JC Tetreault often runs into people from the West Coast or overseas who are familiar with Trillium and enjoy the cloudy IPAs or the fruit-forward beers from the Permutation Series. He credits that interest to the power of the internet, and even though he might have a market if he expanded regionally or nationally, the Trillium co-owner is content to simply quench the thirst of the beer lovers of Boston. He’s got no aspirations of taking on heavyweights like Budweiser or even spreading his wings nationwide like Boston-based Samuel Adams, setting his sights instead on achieving a lifelong dream.
“We’re still ultimately planning to open a farm brewery, but it takes time and a lot of logistics and years of planning for that,” says Tetreault, who’s keeping busy with plenty of other projects. Trillium will open a 16,000-square-foot restaurant and taproom with a roof deck and patio in Fort Point this fall, while continuing to operate its Canton facility (which can brew up to 35,000 barrels per year) and the Trillium Garden on the Greenway, which spurred a few craft-beer competitors to open their own gardens this summer. “It’s not like we invented beer gardens,” Tetreault says. “But for some reason, Boston just didn’t have one.”
Tetreault downplays his roots as a trailblazer, but when he and his wife Esther opened their tiny brewery in Fort Point in March 2013, there wasn’t much of a neighborhood brewery presence in a region dominated by Samuel Adams and Harpoon. In the five years since then, neighborhood breweries are popping up in nearly every town, the demand for hazy New England IPA has spiked and Trillium has garnered worldwide accolades such as being named the third-best brewery in the world by RateBeer.
“We’ve enjoyed a lot of success, but it’s been great to see the industry, and our friends, all doing well,” Tetreault says. “We’re going to continue to try to make even better beer and just keep improving, perhaps offering more varieties than we have in the past.”
“When we were a few months in, we had to make the decision to give up our day jobs and jump into this thing full-time. … If you ask my wife, Esther, she’d specifically say [the toughest time] was when we lost our child care, which coincided with the timing of us giving up our jobs—and it was just everything going on at once with two young kids. It was just hard to find time, but we had to commit fully to it in order to make it work.”
INFLUENCERS: GEORGE FOREMAN III | TARA FOLEY | ELLIOT COHEN | JC TETREAULT | JOANNE CHANG | PEDRO ALONZO | AMAN ADVANI | KATHY ABBOTT | BRIDGETTE WALLACE | SUSAN RODGERSON