Huntsville, Ala. — It has been said that, “Brewing is the art of feeding sugar to yeast.”
According to entrepreneur Peyton McNully, founder of the first yeast propagation service in the Southeast U.S., brewers in Alabama are in need of high quality yeast as they refine and grow their art.
“We want our client brewers to make and sell the very best beer in Alabama, nationally, and internationally. We want to put Alabama on every beer enthusiast’s map,” McNully said.
Leavendary, located at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville, Ala., offers high-quality, customized yeast to craft brewers. Yeast cells are living organisms, and the entire brewery depends on their health, vitality and fermentation, McNully said.
To that end, Leavendary offers all-inclusive services to craft brewers, from quality testing and delivery of yeast to testing of brews in progress as well as finished goods. Leavendary’s newest client is the largest craft brewer in the state, Back Forty Beer Company in historic Gadsden, Ala.
“We are excited to partner with Leavendary to provide Back Forty with the highest-quality yeast and testing services in the industry, to ensure that our consumers continue to experience our same great-tasting beer, every time,” said Jason Wilson, Chief Executive Officer of Back Forty and president of the Alabama Brewers Guild.
Yeast are the microorganisms responsible for the fermentation process necessary for creating beer. The quality of the yeast matters significantly to the flavor of the drink, and a consistent supply of quality yeast results in consistent flavor, so that every bottle, keg and can tastes the same.
That’s where Leavendary comes in. In a laboratory at HudsonAlpha, Leavendary’s biologists propagate “pitchable” quantities of yeast, which are precise amounts of yeast for a given batch of beer. Leavendary also conducts quality testing at the microscopic or molecular level based on individual client needs. This helps brewers like Back Forty ensure a consistent flavor in every batch.
Wilson said quality yeast and in-depth testing by Leavendary will create perfect consistency in all Back Forty beers to ensure that every bottle, keg, and can is exceptional, minimizing any room for error in the brewing process.
The collaboration also fuses local Alabama businesses, establishing a partnership with likeminded community-based companies dedicated to building Alabama’s craft beer industry. “At Back Forty, we are committed to supporting Alabama businesses, and this is another way we can further promote local jobs and technology,” Wilson said.
The art of craft brewing is thriving in the U.S., from less than a dozen craft brewers nationwide in 1980 to approximately 2,500 today. In Alabama, where Leavendary is headquartered, the industry has grown quickly, from just two or three breweries a few years ago to 29 today. According to the Alabama Brewers Guild, of which Leavendary is a member, brewing of craft beer in Alabama increased 47 percent from 2012 to 2013, well above the national increase of 18 percent.
Leavendary is one of 27 resident associated companies located at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to innovating in the field of genomic technology and sciences across a spectrum of biological applications, from patient care to farming. McNully said, “The collaborative entrepreneurial environment and the Institute’s immense body of work and expertise in the fields of life sciences and research made headquartering Leavendary at HudsonAlpha an easy decision.”