For those that missed part 1 of this series, you can click here to read about Skyroc's humble beginnings.
The Secret to Skyroc’s Growing Popularity
Almost without hesitation, Nate shared the secrets to Skyroc’s early success. “Two things form the foundation and always have from the start: our commitment to quality, and our product variety. Most breweries we visited were too focused with a narrow product line. One location might only produce IPA’s, but if you wanted a lager, you wouldn’t go. Our vision was to produce a great atmosphere offering high quality brews across a spectrum of tastes, from pilsners to lagers and stouts, all with varying levels of alcohol content, some stronger than others.”
But that begged another question - how have they learned to make so many varieties so well? “Experimentation and a commitment to keep learning.” said Tracey. “We would make small batches and test them with people we trusted and knew would give us straight feedback. We continue with that approach today”
Their original vision was to build something that no one had ever built in Attleboro. It started with the idea of the microbrewery, but it has expanded as more people came to know the brand. Not long after opening the location at Riverbank Rd., restaurants started to call them to ask if they could carry Skyroc brands in their bars. Soon, package stores were calling too. Then they had to learn how to package, (canning) their own product to keep up with demand.
Growth has been swift. The first year started with 4 brew tanks, then 3 more were added in year two, and 2 more the next year. Now, there are ten, 500 gallon tanks that are producing non stop. This growth didn’t come without a host of challenges, the first being that the city of Attleboro had an outdated ordinance that would not permit microbrews or distilleries. Today, with Covid, Nate said that finding good employees and things as simple as getting new cans for their product is a major challenge. “No one ever told us that would be our biggest problem, but right now it is and we will figure it out, just like we have from the beginning” added Nate.
Nevertheless, they have adapted and overcome each obstacle with grit and perseverance - the same similar traits that probably existed for all those button entrepreneurs two centuries ago.
From Garage Brew to Local Industry Pioneer. Skyroc Continues to Expand.
Covid has presented challenges to every business in 2020, particularly for the restaurant and bar industry, but despite the circumstances, Skyroc has continued to grow. They now have outdoor seating and have adapted to the new state rules to allow for some indoor seating, while their canning and pick up business has, well, picked up.
The exciting new addition to the Skyroc vision is nearing completion for later this year - Skyroc Distillery. Earlier this year Nate and Tracey made the decision to expand their tap room to include the space next to them to house their new distillery, which allows them to make Skyroc branded whiskeys, vodkas, and other alcohols to serve on site in mixed drinks. The still, which sits in view of their new space, looks like something straight out of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. But don’t be fooled, it is state of the art.
Like the brewing process, Nate had to learn the art of distilling grains to alcohol from scratch, but his mindset from the beginning was, as he said it “to figure it out.”
“The difference between the brewery and the distillery is the aging process - it takes more time to produce and age the product properly. You have to have patience.” explained Nate. “But this completes our vision, which was to have a place where you could get off the train from working in Boston or Providence, and meet someone after work. Or take a short drive downtown on a nice evening to be part of the community.”
The addition allows Skyroc to offer something that has never existed in Attleboro or in the general area - to have a single location that is licensed to cohabitate a brewery and distillery in a single location. They first plan to offer an in-house Vodka-soda mix along with a second product called Skyshine, a corn based family moonshine recipe. Like the Brewery, they will listen to customers and grow from there.
The building and eventual opening of the distillery marks a culmination of the entrepreneurial cycle the is the pillar of any vibrant business community. The people who have contributed, whether it’s electricians, craftsmen, plumbers, or the countless more people who have helped the Cinelli’s build this business, that community is sure to spawn new ideas, new growth, and perhaps entirely new shining industries for Attleboro’s future. As Nate answered with a wry smile to my question about what’s next after all this, “My daughter said she really wants a winery some day.”
So if you find yourself looking to explore downtown Attleboro one of these nice fall weekends, take a stroll downtown in the new riverwalk and allow yourself to end up at Skyroc for a break. You will find Nate and Tracey there greeting customers and treating you like family. You can learn more about their products by visiting their website at https://www.skyrocbrewery.com, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Skyrocbrewery, or on Instagram @skryrocbrewery.
About Kelly Crowley : Kelly Crowley is a Licensed Real Estate agent for Keller Williams Realty. Kelly has lifelong ties to the area and a keen understanding of the marketplace through her personal history and extensive knowledge of the varied communities she serves.