Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Organic Hops (finally!)

So we just received our first shipment of organic hops [picture me jumping in the air and clicking my heels together]. It is enough to do two or three test batches before switching to full scale production. We’ve spent the last 3 + years trying to find a consistent source of certified organic hops of the variety and quality we require. If these test batches pan out our ingredients will go from 98% organic to 100% organic. I’m so excited about this…when we started off this was a really big decision for us.

There technically were organic hops on the market, but we didn’t particularly like them and we couldn’t receive assurances they would always be available. We decided that we would hold out until we could get what we wanted in terms of quality and variety, but I really didn’t expect it would take so flipping long.

The next step for us will be to go through the actual certification process, which I’m really looking forward to. At first I figured it wouldn’t be anything more than a pain-in-the-but, because I’m pretty sure they won’t find anything that we need to change (to be certified organic you only need 95% of the ingredients certified, and we don’t make any beer with less than that). But lately, I’ve been kind of hoping that they do find something we can change, to help us do better.

Either way, we’ll see what’s what when we start the process. In the meantime, I can’t wait until our tests on the hops are done.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Beau’s Rumour Mill

My sister just called to let me in on the latest Beau’s rumour going through the circuit. We’ve heard some pretty crazy rumours over the past 2 and a half years; my personal favourite is that we are actually a part of [Insert Global Conglomerate Beer Company], but there have been a pile of others.

It seems about every 3 months or so, some beer rep thinks that the best way to grow their brand is to tell restaurant managers something scandalous about Beau’s in the hopes that the restauranteur will be so outraged that they take our tap off on the spot and reward this rep with a new account for letting them in on ‘the truth’.

This never, ever works. Instead, it kind of backfires. The rep spreading the rumour is politely asked to leave, then, the restauranteur calls us up and tells us what X brewery just said about us and we both have a good laugh. X Brewery suddenly starts wondering why their sales go down and they aren’t closing as many new accounts.

Jamie and Jen (our two reps) have a code they work by…

1) Don’t talk bad about other breweries
2) See rule #1
3) I don't want to catch anyone not drinking in their room after lights out

Actually, that last rule we stole from Monty Python, but its still valid I think.

From time to time we do bump our friends off a tap, and the same happens to us – the restauranteur gets to decide whose beer they want; its their place after all. But we have never lost a tap from someone who came in to spread crazy gossip, and I doubt we ever will. And I’ve never complained about it to the offending brewery, because I’d hate to think I helped them figure out that their evil strategy isn’t working.

Lets hope they don’t read this blog entry!

Monday, February 02, 2009

New Concrete!

As my friend Jerry would say “Its happening again!”. Today we set our schedule for putting in fresh new concrete where we will soon start putting in shiny new Unitanks (fermenter and aging tank in 1). We learned from last time that you need to start on the concrete well in advance because it needs to cure for about a week before you seal it, which then also needs time before you can start installing the tanks. We’ll also need to move an 80 foot long bank of lights and possibly move an overhead heater, before the tanks get here.

We started working on these plans back in August, so you can imagine how good it feels to start actually doing work on this. A good lesson learned here – 7 months to line up financing (and still counting, but we can’t wait any more to get working)…so basically, we need to know now if we want to do anything cool for summer 2010.

The new pad of concrete will extend out an additional 11 feet and will run 2/3 of the length of the original concrete and will continue the slope of the original section so that everything will run to the drain. We are using a local contractor, Ivan Conway, for the job. They will be in framing it on Tuesday and pouring concrete on Wednesday.

Best part is that the new concrete will cover up one of the yuckiest looking parts of the original concrete (there had been a machine in that spot from the former company in the building, so the concrete is all chipped and so far 4 coats of paint have not made it look respectable.)

So if you can make it to the brewery in the next few days, you’ll get to see the wonderful start of our expansion.