Trailblazers 2017: Sandy and Jay Boss Febbo of Bang Brewing

Jay (right) and Sandy Boss Febbo of Bang Brewing // Photo by Aaron Davidson

Jay (right) and Sandy Boss Febbo of Bang Brewing // Photo by Aaron Davidson

How do Sandy and Jay Boss Febbo split up the responsibilities of owning and operating a brewery and taproom? It’s simple: they don’t.

“Our chosen scale has allowed us to operate as a true partnership,” says Sandy Boss Febbo, co-owner of Bang Brewing and wife of Jay. “We both like seeing things through start to finish. Meeting our farmers, bringing a beer from brew day to glass, tending taps in our taproom. We develop recipes together, brew together, and consult on all aspects of the business.”

The partners began homebrewing together in the early ‘90s, but they started getting serious about the business of beer after they remodeled their home kitchen to a more brewing-friendly setup in 2005. After a few more years of perfecting their craft and seeking the perfect place for Bang, the duo bought a small chunk of land in St. Paul’s Creative Enterprise Zone and built a brewery in a small, efficient, prefab grain bin.

“Our goal has always been to make the biggest impact with a smallest footprint possible,” says Sandy. That ethos is present in everything they do. From the reclaimed and reused materials they used to build and decorate their cozy taproom and outdoor space, to their commitment to using only organic brewing ingredients, Bang is always conscious of their impact on the planet and the communities of which they are a part.

In addition to being the only brewery in Minnesota using exclusively organic ingredients, Bang has also been experimenting with the agricultural side of beer. Working with The Land Institute, Green Lands Blue Waters, and the University of Minnesota, Bang was the first local brewery to feature Kernza—a tasty perennial grain similar to wheat—in a beer. Perennial grains can be beneficial to the environment and soil health because plants like Kernza grow deep roots that minimize soil erosion, and can require less annual maintenance or herbicide applications to establish.

“We have a couple other recipes beyond our Kernza blonde ale, Gold, in development and look forward to continued collaboration with this network on the development of perennials and sustainable agriculture,” says Sandy.

As if they needed to further make their case for blazing trails, she adds: “Jay and I are working on plans to organize an organic brewers group to help network and further prove demand for organic [beer ingredients].”

Trailblazers are the people, ideas, businesses, and organizations doing necessary, important, and groundbreaking work in the realms of food, drink, and culture. See the rest of The Growler’s 2017 Trailblazers here.

About Joseph Alton