Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Two Beaus In the Snow

Before it all melts, here is one more photo of the winter of never-ending snow. Eric Beauchesne decided to wash away his golf course dreams for now with a yummy glass of Beau's winter seasonal ale, Bog Water. Get yer Bog Water soon if you want to tuck some away for next winter, yo.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Whoa, what a week

So, Mom and Dad are on vacation in sunny Florida this week. My brother et deliver-person Phil broke his ankle and is out of commission right now, but no problem, right? We'll just pitch in and get it all done, right?

Well, it's around St Patrick's day, and Murphy's Law sounds like an Irish kind of thing, so maybe it was ordained, but wow, its been busy.

We originally projected that we would sell 130 cases of Lugtread in the first quarter (3 months) of being introduced. That was based on the fact that it was a single serve purchase in a fancy-pants bottle (yes, that's the technical term).

Switch to reality...In our first two weeks we sold 151 cases. Zoinks, Scoob, that's like 1400% more than our forecast!

We have a bottle filler ordered, but it hasnt arrived yet, so we're still doing this all by hand, and it is really, really slow work. We've been working most nights until 2am and starting up again at 5am.

...and its totally a dream come true. Apparently adrenaline is just as good as sleep. Funny thing is though, I can't sit down without nodding off, so I just keep standing.

We thought we had enough bottles to last us until July, but as it turns out they'll be gone by the end of this week. Luckily, we'd gotten a little worried that demand might be higher than at first expected and we've got 2.5 more pallets coming in next week and a full 10 pallets coming the week of April 14th. It will be close, but we might just sqeak by. We've had to start telling new LCBOs that call us up that they'll have to wait until our next full shipment arrives in April, but hopefully they'll understand.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Bryce Day

A good friend of mine passed away on March 8, 2004. Every March 8th since then, I've marked the day by pouring Bryce a pint and a shot, then sitting around having a conversation with him. It's always been at a pub and usually with some other close friends of ours to help me reminice, but the blizzard this year made that sort of impossible.

So this year, I've poured Bryce a pint of Bog Water (it's been particularly cool to be able to pour Bryce a pint of Beau's for a second year in a row) and a couple fingers of Cointreau. Every year I've wanted to do something meaningful in his memory, and this year I actually came up with something: I decided to donate my hair for wigs for chemotherapy patients. (My friend Bryce survived several seperate bouts of cancer and finally succumed to an acute case of cancer of the everything, so the donation seemed to make sense.)

My wife Nicola decided to do the same (she's donated hair once before, so it's old hat to her) and we went down to a hair salon in town, Brian's Place before the blizzard got too out of control. Brian, who also goes by the name Barney and I'm not not sure why, gave me the cut for free when he found out what the cause was. Thanks Barney!

For anyone interested in donating hair for chemo wigs for people living with cancer, it's actually pretty easy. Usually you need a minimum of 6-8 inches of hair that is undyed and in a ponytail, and you mail it in. You mail it to different places depending on what state or province you live in.

Check out these links for more info:

Canadian Cancer Society

Locks of Love

Pantene Beautiful Lengths

And, here are a couple of pics of me and Nicola getting our hair chopped off.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


So we did it. We delivered 47 cases of Lug Tread yesterday to LCBOs in Vankleek Hill, Hawkesbury, St. Isidore, Plantagenet and Ottawa. Still more to get to Kingston, but after what seemed like forever, we're now actually for sale and on the shelf at the LCBOs.

And what a reception! I only got to personally deliver to St. Isidore and Plantagenet, but after talking to Dad and Jen, the store managers and staff unanimously are really, really excited about having us there. Talking with one manager and hearing that he'd read the blog was particularly cool and humbling at the same time. [note - I don't want to mention anyone in case they don't want to be named, but if you work at an LCBO and want to give a shout-out, please leave a comment!] Literally, the managers had already cleared a space and people were buying the beer while we were still in the store!

On the business end of all this, it was a lot of work to get these orders ready. We didn't want to call too many stores, not knowing what the reception would be initially and it's a good thing, because right now we fill everything by hand, tag by hand, put on the tamper-proof label by hand, put on the OCB sticker by hand and put it into the box by hand (see the "box tangent" at the end of this blog for additional Murphy's Law). The response from the LCBOs was much better than we anticipated and correspondingly, our first order was much larger than we anticipated (I'm not complaining!)

So Monday night at about midnight we finally finish all the packaging and we're all ready to go, just got to pack up 47 cases into Dad's minivan and...hmmm...are these all going to fit? Turns out, not by a long shot. Each case weighs about 45lbs and the minivan can carry a total weight of 1200 lbs including people. So, being (nice to Jen and Dad who would be travelling in said minivan,) lets say we can put about 1,000lbs in without going too much over the limit. So 45 cases x 45lbs is; lets see...oh crud. 2115 lbs. That's a lot of beer, yo.

Jen's husband Kevin, who is our bottle-filler extrodinaire part-time as well as being a full-time architectural technologist had a couple architect meetings in Ottawa Tuesday morning. So we loaded his vehicle with 15 cases and sent him off to Ottawa. Jen and Dad started the morning out going to Hawkesbury and Vankleek Hill, dropping off another 8 cases between the two (as well as two bottles on the floor, sorry again Sylvain!), leaving 24 more cases to go.

They took 19 with them, leaving 5 for me to drop off in St. Isidore and Plantagenet. Without going too much into detail, a lot more tetris went on making sure there was someone at the brewery, and make all the meetings that also were scheduled for the day, but we got it done, with the last drop off happening just after 5pm. (jen's note: YEAH! we did awesome, yo. I used my first loading dock, and even remembered to get everyone's signature for the deliveries!!! The peeps who work at LCBO are so great, and were all so excited to finally have some Beau's.)

Then back to the brewery to do it all again: i.e., get ready for a series of Ontario Craft Brewer meetings and the Kingston deliveries. As it turns out, the lousy Smarch weather meant I couldn;t leave for Toronto at 3am like I had planned, and while I'm ticked I can't do all the things I had lined up, the extra 2 hours sleep felt real, real, really-really good.

by steve

We were promised boxes by Monday by our supplier, which is why we promised delivery on Tuesday to the LCBO stores. Our box supplier screwed up, and here it is Wednesday and we still don't have our boxes - apparently "ISO" stands for International Screw-up Organization. They couldn't even tell me why it was late when I asked. But there was no way in Hell that we were going to be late delivering our very first shipment.

So, we unpacked 2 pallets of our jugs, which come in boxes that can fit 12 bottles width and length, although they are a little too short for the height.

Then we pulled out the insert and modified it up to sit between the bottles, folded the box-tops inside, placed the bottles and presto-chango, we now had boxes for our 750mL bottles.