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White Labs celebrates 10 years in business

By Mike White
White Labs

White Labs continues to grow strongly as the company and its customers celebrate 10 years of manufacturing brewers yeast and providing fermentation services.

The last few years have been marked by tremendous growth not just in the domestic market but also internationally, said White Labs President Chris White, who recently attended brewing conferences in Europe and South America.

To celebrate a decade in business, White Labs introduced WLP010 ó a special 10th anniversary blend. Soon after White Labs started in 1995, the company offered five strains ó WLP001, WLP002, WLP004, WLP300 and WLP810. Staff members created a blend of four of these strains (the fifth strain, Hefeweizen Ale, was not included because it does not mix well with other strains) and the result will be available for a limited time only. Contact your sales representative for more details at 888-5-Yeast-5.

In conjunction with White Labsí anniversary, AleSmith Brewing Co. in San Diego is developing a special beer with the blended strain. AleSmith, which is also celebrating its 10-year anniversary, is introducing one of its characteristic high-gravity beers using the new strain.

As White Labs celebrates a decade in business, the company is maturing. While still operated as a small business, employees are receiving benefits normally associated with larger companies. The company offers a 401k plan and heath insurance, among other perks. As a result, employees are staying longer, creating a more stable environment for the company and its customers. Customers are most familiar with White Labsí sales associates and directors, but some of the longest-time employees work in production, including supervisor Ricardo Gamboa, who has been with the company about six years. His wife Ana also is a longtime employee in the production department. They are two of among about 30 employees.

As it grew, the company managed to work on longterm projects, such as Yeastman, the computer program developed specifically for the lab. The program allows workers to track each strain through the entire production process, improving quality control and production schedules.

Eventually the system will be available to the sales staff, allowing them instant access to production timetables. The program has been in development for three years, and in-house efforts are led by lab supervisor Neva Parker. (For more on Yeastman click here).

Over the next few years, White Labs plans to move to a larger production facility; conduct fermentation trials with a new brewing system being developed by Beer, Beer and More Beer; and provide more services to the fermentation industry including wine and distilling.

It took tremendous effort to get to this point. During the first few years the lab had numerous locations, and it took four years before the company began making a profit. Today White Labs is a leading player in yeast production and fermentation sciences for American microbreweries and pubs, and international breweries are expected to be a big part of the labís growth over the next few years. The company looks forward to another successful decade and longer in business.