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Author Katarina Todorovic
Katarina Todorovic
Updated on Mar 12th, 2024
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Otherwise Brewing 2024: Award-Winning Gluten-Free Beer!

In the world of craft beer, innovation knows no bounds. Yet, amidst the explosion of creativity and experimentation, one ingredient has remained largely unchallenged: barley. Enter Aaron Gervais, Cofounder & Head Brewer at Otherwise Brewing, a visionary brewery dedicated to rewriting the rules of beer-making. With a bold mission to revolutionize the industry, Otherwise Brewing dares to ask: What if we ditched barley altogether? What if we dared to create beer without it? The answer, according to Gervais and his team, is nothing short of delicious. This Delivery Rank’s article explores the groundbreaking journey of Otherwise Brewing and the exciting possibilities that emerge when tradition meets innovation in the world of craft beer.

What inspired you to shift away from traditional barley-based brewing and focus on alternative ingredients for Otherwise Brewing?

There are people who can't have barley-based beer because it contains gluten. Many individuals in my family have gluten issues, so this is something I was aware of. I also knew very few people were producing gluten-free beer. 

It turns out that’s because it's technically challenging to do, but I found the challenge intriguing! Many people would like to have a beer but can't, due to the barley. If we could find a way to make beer using gluten-free ingredients, those individuals would be able to enjoy beer again. 

I began discussing with people I knew in the beer industry. They agreed: “Yes, we get asked for gluten-free options all the time.” But the problem was most of the products out on the market didn’t taste that great.

And nobody drinks beer for the health benefits, right? If it doesn't taste good, they'll opt for something else. So the goal became to come up with gluten-free beers that have the same flavors people know and love in regular beer. 

As I was exploring this idea, I was introduced to my co-founder Stellar. She comes from a beer sales background. We worked on recipe development and refined our brewing process for about a year and a half. Once we felt the beers were good enough, we began sharing our creations with friends, and subsequently, we launched in the market.

How do you believe using alternative ingredients impacts the flavor profile and overall experience of your beers compared to traditional barley-based brews?

Our goal, at least at this stage of the company, is to not impact the flavor. We aim to produce beers that you can't distinguish as being made with alternative ingredients; they should simply taste like the types of beers that you know and love. 

Of course, these ingredients can be used to brew beers with very distinctive tastes, which is an intriguing approach. Some other brewers are exploring that avenue. However, our primary focus right now is on creating beers that mimic the taste of barley beer without actually using barley, thus providing an option for those who can't consume traditional beers.

In a market saturated with barley-based beers, how do you differentiate Otherwise Brewing's offerings to attract and retain customers?

One of the significant factors, of course, is the gluten-free nature of our beers. Gluten-free consumers cannot drink any of the other beers on the market, so they have very limited options. Across the United States, there are close to 10,000 breweries at this point, but only about 20 breweries are gluten-free. Therefore, there is a high demand for this, and we don't see the market as saturated.

What kind of consumer response have you observed towards Otherwise Brewing's non-barley beers, and how has it influenced your brewing strategies?

The response has been very positive. I mean, the brand is growing quickly. We have, I think, three different customer segments. 

First, there are people who are gluten-free; they cannot drink barley beers. For them, they really have no choice, and they are very enthusiastic that they now have an option. They become big fans. 

There's also another group of people who are from our local area here in San Francisco, and they just like to support local breweries. So, they see us in the same light that they would see other local breweries. They buy our beer for that reason, and they don't particularly care one way or another if it's made with barley or not. 

Then, there's a third group, which is probably the largest group. They don't have a diagnosed medical issue with gluten, but they feel that it's healthier to avoid gluten. So, they choose our products because of the perception that drinking gluten-free is healthier than drinking with gluten. 

We often have people come up to us and say things like, "Oh, I'm not gluten-free, but when I drink your beer, I don't have that foggy feeling in my head the next morning." That's something I've heard many times. I don't know what the science is behind that. I don't try to make any kind of medical claims—I'm not qualified to do that. 

But I do know that the largest group of people who respond to our beer and who like our beer, they are not gluten-free all the time, but they feel it's healthier to avoid gluten, and that's why they choose our products.

What advice would you give to aspiring brewers who are interested in exploring alternative ingredients in their brewing practices, based on your experience with Otherwise Brewing?

The advice I would give is that you need to learn about the materials you're using. When I first started, I read a lot of things online. People were making assumptions based on barley and what works for barley—but it's not barley, it's something else. 

So, first of all, you need to figure out which ingredients you want to use and then what those ingredients need, how you can coax out the flavors you want from them. You have to go back to basics a little bit more. I would advise aspiring brewers who want to explore alternative ingredients to question the assumptions they bring about brewing. If for barley you start by mixing the water at this temperature, well, you might need a different temperature for different ingredients. Or you might hear, "You need to crush the grain to this certain size." You might need to crush it to a different size for your ingredients. So, you need to explore all of those variables when you change the types of ingredients in brewing.

To learn more about Otherwise Brewing or to purchase beer for home delivery across the continental United States, visit https://www.otherwisebrewing.com.

If you would like to find out more about Otherwise Brewing, visit https://www.otherwisebrewing.com/


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We rank vendors based on rigorous testing and research, but also take into account your feedback and our commercial agreements with providers. This page contains affiliate links.Advertising DisclosureThis is a user-oriented comparison website, and we need to cover hosting and content costs, as well as make a profit. The costs are covered from referral fees from the vendors we feature. Affiliate link compensation does not affect reviews but might affect listicle pages. On these pages, vendors are ranked based on the reviewer’s examination of the service but also taking into account feedback from users and our commercial agreements with service providers. This website tries to cover important meal, coffee and pet food delivery services but we can’t cover all of the solutions that are out there. Information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.
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