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Inspiring Stories from ESL Business Banking Clients: Ultimate Brew Service

Q&A with Vice President Justin O'Donoghue

December 2023

Their dream began in a garage and now it has flourished to serving more than 120 different breweries, wineries, and cideries in the Greater Rochester region and throughout the country. Below, learn more about Ultimate Brew Service and its mission to sustain and improve local craft beer production!

Tell us about the launch of Ultimate Brew Service.

With a few dollars and a dream, Ultimate Brew Service, Inc. was founded in 2018 by Chris Brogan (President) and Justin O’Donoghue (Vice President). To date, we’ve expanded our warehousing and office space by 7,400 sq. ft., added four employees to our growing team, and have serviced more than 150 breweries across the state and beyond. Our company's mission is to sustain and improve craft beer production by offering the technology to streamline, automate, and enhance the brewing process.

What are some of your challenges and how do you navigate these?

Our biggest obstacle is that people are not fully aware of the extent of work we can do. As our list of products and services continues to evolve, it can be challenging making sure that our clients — and community at large — know exactly what we can provide for them. Thankfully, the brewing community is tight-knit and shares information often. We’ve grown almost entirely on reputation and word-of-mouth.

What do you like most about your business?

The businesses in the industry we serve. Everyone in this community is kind, relaxed, driven, and shares similar interests and goals as our company. Feeling connected to our clients makes it fun to go to work every day. We genuinely want them all to succeed.

Can you share something that is unique about what you do that people may not know?

There isn’t a business in the world that does everything that we do, which I think is unique in itself. While there are many companies that provide service, equipment, and products to breweries, we are the only ones who can say that we do it all. We’re a one-stop-shop.

How has your relationship with ESL helped your business?

ESL has been essential to our growth. We started with a basic checking account and added a $1,000 overdraft allowance to start. Now, we have a $125,000 credit line and an analyzed checking account with positive pay. Both have been essential in managing our cash flow.

What has it been like working with ESL?

Working with ESL has been great. We have a designated account manager who is always responsive and takes the time to sit down and meet with us. Our manager, and everyone else we’ve worked with at ESL, is committed to the betterment of our company and genuinely invested in our success. We’ve had a great experience in our five years working together so far!

What do you like about working in Rochester and having your business in the Greater Rochester region?

Both Chris and I have grown up in the Rochester area. It is our home base, and it’s been great to us. This area is a growing, well-known hub for craft beer. Rochester is the perfect place for us to have started our business, and as the industry continues to grow, there’s nowhere else we’d rather be headquartered.

What tips would you share with others, whether it’s someone starting a business or a veteran business owner?

There are so many ways to be successful in business and I think it’s different for everyone. There’s truly no correct way to succeed. It’s something that you have to discover on your own.

What else do you think is important for people to know?

Like a lot of start-ups, our business started out in a garage with a small cash investment and a year’s worth of sweat equity. Chris, who previously worked in the dairy industry, created Ultimate Brew Service, Inc. in August 2018 knowing his skills and experience in repairing pumps, chillers, and glycol lines could be put to good use in the craft brewing industry. My background was in business, so I started by creating a logo website, and content, while Chris was on the road building relationships with breweries. It sounds cliche, but we really have been the perfect Yin and Yang to grow this business together.

To learn more about Ultimate Brew Service, visit