Harris Stewart says his love of craft beer led him to a business venture with a mission to also craft his community. Originally a home brewer, Stewart began his company – TrimTab Brewing Co. – in 2012 in Birmingham, and has continued to grow in offerings and a following ever since.
“Our name comes from the idea that small sources lead to big change,” Stewart says. “That’s what a trim tab is – a tiny part of a boat or plane that makes a huge impact, pulling the large rudder and guiding the ship. We see it as what we as individuals and the beer can be.”
Stewart works with a small team to bring great craft beer to consumers, and it starts with great raw materials.
“Hops and malt are the cornerstones of any beer,” he says.
As the craft beer industry continues to grow in Alabama, so do the opportunities for local hop farmers.
“If we could meet that demand, it would create more stability and allow us to grow more securely,” Stewart says. “Much of what’s driven craft beer is the concept of local. Consumers understand these great beers are made in their backyards and develop relationships with the people who make them.”
Luke Garner began working for TrimTab as a brewer-in-training and has grown through the ranks while experimenting in growing local hops as a side project. In August 2015, TrimTab featured the local hops to show consumers more about the process and raw materials used to make beer.
“We had an event with wet hops and invited people to pick hops off the vine,” Stewart says. “We saw a great reaction. People understand the process more.”
He also notes Birmingham is one of the fastest-growing beer markets in the country.
“Growing locally can allow us to become a very rewarding place where we can create world-class beer from beginning to end in Alabama.”