JANESVILLE, Wis. (WMTV) – In 1856, James Buchanan defeated Millard Fillmore in the Presidential Election. That same year, Gray Brewing Company was born.
“We’ve been through it all pretty much,” said Sarah Gray, the 6th generation owner. “Our brewery has survived the Civil War, World War I, World War II.”
Sarah Gray and her brother Jacob Gray say that they’re learning the ropes from their father and owner, Fred.
“There’s a lot of weight on our shoulders, especially being such a young generation getting into the family business,” said Sarah. “There’s a lot of pressure to succeed and make sure the business is around for the next generation.”
Jacob says it’s an honor to learn the family business.
“I thought it was so cool to be able to work with my dad because he got to work with his dad,” said Jacob. “He really lets Sarah and I implement our own ideas.”
Gray Brewing Company produces its own line of craft beer and other specialty sodas. With COVID-19 restrictions at bars and the cancellation of beer festivals, the Grays say it’s been difficult to get their products out there.
“It’s a matter of trying to find as much business as we can,” said Jacob Gray. “If the filling machine isn’t running, we’re not making anything.”
The Grays say about 60-percent of their business is co-packing for other Midwest companies.
Sarah Gray says they’ve been battling shipping setbacks with that side of production.
“Getting in the labels, packaging material, and then the ingredients as well,” she said. “We’re kind of going through the hoops in getting everything and it’s a challenge.”
The family is hoping to get through the pandemic and get back to seeing success for the future generation.
“I think we’ll be able to get through this,” said Sarah. “You know all the stories that I heard growing up, I’m now kind of creating my own stories to be able to pass on.”
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