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Small Empires - the drinking game: can we code our way to better beer?

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Two Roads Brewing Company doesn't just make booze, they provide a platform for any small craft beer to program their own flavors

Ahh beer. You can drink it. You could brew beer in your bathtub. Maybe you already have. One of the great things about beer is that in some ways it's pretty straightforward to make. That simplicity also allows for lots of variety. You can throw in everything from pumpkin to strawberry to chocolate when it comes to flavor, but brewing for yourself isn't a great way to make money.

One of the big buzzwords in tech startups is the "platform play." You're not building a service that just does one thing, like make beer. You're building a platform that allows anyone to do that thing, a plug-and-play system that helps drive innovation. That's the premise behind Two Roads Brewing Company, a Stratford, Connecticut startup. The company offers its facilities to so-called gypsy brewers, who can input the recipe for their craft beer variety into Two Roads system, then make beer with all the efficiencies of scale that come from having a big brewery.

Making other people's recipes is known as contract brewing and isn't a particularly new concept. What makes Two Roads special is the way it approached the combination of contracting and building its own brand. It started out by building facilities that were way too large for the size of the current demand for its brand, knowing that it could fill any of that slack with outside brewers. As third parties use the platform, in other words, it helps Two Roads to scale.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy this episode, no ID required. Better yet, share your ideas for beer below. Can you come up with something better than liquid doughnuts?