Saturday, June 28, 2008

Getting Out There

A few days ago I received a list of the accounts that have ordered by beer, and I just added them on to our listing of retailers.  We now have 28 establishments carrying our beer!  I know of at least five more accounts that will be ordering next week, and there are many others that we have yet to visit.  All of the Stone sales reps. have been doing a great job getting our name out there, so thank you to them!  At least 75% of the accounts that have been opened in the last two weeks have been from Stone sales reps.  That's very significant considering I'm spending two-three days per week finding new accounts.

Check out the list at   If your favorite place to buy or drink beer isn't on there, let me know, and equally as important, let the establishment know!

Monday, June 16, 2008

San Diego Real Ale Festival

I spent Friday and part of Saturday in Carlsbad (Pizza Port) at the San Diego Real Ale Festival organized by Jeff Bagby, Tom Nickel and Tomme Arthur.  

This is a great festival with a focus on local beers served in an unusual way.  Real Ale is beer that conforms to the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) method of treating and serving finished beer.  To describe it briefly, the beers were mostly served from hand pump engines, where the beer is hand pumped out the faucet instead of forced out the faucet with CO2.  The beer is naturally carbonated, and tends to be low on carbonation, and the serving temperature is around 50 degrees F.  Bottle conditioned beers are also "Real Ale", so there was a small selection of bottle conditioned beers.

We had our Humulus Bruin on cask, which is a hoppy Belgian-style brown ale.  This is the second runnings of our Imperial Stout (which won't be released until late 2009), and I have to admit not a great candidate to be served on cask.  I really like this beer from the tap, and trying it at the festival was the first time I had it on cask.  It still had the intense hop aroma I enjoy in this beer, but without much carbonation, became a bit thin.  Carbonation is one of those things which can contribute to the perceived body of a beer.  It was fun trying it on cask, and enough people seemed to enjoy it, so no harm done I hope.

We also had bottles of Saison Rue for the VIP session.  The case we brought for this ran out within an hour and I received a lot of positive comments on it.  

The word about our brewery is getting out there.  I spoke with a lot of people who have recently tried our beer (besides those trying it at the festival), and heard a lot of great things.  We'll have many new accounts in San Diego over the next two weeks, so I'm hoping the positive attention grows!

I'll keep an eye out on other blogs for pictures.  As normal, I was too focused on people and beer and didn't take any!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Stone Brewing Co. Distributing Our Beer

This last Tuesday I met with Steve Wagner, President / Brewmaster of Stone Brewing Co. and signed a distribution agreement!  I cannot express in words how excited and happy I am about this.  

Stone is a great company, brewing excellent beers and distributing in Southern California for some of my favorite breweries such as Russian River, Avery, Port Brewing / Lost Abbey and Victory.  Their portfolio is limited to very high quality craft beer brands.  Their sales force is well educated about beer-- in fact, I'd say most of them are beer geeks.  Picking up distribution for us is a testament to the quality of our beers and our future potential.

They distribute in San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, so you'll be able to find our beers all over Southern California within the next few weeks.  Perhaps the best news is I won't have to deliver beer anymore!

Cheers to the great people of Stone!

Tyler took a picture of the signing ceremony:

Friday, June 6, 2008

Excessive Carbonation?

Bottle conditioning (natural carbonation) should be pretty straight forward, right? Add a certain amount of a simple carbohydrate (sucrose) to the tank of finished beer, mix it, bottle, and the yeast does it's job. I wish it were this simple!

We were going for a high level of carbonation in most of our beers, but not this high! Our super attenuative yeast (meaning it eats everything it possibly can) had produced the right amount of carbonation when we initially released the beers, and has since continued to add more carbonation than was intended in the first batch of several of our beers.
For the first batches (usually indicated by a gold crown cap and a slight overfill level), I recommend chilling the beer well before opening, and gently pour your beer right after popping the cap. Just like champagne, right?

Luckily, not very much of this beer went out as most of it went towards draft.  New batches (with lower carbonation) have been bottled and have been sent out to a few of our accounts already. We have two dozen cases of the first batch of Black Orchard in inventory, which we won't be releasing to accounts and instead drinking it ourselves (what a tough job!). You might have a tough time finding it until the release of the new batch, which will be on shelves in late June.

If you've popped open one of our bottles and lost beer due to overcarbonation, I sincerely apologize. We are refining our processes to insure the carbonation is appropriate. If you've had a problem with our beers because of this (or any reason, for that matter), please give me a call (714-996-6258) and we'll fix it. These are the first batches coming from our brewery, and while we set ourselves to the highest of standards, we didn't know what the standards were for the first batches!

Batch No. 1 - Levud's is now being released, and luckily is not overcarbonated!

Thanks for supporting us!