St. Louis’ Largest Craft Brewer Schlafly Beer Turns 21


by Susan Haberer

“I’m not going to pretend to be Mother Theresa.
I haven’t saved the world. But two zip codes here are better off now than they were when we moved into two empty buildings.”

—Tom Schlafly

This year, 2013, is the 21st year of Schlafly Beer. When Tom Schlafly and Dan Kopman opened the Schlafly Tap Room in 1991, their vision was to make great beer and throw great parties, but the company has grown into much more. Schlafly Beer’s lasting impact may be its contribution to the St. Louis community.

Tom Schlafly refers to the two zip codes where Schlafly breweries now exist. The Schlafly Tap Room is in the 63103 zip code and was a burned-out shell. The production brewery, Schlafly Bottleworks, is in Maplewood and was converted from an empty grocery store. That abandoned grocery store is now home to Gardenworks, Schlafly Beer’s 1/7 acre garden, growing fresh produce for Bottleworks and the Tap Room. The garden is currently growing vegetables in a hoop house built by the garden team. Also, the Schlafly Farmers Market is at Bottleworks, operating every Wednesday from April-October, 4-7pm.

Being a productive member of the St. Louis community is an important goal in Schlafly Beer’s operating plan. One avenue towards meeting this goal is reducing the company’s impact on our environment. We recently installed a 105-panel solar array on the roof of Bottleworks, and through a combination of Ameren’s Pure Power program and another national program, we purchase Renewable Energy Certificates, offsetting 100% of our electricity usage. Both Bottleworks and the Tap Room use single stream recycling programs, and compost enough food scraps to divert 70 tons of organic waste from landfills annually.

In 2012, Schlafly Beer became 5% employee owned, with options for future employee purchase. This program has solidified Schlafly Beer’s place in the community, as employees are motivated to make the brewery a better place for both themselves and the community.

Schlafly Beer is looking outside St. Louis to improve the image of our city. In 2011, the brewery started campaigning to increase the national visibility of St. Louis. This culminated in an employee-led tour of New York City, telling national writers about Schlafly Beer, St. Louis and visiting our fair city.

There is much more to be done. With community mindedness flowing through the brewery, Schlafly Beer has a good foundation for future improvements.

For more information visit www.schlafly.com.

You are invited to sample Schlafly Beer at the Healthy Planet Natural Living Expo, Sunday, March 10 at the Webster Groves Recreation Complex, 10 am to 4 pm, 33 East Glendale Road.