Friday, October 17, 2008

Things to do at 4 in the morning

Hi everyone,
Yes, I haven't fallen in to a kettle...yet.
Things have been busy still here at the brewery.
We surpassed last years production a couple of weeks ago, so now the rest is just increase!
Remember the economy is BAD, and people are not spending money.
People will always spend money on things that are good. I had heard yesterday that 7000 toy factories in China closed this year. This was after last years lead paint mess up and the fact that Americans are not buying junk toys at the same rate as they had in previous years.
It all comes down to quality, that is what I strive for everyday.
My boys here at the brewery think I am a big prick sometimes, but It is my livelihood in every bottle and I won't let someone else screw it up.
I'm not saying that I am the greatest boss but I have worker for worse in machine shops over the years!

Last night was the home brewers meeting here at the brewery and it went off without a hitch.
Plenty of new faces and a lively discussion on everything brewing.
They even brewed up a batch for the November 20 pot luck Christmas party.
Looks pretty good to me. A 6% red ale with Cascade and German Select hops.
The recipe is an adaptation of the Sierra Nevada Celebration ale.

I decided to stay over at the brewery last night as the home brewers finished up at 10:00.
Driving home and being back in 3 hours sounded like a waste of time to me.
I wonder..will I get overtime for this? I bet if Obama has his way I will have to "share my wealth" with the others.
If any of "the others" would like to work my schedule they are more than welcome to have a piece of my "wealth."
Jim and Todd at the brewery would like to share their debt load any time with "Joe the plumber."
We work hard for what we have and one of these days we might even be able to get a raise from what we started at 5 years ago. Most small business owners like us roll as much as they can back into the business to get it to grow in the first years, sometime I would like to be able to stop doing that.
Oh yea, Both of my girls have now met Sen. McCain in person. Kir rode with him on the 6 seat train under the US Capital a few years ago and Brit had her picture taken with him in La Crosse.

Today's production is Furthermore Proper followed next week my our first few batches for the "Beer of the Month Clubs". Looks like November will be a very busy month bottling and brewing those beers up.
English Special and Woody's Wheat are on the order, so place your Christmas orders now!

Now for something completely different....
Sherry is back from Germany today so her "cleaning boy Lief" has been hard at work throwing away the beer bottles and pizza boxes he acquired while she was gone!
Ask him to show you where the Musky attacked him last week!
I was also out at Sanburg Valley meats this week to pick up a deer that Rollie processed for us.
Looks like we will have chili this winter for Friday nights.
The plans are also in the works for a brewery Christmas party in December too.

Enough with all of this fun, time to go back to work.
The beer doesn't just make itself !!

Respectively submitted,

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A bit of a rant

I hesitate to post his but since I am generally a pretty easy going guy. As Todd and I run the brewery we tend to be helpful to our fellow brewers. In business, as you may guess, the competition can be pretty fierce. We have always looked at our Craft Brewing business to be somewhat different - a fraternal organization so to speak. When other brewers have had questions we answer them genuinely and with candor. Sometimes it isn't the answer that is being sought but it is at least the truth as we see it or have experienced it. We strive to help out our fellow brewers be it through co-op buying, producing beer, or just simple sharing of information. The COOL thing about this is generally speaking all brewers do the same thing. We share the camaraderie of being part of a small group of guys and gals that have a deep passion for making great beer in our locally owned and operated brewery. I have liked to think we have a strong ethical honor bound thread that follows all of us in our business dealings. We also like to do this because..

Its fun.

Now - you are asking yourself - What does this have to do with the price of tea in China?

You may have noticed that I have posted a picture of one of our products on right side of our blog - Pioneer Pale Ale. As most of you are aware The Sand Creek Brewing Company purchased the Pioneer Brewing Company back in 2004. This included the Pioneer Brand and all of its products. Back in June of this year it came to our attention that a small start up brewery was going to name one of their products "Pioneer Pale Ale". I sent them a rather nice note congratulating them on their start up brewery and politely asked them to remove the references to the Pioneer Pale Ale off of their website since it was a beer that is owned by the Sand Creek Brewing Company.

They responded with an apology, that they would remove the name from the web site and rework the name of their beer. Cool -just what I think a bunch of brewers would do. After all, we are a close-knit fraternal organization - right?


Fast forward to the first week in October. It comes to our attention that the previously still unnamed brewery STILL is using the Pioneer Pale Ale name and has added the TM mark to the name itself. I sent them another note and this time I get back the response:
I was not aware of any ownership of the trademark Pioneer Pale Ale. Would you please forward me any evidence asserting ownership of the name?

I don't get it. This is the same brewery that came to us about contract brewing their beer to get them off the ground. This is the same brewery that learned our entire history when they visited us last winter. This is the same brewery who said they would rectify the matter. Wow

As a member of a very select and unique group of business owners, I wouldn't think one brewery would do that to another.

Maybe we are a bit to altruistic in our dealings. I sure hope not since it is what makes this micro-brewing business we all love so great. I got into this business after 14 years of working in corporate USA. I saw the good and I saw the bad. I saw in the craft brewing industry something better. We as a small industry grow together and need each other. As more small brewers come into the business more and more people find that craft brewed beers are better, more interesting and the back stories on the places where they are made are pretty darn interesting. I would hate to see a small start up brewery's back story darkened when each and EVERY craft brewery is important to us all.


I feel better now -


Cliff Clavin knows his stuff -

I was reading on the web today that alcohol consumption may reduce brain size. I am thinking Cliff from the Cheers TV show was dead on about the buffalo theory.

'Well you see, Norm, it's like this . . . . A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. And when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members. In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Now, as we know, excessive intake of alcohol kills brain cells. But naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine. And that, Norm, is why you always feel smarter after a few beers.

The article article on the brain shrinkage can be found here

CNN Health News.

You be the judge - I think the Cliff is wise!

Ok more news - Todd is brewing up another batch of our One Planet Ale. Dangerous Dan and Donna will be in Neenah for the brewfest this Friday night. The Tap room will be open for it's usual fun and frivolity on Friday night as well.

I want to shoot a special thanks to Pheasant Ridge and the Rajin' Cajuns who were up for a shoot over the weekend! What a great weekend and much fun was had by one and all. Also, our friend Kevin won the rib cookoff contest on Saturday night!

Talk with you all later

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Oktoberfest aftermath

Well another one is in the books! What a great Oktoberfest celebration! This year's attendance was over 1500 strong. It was a gorgeous fall day with bright sunshine and temps about 70 (ish). We were fortunate to have over 20 of the COOLEST looking cars at our first attempt at a shine and show Carshow.

The music was great. Wally Pikal and Harvey started out the entertainment and got the mood set right. At 12:30 - we through in an Celtic twist with having our friends from Atlantic Wave come on up and play till 3:30. Great drinking songs and they even did my favorite the Mull River Shuffle. Last but certainly not least was Gary Brueggen and the Ridgland Dutchmen! Gary was inducted into the Concertina Hall of Fame on the day of our fest and then drove like mad to make our event! They ended our our evening with a full on polka dance going on.

The food and refreshments were flowing well. I do need to take a moment and throw out a huge special thank you to Kevin and Liz from the Tegarosa Cattle Company for making all that smoked goodness for us. Kevin and Liz have been huge supporters of Sand Creek/Pioneer since day one and without their support, efforts, and dedication our little brewery would be diminished greatly. Thanks a ton Kevin and Liz! Additionally this "little" food venue wouldn't have been possible without the efforts of the Pic brothers throwing themselves into the organizing and executing a catering event of no small magnitude. In fact this event wouldn't have been possible at all without the help from a small army of volunteers that help put this festival together. It is a privilege and an honor to have so many friends associated with this brewery, event and community. THANKS!

Moving right along..

Todd is brewing up some beer for our friends and the Fox Deluxe brewing company of Chicago and another batch of our Wild Ride IPA.

Keep in mind that the Saturday tours are now done until next spring. This weekend Dangerous Dan and Donna will be up in Ashland for the big fest up nort.

Be well and have a great week!

PS Only 361 days till Oktoberfest 09 (See the counter!)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Its that time of the year!

Greetings Everyone!

We have had quite the summer with our sales just a booming! So first off I just need to send you all a BIG THANK YOU for your support! Without great beer fans like you we wouldnt be were we are today! Thanks Again!

OK - SO whatcha doing this Saturday?


Well I have the event for you!

This Saturday the 4th is the 2nd Annual Oktoberfest Celebration being held at your favorite brewery. The event runs from 10am -7pm(ish)

This years events include: a car show, 20 craft vendors, kids games, scavenger hunt, pumpkin and dessert contest, brewery tours, alpacas, specials in the local businesses, and of course great food from the Tegarosa Cattle Company, Beer and Music!

This years entertainment will be provided by:

The Legendary Wally Pikal -10am - Noon.
Atlantic Wave - 12:30-3:30 (Music of Ireland, Scotland and Cape Breton)
Gary Brueggen and The Ridgeland Dutchmen - 4pm - 7pm (Wisconsin's OWN Concertina Kid) (Its also Gary's Birthday!)

If that's not enough.. We are also selling a commemorative 22oz ceramic tankard! It is emblazoned with a nifty Oktoberfest Medallion. We are selling them for $25 bucks with a free fill of beer! All proceeds from the sale of the mugs are going for western Wisconsin flood relief. The really cool thing is that your 3 bucks you were going to spend on that 16 oz beer cup? Yup, you can fill up your BIG mug for the same price!

Well that is all for now. Hope to see you all on Saturday!

Sand Creek Brewing Company
320 Pierce Street
Black River Falls, WI 54615