October 22, 2018
Family Business Awards 2018

Back East Brewing LLC

Eward Fabrycki Jr. (left) and Anthony Karlowicz.

First-Generation Honoree — Less than 25 full-time employees category

Back East Brewing LLC

Headquarters: Bloomfield

Industry: Craft Brewery

Year Founded: 2012

Founder: Anthony Karlowicz & Edward Fabrycki Jr.

Generation Currently Running Company: 1st

No. of Full-Time Employees: 5

No. of Part-Time Employees: 4

Family Members Currently Employed at Company: Anthony Karlowicz, CEO & Co-founder; Edward Fabrycki Jr., President & Co-founder — both cousins.

Company Website: www.backeastbrewing.com

Back East Brewing is a small, independent, locally owned craft brewery and tap room, with distribution throughout Connecticut and western Massachusetts.

The company was formed by Tony Karlowicz and Edward Fabrycki, two cousins who both grew up in the Hartford area. After moving "back east" from San Diego in 2000, Fabrycki, an engineer, became reacquainted with his cousin, Karlowicz (an accountant who grew up in a small business family), and learned they both enjoyed craft beer.

After almost 10 years of brewing together and learning as much as they could about the science and business of brewing, Back East opened in 2012.

Recent accomplishments

In the past year, the company received various recognitions for its beer, both locally and nationally. Last year three of its IPAs were recognized on the "50 Best IPAs in America" list by Draft Magazine. They were the only brewery to have more than one IPA in the top 50, including Ice Cream Man IPA at No. 5, Intergalactic Lupulinary IPA at No. 16, and Rakautra IPA at No. 22.

This past year Back East was recognized by Connecticut Magazine as "Best Brewery" in its annual "Best of Connecticut" list, and its porter beer earned a gold medal in the 2017 Great American Beer Fest.

How do you remain competitive in the market?

The craft beer industry has become incredibly competitive over the past five years. When we opened up in 2012, there were only six other production breweries in Connecticut and now there are over 60 (with another 30-plus in planning). This is not just a Connecticut trend; new breweries across the U.S. are opening daily.

To remain competitive, we are sticking true to what we've been doing since we've opened, which is a focus on quality, innovation and trying to be a brewery that people can admire, respect and be proud to have as a local business.

We always aim to learn and get better over time, and I think that has helped us over the years in this competitive landscape. Ultimately, we produce a product where people have hundreds of other options for, and if the liquid doesn't speak for itself, our business won't be around for long.

How do you instill your family values in your employees?

Back East is like a small family, and we always try to instill family values in our employees. One of the most important values is treating others with respect (and holding them to the highest standard).

We can't be the best at what we do if we aren't good at what we do and always get better. We do think we have the best employees and we want to treat them fairly. In addition to very competitive pay, we have very generous benefits for full-time employees, including: 401(k) plan, 100-percent company paid health insurance, disability and life insurance, and available dental/vision/supplemental life, plus a fitness plan.

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