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The Barstool Fund - Gray Brewing Company

Up next: Gray Brewing Company (Janesville, WI)

In 1856, Joshua C. Gray founded Gray's Bottling Works. Throughout the generations, the family business has adopted several names — and is currently operated by fifth-generation Robert (Fred) Gray II, who produces handcrafted beer and soda that is sold locally.

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Reader Email

Dear Barstool Sports,

My name is Sarah Gray and I’m from Janesville, Wisconsin. I saw your post tonight on Instagram how you are helping small business, so I figured I would reach out. I’m the 6th generation owner of Gray Brewing Company. We are a small family run brewery and bottling facility in Janesville which is about 30 minutes south of Madison, Wisconsin. Together myself, my brother Jake, my dad Fred, and our six employees make and bottle craft beer and craft soda. We are mostly sold locally here in southern Wisconsin, but do have distribution throughout Wisconsin, and in some surrounding states including Minnesota, Iowa, and southern Illinois. Our most popular product is an Irish Style Red Ale called “Busted Knuckle."

Our family business started way back in 1856 with my great-great-great grandfather Joshua Gray. We pride ourselves as being one of the nation’s oldest family owned breweries and bottling facilities. Since being in business for over 160 years, our ancestors before us have faced other historical struggles such as The Civil War, The Great Depression, World War I & II, Vietnam War, and even a fire that burnt our building to the ground in 1992. Myself and my brother Jake, being only 27 and 25 years old, now face our own business struggle, the COVID-19 pandemic. Although alcohol sales are up in the nation, craft sales are down. Customers are going in to the liquor stores and picking up a “30 rack” of cans instead of a 6 pack of our craft beer. Restaurants and bars being forced to shut down or limit capacity has basically stopped the flow of our draft beer (which is really where we can make money). We have even been forced to shut down our own tap room due to capacity issues. This summer we lost out on all of our events, and even lost our biggest summer customer, the Memorial Union in Madison (I’m sure Big Cat has had a few of our brews whilst looking over the beautiful Lake Mendota). 

My grandpa use to alway say, “We are not owners, but caretakers for the next generation.” Jake and I have no doubt that we won’t be able to get through this this tough time, but we do know we need help in getting through this. Any way Barstool Sports can help would be greatly appreciated. A purchase of one of our products, a social media shout-out, help from The Barstool Fund, or maybe even having Dave fly out for a tour (there’s also so many great pizza places in Janesville). Anythingggg would mean so much to us!

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