Town and Country Native: Biology Student, Brewmaster
Derrick Langeneckert, who grew up in Town and Country, didn’t want to wake up 50 years from now and wonder, “What if?”
So, he's following his dream to open up a brewery. According to his plans, his payoff will open in the spring – Alpha Brewing Company. The new craft brewery will be located at 1409 Washington Ave. in St. Louis, across the street from the City Museum.
“This town is hungry for beer,” said Langeneckert, who is pursuing a master’s degree in biology at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. He expects to graduate in May.
He began home brewing three years ago. And what started as a hobby soon turned into an obsession and then a business aspiration.
“It consumed me,” he said.
A self-described “Mr. Bud Light” prior to his home brewing conversion, Langeneckert’s loyalty to Anheuser-Busch ebbed in 2008 after the company was sold to InBev. After that he started picking up craft beers at the grocery store.
One night while sitting around drinking with a buddy, the friend said offhandedly, “Why don’t we make a brewery?”
Langeneckert initially scoffed at the idea, but he gradually warmed to the concept.
“I started poking at it a little bit,” he said.
He started researching equipment costs and leasing options, and eventually he started talking to investors. Being a business rookie, Langenecerkt turned to UMSL for help. He’s especially thankful for the business advice he received from Alan Hauff, the former director of the Small Business & Technology Development Center at UMSL.
In 2010, Langeneckert took his business plan to Hauff who helped crunch all the numbers and handed out valuable business advice.
The brewery will have 10 beers on draft. There’ll be a mixture of light beers, dark beers, hoppy beers and heavy beers.
Langeneckert is also not afraid to experiment with different flavors. He’s going to bypass the current pumpkin craze and instead offer an acorn squash brown ale.
As for the name Alpha Brewing Company, it’s an homage to his science background. Alpha acid is the chief ingredient in hops. It’s what gives hops their flavor and kick.