Thursday, April 10, 2008

Promoting and Selling Ourselves

As Tyler posted, we have finally bottled and kegged our beers, and we are currently nurturing them (i.e. bottle conditioning and petting them daily) and preparing them to be shipped off and sold... well, hopefully sold!  I'm really pleased how all of the beers have turned out, and I hope you are too.  I was nervous that the jump from 10 gallon batches to 465 gallon batches the first time around would not end up being remotely the same beer, but in most cases, they are spot on, or perhaps a bit more to our liking, than the pilot batches.  

The one exception is Batch No. 1 - Levud's.  This is a very fine beer, don't get me wrong.  This was the first batch, and I didn't know what our mash efficiency would be.  I was shooting for a 19.0-19.5 P beer, which when it finishes around 2 P, would end up being around a 9.5% beer.  Loren and Mark brewed it to this strength, and I wanted to be as close as possible. We brewed this over two days (15 bbl each day) to fill the 30 bbl fermenter.  The first 15 bbl batch came out to be 22.1 P, about a 13% overshot.  I scaled back the second batch of it by a few hundred pounds of base malt in order to hit around 17 P, but instead the gravity was 19.9.  The combined gravity of the two batches ended up being 21 P, and I wasn't about to water it down.  It attenuated to around 1.2 P (94.4% apparent attenuation!!!).  Instead of the 9.5% Golden Strong Ale, we have an 11% Golden Strong Ale.  I'm not complaining; it still tastes damn good!  Those bottles are slow to carbonate right now, so there's a chance we'll be delaying their release by a few weeks.  From what I've tasted so far, it has a very similar flavor profile to the outstanding beer that Loren and Mark brew, but with a bit more of an alcoholic punch.

Speaking of releasing beers, we plan on having all of our labels approved and hopefully printed within two weeks time, so keep an eye out for them (I'll post where we're selling though, so don't look around too hard).  The label for Saison Rue has been approved, and we anticipate Batch No. 1 - Levud's will be approved in the next few days as well.  Orchard White and Black Orchard are currently delayed because the TTB required a formula due to the spices we add to the beers. None of the ingredients are controversial, so I'm hoping their approval moves along quickly.

We'll be kicking off our first releases at Hollingshead Deli, currently scheduled for either Monday, April 28th or Tuesday, April 29th.  In early May, we'll be going to beer bars, beer friendly restaurants, and good beer stores in Orange County, Los Angeles County, and San Diego County letting people know we're around and open!

If you'll be at the Craft Brewers Conference next week, our beer will be served there at some point.  We also entered the World Beer Cup, so please cross your fingers for us.

It is a huge relief and very exciting to finally be at the point where The Bruery is a commercial brewery.  If you would have told me two years ago that I'd be running my own brewery in two years, I wouldn't have believed it.  I probably would have said "No, I'll be running my own brewery in a year!"  Delays and reality aside, I'm excited and optimistic about the adventure I'm embarking on.

Last but not least, the obligatory pictures:

The very manual bottling line (Thanks to Lyn Davidson for the picture)


Five pallets of Batch No. 1 (Thanks to Tim Reissmueller for the photo).

6 comments:

David said...

Why do labels have to be approved and who approves them?

Patrick Rue said...

David--

Labels for alcoholic beverages (and tobacco, and probably a number of other products) have to be approved by State and Federal agencies. For CA, the ABC approves our labels. Their standards are pretty low, so things usually get approved. All of our labels were already approved through them. The Federal Agency is the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), part of the Department of Treasury. They have rigorous standards, so we've had a few rounds of revisions. If any beer falls outside of their pre-determined categories (uses any ingredients besides malt, hops, and yeast, and says so on the label), a Statement of Process / Formula is required. I had to submit my recipe and process to them, and I can't do this electronically, so dealing with the TTB by mail will hold things up. Take a look at https://www.ttbonline.gov/colasonline/publicSearchColasBasic.do and search your favorite beer.

Patrick

spkrtoy said...

Well, if it's not one thing it's another! Darn TTB, you think they'd get into the 21st century already.

I hope to get to some of the "beer friendly" places when you're serving them (although i've already sampled them) to capture the reaction's from the massive crowds for posterity!

I'm proud of you Patrick! Way to follow your dream and make it a reality!

Lyn

Martha said...

How did you enter the World Beer Cup when you had to ship your beers to Colorado to arrive between March 3rd - 7th?

kevinh said...

Hey I can kind of see part of myself in that first picture. I'm famous!

museman said...

Thanks again for the blog, and I hope the very best for the beer. I read the latest, and I too am a bit shocked at the attenuation outcome. Same yeast strain as the first batch? I wonder what caused them (yeast) to be so thorough?

I have never brewed past the 10 Gal mark, so I can relate to the anxiety jump to 15 bbl or anything past 15 G. Someday I will.

I have a question Patrick, Tyler et.al:

How has the recent rise in hop costs and energy prices effected you at The Bruery? Are you still able to get the profits you expected?