5 Mile Ale - Touring Mercury Brewing Company

Jim Dorau, Operations Manager at Mercury Brewing Company in Ipswich, Massachusetts   

Jim Dorau, Operations Manager at Mercury Brewing Company in Ipswich, Massachusetts


A short distance from downtown Ipswich, you can find Mercury Brewing Company.  They are most known for their funky soda pop, and of course, Ipswich Ale.  We met with Jim Dorau, the Operations Manager at the brewery.  Walking around the brewery, it is clear that the company has out-grown their small space in one of Ipswich's industrial parks.  Rob Martin, President of Ipswich Ale Brewing, started off as an employee of the brewery, until 1999 when he bought the company.  14 years later, the brewery has grown so large that in a few months they will move to a new location.

Jim was kind enough to show us around so we could get a sense of what it really takes to brew all of this beer.  We watched every process, from the mixing of the malt, to the labeling of the bottles.  The brewery was hot, steamy, and the smell of beer engulfed us.  The men were hard at work, not only brewing beer for their own company, but also brewing beer for other beer companies as well. "They give us recipes and we brew for them if they don't have their own brewery", said Dorau.

So why would HealthStarts choose a brewery to interview?  Well, being a health and wellness company, we like all things local. Buying local means money is going straight to the farmers in surrounding areas, and the product is typically better quality.  We discovered that Ipswich Brewing Company produced a brew called the 5 Mile Ale.  For this beer, the brewery harvests ingredients for the beer which has been grown within 5 miles of Ipswich.  They lease crops at Marini Farm and Argrilla Farm to grow their oats, grains, and hops.  Right now, you can even see hops growing up the side of their new brewery.  "No two 5 Mile Ales will be the same, we use ingredients that we can find locally, and each season it changes," said Dorau. They base their recipe on what is available at the time, so if they brew a 5 mile in the spring it won't be the same recipe if they were to brew it in the fall.  Jim also mentioned how they would like to incorporate more organic ingredients into their recipes.  "If any of the beer is going to be organic, it's going to be the 5 mile, just because of the local and organic ingredients we can get in the area", said Jim. Jim jokes about how the guys at the brewery aren't farmers, so it's important for them to maintain good relationships with farmers in the area. 

Although production of a new 5 Mile Ale will be disrupted while they move, Jim says that they are hopeful to brew a 5 mile in the fall.  We got a sneak peek at the new brewery, as well.  They are located closer to downtown Ipswich and the building is massive. The silos are nearly 3 times bigger than the old silos, and the inside gives them so much more space to brew.  Another exciting addition to the new brewery is the restaurant that will be inside. With street access, guests will be able to sit indoors and look down into the brewery so they can see exactly where their beer is coming from.  Pretty exciting stuff!

Our experience with Jim was fascinating.  He was so enthusiastic about the brewery and it was clear to us that this is his passion.  We look forward to the distribution of a new 5 mile, and we're all excited about the growth of the brewery.


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