Taking The Next Step
One Barrel Brewing Co. possesses a
more conventional origin story.
Peter Gentry brewed beer out of his
home for years before opening a small
brewery and tasting room on Madison's
near-east side in 2012.
Showaki said that One Barrel is the
only client he's able to divulge at this early
stage, but that Octopi is producing "all the
beer for him that’s packaged."
Octopi’s contract terms stipulate an
annual threshold for production, and Gentry
said that One Barrel’s target of “basically
100 barrels a month” for one year “seemed
like a big number to have to hit.”
He said that Showaki “was really
confident” in their ability to meet that
goal and that One Barrel’s production will
exceed it with months to spare.
Gentry lauded Octopi’s flexibility for craft
brewers and said that he found Showaki
“at the exact right time” for his brewery,
whose demand was far exceeding its
“It was actually a no-brainer for me,”
Gentry said of enlisting Octopi.
Startup breweries like One Barrel are
one of three distinct types of clients sought
For craft brewers that lack the space,
financing or expertise to scale up their
production, Showaki said that Octopi's
operation offers them an opportunity to
"build a solid base before they go on to the
Gentry said that step will eventually
be his own brewery, but that the current
partnership allows his brand to grow
without taking on millions in loans.
He conceded that it was “a challenge” to
give up some control of his beer, but joked
that expanding his capacity through Octopi
will allow him to prove that the market will
support recipes “that my parents like and
my friends say are good.”
“It’s one of the best ways to sort of
expand your brand and then get that
control back,” Gentry said.
Octopi also targets established craft
brewers strained by their current capacity,
as well as private-label brands for retailers
that hope to sell their own beer. Costco,
Trader Joe's and Whole Foods are among
the retail chains that sell an in-house beer
Showaki wanted to stay in the Midwest
to start his second brewery and eventually
settled on the Madison area.
Not only is the city centrally located,
but Wisconsin's German heritage created
a near-inherent knowledge of beer among
residents and maintained beer taxes that
are the lowest in the nation.
Although Octopi hopes to work with
Midwestern brewers first, Showaki said
that his company provides an opportunity
for brewers in other areas of the country
Instead of spending thousands to
truck beer from far-flung headquarters
to Chicago, Octopi head brewer Mike
Krause — formerly of O’so Brewing, a craft
brewery about 90 minutes to the north in
Plover, Wisconsin — can produce their
beer a quick 150-mile jaunt up Interstate
Showaki also said he's received
inquiries from smaller brewers overseas
that hope to break into the U.S. market. He
mentioned interest from Europe, Israel and
Costa Rica, and said that although those
nations are behind the American craft
movement, they realize "it's the future."