One On One: Jeff Schrag, Founder Of Mother’s Brewing Co.

Mother’s Brewing Co., ranked seventh among the fastest-growing craft breweries in the country this week by TheStreet, has blossomed in a short time since setting up shop in the southwest Missouri. Founder Jeff Schrag began selling beer on tap in May 2011, settling in downtown Springfield.

“My life is downtown Springfield,” said Schrag, who has served on various community boards and played a role in renovating a number of building. “And since we’re the largest brewery in town, it’s just going to help us. All of the southwest region has helped us grow so fast.”

According to the Brewer’s Association, Mother’s had the largest launch of 250 new craft breweries in 2011, with 2,331 barrels of beer sold in its first year of operation.

“And we’re not in a beer market,” said Schrag. “Only 3 percent of the beers purchased in southwest Missouri is craft beer, while the national average is about 6 percent.”

Still, Schrag said that Mother’s sales are double what they anticipated. The key to success, he said, was planning.

“We spent a lot of time planning — planning the beer, planning the brewery,” Schrag said. “There are so many business models for craft beer, you really have to figure out the one that’s for you.”

The biggest trend in craft brewing, Schrag said, is the “nanobrewery.” Although a couple hundred of these super small breweries are scheduled to open in the next year, Schrag isn’t concerned.

“I think those are going to add tremendous excitement to the industry,” he said. “But, they’re not going to have any volume, and they’ll never be able to consistently compete with volume.”

Missouri Business Alert interviewed Schrag about his very first craft beer, the branding behind Mother’s, and how southwest Missouri has nurtured the brewery’s success.

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