Q & A with Colin Marshall of Diamondback Brewing Co.

| July 13, 2015 | 1 Comments

imageHeadquartered in South Baltimore’s Curtis Bay, Diamondback Brewing Co. is one of the newest additions to the growing craft beer industry around Baltimore. Diamondback is currently brewing a Golden Ale and Three Thirty Amber Ale, which are available in cans and on draft, with hopes of adding more beers and building its own production brewery. SouthBMore.com caught up with Director of Sales and Media Colin Marshall last week to learn more about this business, which launched in the Fall 2014.

Tell us about the Diamondback team. How did you get started in brewing?

This is always one of my favorite questions. Who are we and how’d we get started? Tom Foster, director of operations. Francis Smith, director of finance and strategy. Colin Marshall, director of sales and media. We are three long time friends. We all graduated from Loyola Blakefield High School class of 2009. I moved to Vermont for college (Saint Michael’s College) and Francis and Tom went to University of Maryland. This is where Diamondback established roots. Francis and Tom began brewing in their kitchen during the winter and backyard during the summer.

Somewhere around 2011-2012, I started brewing with Tom and Francis during breaks from college when we were all home in Baltimore. At this point we realized that we were brewing great beer with a well-rounded business team. Starting a business with your best friends is a very, very interesting adventure. This sort of experience lends itself to some of life’s best lessons!

Where is Diamondback brewed? What is the process for getting the product into the hands of customers?

Diamondback started production brewing at Eastern Shore Brewing Company in St. Michaels, Maryland. We reached the point where our second beer and can launch was imminent so we had to look for a larger contract brewer. That is when we found Beltway Brewing Company. Beltway currently contract brews 75 bbl’s (barrels) a month of both the 3:30 Amber Ale and Diamondback Golden Ale.

Once our product is ready for us, we pick up from Beltway and bring all the product back to our warehouse in South Baltimore. From there, Francis, Tom and I individually hit various and strategic territories in Maryland throughout the week. As of right now (7/10/15), we are a self-distributed brewing company. This means that when a sale is closed, one of the team members will distribute the product to our buyer. We look to pick up a distributor come August 2015.

What are your current products? What do you hope to offer in the future?

We service more than 150 accounts in Maryland, so I won’t kill you by listing them all. We are predominantly in Baltimore City, but service accounts in Anne Arundel, Prince George’s, Carroll, Baltimore, Talbot, Queen Anne’s, Harford, and Calvert counties. Our next release is an Oktoberfest Marzen style. Release date is tentatively early September. We hope to be throughout the entire state of Maryland, DC and Delaware come 2016.

Where can people sample Diamondback beers?

Check out our events page (http://www.diamondbackbeer.com/upcoming-events/) to see where we will be doing tastings, with most happening every weekend at liquor stores and bars or restaurants during the week. If you cant make one of those, we will soon have an interactive map on our website that will show our visitors exactly where they can find diamondback on draft and in retail.

Craft beer is a growing industry around the country. How do you rate Baltimore as a craft beer city? How has it been to be a part of this growing scene in the city? 

Craft beer is a huge movement in the US. Specifically, Baltimore is a hot city for it. Whether you’re currently operating, operating in the near future, or looking to get into the industry soon, Maryland has plenty of room to grow compared to other states of relative size. It’s not easy to be a player in this city. It takes guts, brawn, determination, persistence, and a willingness to produce high-quality beer in a highly competitive market. Most of our competitors entered the market with a distributor backing their product. We chose a different route and launched self-distributed. This can impede the progress of getting beer to market fast and gathering a name for yourself, but we have made it work and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

With Diamondback based out of Curtis Bay, what you like about running a business in South Baltimore?

SoBo is an interesting place to run the business. You’re either paying a toll to use the tunnel or crossing through historic Fed Hill and over the Hanover Street Bridge to get to our headquarters. It really is interesting to see the demographic and landscape change as your progress deeper into South Baltimore. The good news is that Locust Point and Federal Hill have been successful markets for us and a short drive to and from the warehouse helps tremendously. Charm City Meadworks knows exactly where we’re talking about. We’ll see where our headquarters ends up as Diamondback progresses throughout the next year.

With the hopes of opening your own brewery, tell us about what that process involves and your anticipated timeline to make it happen.

Diamondback is actively pursuing properties in and around Baltimore. The plan is to have a warehouse of our own by early fall, progress through permits, buildout and installation through Winter 2015 and Spring 2016, and open our doors to the public with an operating production brewery and tasting room of our own by early summer 2016. “Stay Tuned, Baltimore!”

About the Author:

Founder and Publisher of SouthBmore.com, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, father of three, amateur pizza chef, skateboarder, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at [email protected] and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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