a more brewing-appropriate facility (with windows) closer to town. We have launched a soda company, a distillery, and most recently a malting facility–the only one of its kind in Canada. The same renegade passion and creativity that drove a young brewer to start a brewery on credit cards continues to be the driving force everything that we do today.