ROC Brewing Co. founder Chris Spinelli started brewing when his mom surprised him with a home brewing kit for Christmas shortly after he graduated from college. Passion became an obsession and after earning his MBA from Rochester Institute of Technology, Chris started ROC Brewing Co.
Unfortunately, lack of accessible capital threatened to crush Chris’s plans. No bank wanted to take a chance on a young brewer turning his passion into a business. There were only a small handful of craft breweries in the region at the time.
Chris found Accion and the Brewing the American Dream program where he got more than a loan, he gained a second family of beer lovers as passionate as he is. ROC Brewing Co. was one of the first breweries to participate in our Brewing and Business Experienceship program. Together we brewed ThreeNinety Bock, a Maibock that has a sweet toffee and slight caramel flavor with a hint of spice from the rye and subtle notes of smoke on the finish. Since his experienceship, Chris has been a regular visitor and collaborator with Sam Adams for advice, aging barrels, and more and we’ve watched in excitement as he has grown ROC over the years to become one of the most widely-recognized breweries in Upstate NY.
As a leader in the Rochester beer community, Chris mentors other brewers and young businesspeople looking to start their own enterprises. He brews his beer in-house just behind a new tasting room, where they serve pints, flights and food made to order.