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Hill Farmstead

Shaun Hill "operates under the belief that beer is a perishable item, ‘just like lettuce or broccoli’," reports Claire Martin in The New York Times (1/19/14). That’s another way of saying that if you’d like a taste from his brewery – voted the best in the world by RateBeer.com – you’ll most likely have to travel to Greensboro, Vermont. Hill Farmstead beer "produces just 60,000 gallons of beer annually" and "is available for purchase only at the brewery and in roughly 20 Vermont bars." Just 12 kegs are shipped to distributors in New York and Philadelphia each year.

"I didn’t start this brewery so I could keep growing and move it away from here; that wasn’t the point," says Shaun. "It wouldn’t be fun anymore. It wouldn’t have purpose or meaning." Shaun’s interest in home brewing began when he "learned to make beer for a high school science-fair project, then started a home brew club in college and later worked as the head brewer at two other Vermont breweries … as well as one in Copenhagen." His Copenhagen brews won gold and silver medals at the World Beer Cup in 2010, but Shaun was already setting up his own brewery back in Vermont.

Shaun had inherited a dairy farm from his grandfather. His goal was to make "the best beer possible without pursuing what he calls ‘infinite, boundless, growth.’" He secured a small loan, and after a year his venture was profitable. He now has a staff of six, but still works 18-hour days. His customers have arrived from "as far as New Zealand, Norway and Japan," and "wait in line for one to four hours to buy bottles and two-liter growlers of the beers," which he sometimes names after ancestors (Edward, Abner, Florence). Shaun is expanding, but "plans to cap production at 150,000 gallons a year – forever.”