Discovering a Passion
“For me, I love the solitude. It’s my quiet time, and I get to play with all my gadgets and gizmos. I enjoy the challenge of perfecting whatever style of beer I’m brewing.” —John Blichmann, on what he loves about homebrewing
In the early ’90s, John Blichmann was introduced to the homebrewing hobby. The nuance and subtleties involved in brewing your own beer were intriguing to this detail-oriented engineer. At the time, purpose-built homebrew equipment sold at a reasonable price was hard to come by. By the end of the decade, John utilized his experience in heavy-duty equipment manufacturing and took it upon himself to design his first product—The Fermenator™.
To get his wife on board with coughing up cash to produce his conical fermentor, John needed to keep unit costs down. So, he produced a handful with the goal to sell the extras on a new website called “eBay.”
Encouraged by early success and a newfound passion, John retired from his day job in 2002 and fully committed to building his business, Blichmann Engineering—a premier manufacturer of homebrewing equipment in an industry that was on the verge of going mainstream.
Drinking from a Firehose
“Our biggest challenge in those early years was dealing with extreme growth; managing inventory, tooling, space, and staffing.” —John Blichmann
As a pioneer in the burgeoning homebrew market, Blichmann Engineering has enjoyed tremendous growth over the past two decades. Moving from a garage with a couple of employees to multiple warehouses with more than 30 people on the payroll, it’s clear that Blichmann’s dedication to revolutionizing the homebrew market paid off.
From that first fermentor and early innovations such as the Therminator™ plate chiller and ever-popular BeerGun®, to the first kettle designed specifically for homebrewers—The BoilerMaker™—Blichmann Engineering now offers a complete line of more than 70 homebrew products for hobbyists and professionals alike.
Finding New Opportunities
“We realized there was a market for more economical products for beginning hobbyists. We started with some of the basics, but it started taking off when we launched bucket fermentors. Then the Foundry™ All-In-One system really put Anvil on the map.” —John Blichmann on the launch of Anvil Brewing Equipment
As interest in homebrewing grew, so did competition and demand for entry-level brewing gear. Known for premium, high-quality products, Blichmann Engineering saw an opportunity to expand its business by launching a new, more economical line of equipment to help would-be brewers discover the joys of homebrewing.
The Anvil Brewing Equipment lineup started simple, but it has since grown in popularity and range. Anvil currently features a complete line of flagship products from kettles, burners, and fermentors to all-in-one systems, along with a wide array of accessories and add-ons that brewers love. With even more products on the horizon, there’s a lot to be excited about in homebrewing.
“With our pro line of equipment, Blichmann Engineering set out with a focus on value over complexity. We wanted to provide equipment that made it easier for homebrewers to make the jump to commercial brewing.” —John Blichmann, on launching a pro brewing line of equipment
With an explosion in craft brewing, Blichmann Engineering seized an opportunity to break into the commercial scene by designing equipment and accessories for smaller, underserved breweries. In 2016, Blichmann Pro Brewing launched as a commercial brand focused on providing value and performance over sophisticated features and high operating costs. Using design features familiar to homebrewers, this enhanced pro line offered an approachable way to transition from small-batch to commercial brewing for those who were ready to make the jump. From one-barrel systems to 20-plus-barrel skid-mounted brewhouses and beyond, Blichmann Pro Brewing continues to expand and currently supports more than 500 commercial brewing operations across the United States and around the world with its line of brewhouse systems, cellaring equipment, control systems, and accessories.
A Focus on the Future
“Now we’re getting into bigger, feature-rich systems, while also diversifying our offerings into other spaces. And the team we’ve built up over the years is eager to help customers navigate the intricacies of brewing operations.” -John Blichmann
Staying one step ahead in the brewing game means having a keen sense of what’s next. Blichmann Engineering’s diverse line of products have made individual names for themselves by meeting the needs of everyone from “just for fun” brewers to professionals. Beyond continuing to develop new products, Blichmann Engineering is excited to bring knowledge and expertise to the table. The professional brewers on Blichmann’s staff inform new product design and development, leveraging their “been there, done that” experience to help brewers and business owners navigate the complexities of starting and expanding commercial brewing operations. Whether it’s coordinating with contractors to plan out a brewery, helping business owners determine what size and scale is appropriate, or even diving into tips and tricks for brewing specific types of beer, Blichmann Engineering’s expert brewers are happy to help every step of the way.
So, whether you’re a new brewer or a seasoned pro, Blichmann Engineering is the equipment manufacturer that will be there with you throughout every step of your journey.
Here’s to the last 20 years, and to the many brew days ahead!