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Gathering Brews - Whirligig Brewing

Jun 02, 2022 11:58AM ● By TAY GREENLEAF
“I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO CREATE A SPACE  that gives back to the community,” says Geoffrey Sewake, head brewer and owner of Whirligig Brewing. And one could say he has successfully done just that. From a background in community development, Geoffrey has been able to turn brewing into a community practice. Upon opening in the heart of downtown St. Johnsbury, the brewery has not only served up a revolving offering of beers, it has become a meeting space for events, pop-ups, and bites to eat.

Geoffrey, one of the only BIPOC brewers currently in Vermont, decided to open Whirligig Brewing after years of loving all things food and beverage. “My mom bought me a home brewing kit, and after that, I was hooked,” says Geoffrey. “I did everything I could to learn about the ins and outs of brewing.” With that newly found passion, Geoffrey took a chance to build something. “I really took the bull by the horns. I decided to open a brewery in St. Johnsbury, the community my wife grew up in. We wanted to give back to the area.”


As a nanobrewery, Whirligig Brewing functions on a one-barrel system. “I tend not to rebrew any of my past beers,” admits Geoffrey. “If you aren’t able to come by the brewery on a weekly basis, you might not even be able to taste a beer twice.” Geoffrey’s ever-changing roster of new brews ranges from lagers to stouts but mostly focuses on the production of sours and wild ales. Due to the nature of a one-barrel system, there is a limited supply of the beer created. While the taproom always offers nine different beers at a time, each visit to Whirligig Brewing is a new experience. “Having such a small barrel system allows me freedom for creativity,” says Geoffrey.

 Named after the hyper colloquial term for the helicopter seed from maple trees, Geoffrey desired from the very beginning to make his brewery all things local. “I try to source all my ingredients locally if possible,” says Geoffrey. “It keeps the money in the area, and overall keeps with my goal of supporting my community. The brewery currently uses local grains and Vermont-grown hops in almost all of their brews and tries to get hyper-local ingredients whenever possible. The brewery also is home to various popups, board game nights, and events to keep with the ultimate goal of being a gathering place for the community.

In the future, Geoffrey predicts that growth in the brewery will lead to more beers and more opportunities to bring people together. From monthly board game nights to an expanding barrel program, Whirligig Brewing has a lot on the horizon with the community always in mind
397 Railroad Street,
 Unit #2 St Johnsbury, VT
 (802) 417-2468
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