In addition to brewing its own beers, F.X. Matt is one of the largest contract brewers in the country. The list of breweries who have contract-brewed with the company at one time or another reads like a brewing industry all-star team.
"In the early 80s we started with New Amsterdam, which was really kind of the first craft beer on the East Coast," Nick Matt said. "Since then, we've done Sam Adams, Harpoon, Brooklyn and [MillerCoors'] Blue Moon. Magic Hat, Long Trail—almost anyone on the East Coast that has been successful has come through our brewery."
While the brewery has managed to successfully navigate the economic turbulence of the beer industry, one of its biggest challenges was of a different kind: a fire in 2008 that caused $10 million in damage and halted production for weeks. Though it was a major setback, he said, it left the brewery better positioned long term.
"From a physical plant point of view it really has turned out to be a good thing because we had a good insurance settlement and we basically reinvested that money back into our plant," Matt said.
Management upgraded the decades-old facility, including building a new warehouse and updating the bottling operations.
Though some of the physical assets may be new, history is pretty much always top of mind at F.X. Matt. So when it came time to determine what style of beer to brew for its anniversary, the family searched its archives and found a recipe for an India Pale Ale written by its founder in 1914. Though now the most popular style of craft beer in the United States, IPA isn't believed to have been common back then.
For the Matt family, its Legacy IPA is a perfect way to bridge the past and present.
"It's really cool we're on our fourth generation—not many companies make it that long," Fred Matt said. "The likelihood you make it to a fourth generation is about 3 percent. Our objective is for the company to be around for another 125 years."
—By CNBC's Tom Rotunno. Follow him on Twitter @TomRotunno.