Browsing articles in "Perspectives"

Reflections on 2010

Dec 30, 2010   //   by Jonathan   //   Blog, Perspectives  //  1 Comment

Four years ago, armed with only a turkey fryer and a few plastic buckets, we set out on a journey to launch a brewery in 2010. At the time, we knew very little about the brewing industry, so our timeline was meant to be far enough into the future to give us a chance to learn it, but not too far away as to make it easy on us.

With one day left in 2010, it is clear that we won’t quite make our goal. However, we are still aiming for an early 2011 launch and the pieces are slowly falling into place. One thing we underestimated when setting a timeline was how anal Jeff was. It has taken us the better part of 4 years to perfect 2 recipes. That is a lot of perfecting. Our Eye Patch Ale alone has gone through 20+ iterations, most of them with relatively minor changes, to get it just right. And we’re confident with our final recipes.

You may have noticed a slowdown in brewing operations lately. That is due in part with our confidence in final recipes, but also coincides with us ramping up other aspects of the business. Such as licensing. And banking. You know, the sexy stuff.

While we aren’t going to make our original 2010 launch goal, we are excited with how far we have come with year, and think the extra waiting is going to pay off. Thanks so much for taking this journey with us, whether you’ve attended on a Monday or simply read our blog from time to time. We really do appreciate it, and can’t wait for you to take the next step of our journey with us as well.

Stay tuned, exciting stuff is happening!

The Joys of Banking

Dec 15, 2010   //   by Jonathan   //   Blog, MNB: legitimate business, Perspectives  //  3 Comments

Over the past 2 weeks it has been my pleasure to meet with many  banks with the express purpose of deciding where we should put our money. I am by trade a marketing guy, and my role with the brewery is Marketing Guy and Master of Mind Control. Not exactly the one you would peg as a lover of banking, especially when Jeff deals with numbers and ROI and spreadsheets on a daily basis.

However, I’ve really enjoyed it. I find myself enjoying all aspects of starting a business, even if they aren’t necessarily my strong suit. As we’ve been moving closer to launch, we’ve spent a lot of our energy putting the right team in place ? a lawyer, an accountant, a t-shirt vendor, and yes ? a banker.

While our immediate banking needs will be pretty basic, we like to think of this relationship as a long-term commitment. We are relational fellows (we did start out of a bible study, after all), and strive for strong relationships from everyone we interact with. That obviously includes our end consumers, but it also includes the guy with the coat and tie handling our money. Just take a look at our logo and you’ll see the appreciation we have for coats and ties.

So here’s to you, banker dudes. Thanks for doing the boring stuff so we can make beer.

The Search for God and Guinness

Apr 23, 2010   //   by Jonathan   //   Blog, Perspectives  //  No Comments

Book-God-Guinness-by-Stephen-Mansfield

I am currently reading The Search for God and Guinness by Stephen Mansfield. I’m about halfway through and so far it is excellent. If you love beer and beer history (I’m looking at YOU, Maureen Ogle), this is a must-read.

That is all. Please return back to your regularly scheduled Friday activities.

Why we love beer

Feb 24, 2010   //   by Jonathan   //   Blog, Perspectives, Revelry  //  8 Comments

beer-cans

It’s no surprise that we love beer. If it IS a surprise, you clearly have trouble drawing reasonable conclusions from what you have read. But why do we love beer? Our reasons are varied, and we’d love to hear yours. Here are some of my top reasons, in no particular order:

  1. Beer is alive. The element of live yeast makes it so dern interesting.
  2. Beer is broad. The differences between a light lager and a Russian Imperial Stout are astounding. And yet both are beer. Though notice I didn’t capitalize light lager.
  3. Beer spans generational, economic, and cultural constructs. Much like Waffle House, those who enjoy beer come from all walks of life. It is a true commonality in a world of differences.
  4. Beer is calming. There is nothing better than winding down with a quality beer (especially a Monday Night beer) at the end of a long day.
  5. Beer brings people together. Beer provides that little bit of a reason needed to hang out with those we love. “Hey Bob, want to grab a beer sometime?” Or “Hey Justin Timberlake, want to grab a beer sometime?” I like to pretend I’m friends with Justin Timberlake.

Yep. I think I’m going to end that one on Justin Timberlake. So what are YOUR reasons for loving beer?

Image source: the bbp

A stout dilemma

Oct 29, 2009   //   by Jonathan   //   Blog, Perspectives  //  2 Comments

Many people have preconceived, often false, notions of stouts. This glorious beer has a heavy color and a heavier name (in-laws are stout, not beers, right?). People tend to associate the following traits with this heavy outward appearance:

  • Bitter
  • Thick and rich
  • High alcohol

stout

This is the subject of a recent New York Times article, which does a good job debunking these myths. Writer Eric Asimov says,

Stout in its classic form is one of the lighter ales, paradoxically full-bodied yet delicate. For years, my go-to midday brew was draft Guinness Stout, a once-rare beer that has become easier and easier to find in New York in the years since the city?s beer consciousness was raised. Aside from the enticing flavors of roasted barley and coffee, a properly pulled pint is low in alcohol, around 4 percent, fractionally less even than Bud Light. It?s probably wishful thinking, but I like to think a midday stout aids the digestion. I know it improves the imagination.

I have to say stouts are some of my favorite beers. There’s also a lot of versatility within the style. Cherry stouts, milk stouts, chocolate stouts, coffee stouts, Russian Imperial stouts. The maltiness of the stout can hold up to a lot of added flavors. I still want to brew our mint chocolate stout again. OMG DELICIOUS.

If you’ve stayed clear of stouts because you thought they were too heavy or too alcoholic, I beg you to try again. There’s a stout out there for [almost] everyone.

Image source: knightbefore_99

Better baseball teams command higher beer prices

Sep 11, 2009   //   by Jonathan   //   Blog, Perspectives, Revelry  //  5 Comments

beer-ballpark

The Wall Street Journal published an interesting article today on the correlation between a ballpark’s winning percentage and the cost of the beer there. I’m admittedly not the biggest baseball fan (I blame it on one massive failure of a year playing Little League), but beer and economics is right up my alley. Beer prices can vary dramatically depending on the stadium. A 21 oz beer costs $4.75 in Pittsburgh, but a 20 oz beer costs $8.75 in San Francisco. That’s a hefty margin. So what’s the correlation?

A team with a .600 winning percentage charges, on average, about $1.30 more for a 16-ounce beer than does a team with a .400 percentage.

There are obviously anomalies, as writer Justin Merry points out.

[T]here’s Nationals Park where, in exchange for watching baseball’s worst team, fans get to spend $7.50 for a 20-ounce beer. Of course, nothing compares to Boston’s Fenway Park. There, you’ll pay $7.25 for just 12 ounces?a rate that is, ounce for ounce and win for win, the worst beer value in baseball.

No word on where Atlanta falls in all of this. At least we aren’t the Nationals.

Image source: wallyg

Labels as art in craft beer

Aug 12, 2009   //   by Jonathan   //   Blog, Industry, Perspectives  //  1 Comment

There’s an interesting (and short) article in Metro about “The art of the six-pack.” And I quote:

?The craft beer industry is a very creative industry,? explains Matt Polacheck, Art Director at Brooklyn-based Shmaltz Brewing, whose Coney Island Craft Lagers line features colorful, sideshow poster-inspired labels. ?The artful labels tie in to the whole culture of craft beer ? it?s about creating new, interesting beers ? and so to go along with those beers, we?ve made the experience of the bottle as interesting as what?s inside.?

Craft beer labels do tend towards the artsy side of things. New Belgium has been using watercolors from the founders’ neighbor for its beers since the beginning. Flying Dog takes label art to a whole new level with their Ralph Steadman creations. One of my favorite recent examples of this is Deschutes The Dissident:

the_dissident

Now that is a good-looking label. Simple, retro, powerful. It reminds me of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. Personally, I think the whole “label as art” phenomenon among craft breweries is a function of two things:

  1. Craft breweries are small and quirky. It’s the small, quirky companies that have the courage and opportunity to play around with things like labels. Budweiser is catering to too many people to get too creative, but Coney Island Craft Lagers has a very specific (and accepting) demographic. Plus, the people behind craft breweries, ourselves included, generally want to express themselves. We’re a bunch of white collar guys trying to enjoy life, so our labels reflect that.
  2. There are a ton of craft breweries and you have to stand out. Have you been to the package store lately? At last count there were over 1400 craft breweries in the U.S. Hop City carries over 1200 different beers. With so many choices, it makes sense to make your labels pop, and art is one of the best ways to do this.

Artsy labels are obviously no substitute for great beer, but the label may be the thing that sets a beer apart on the shelf and gets someone to try it. Once that someone has purchased a six-pack, it’s up to the beer to retain that consumer.

Image source: djeucalyptus

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