A note on COVID, negativity and moving forward
We just wanted to take a minute to give you a little more info about who we are as people and as a business, which honestly, are one and the same.
The last few weeks have been, to put it mildly, shocking. Not only did COVID decimate our main business overnight (draft sales on site) and just the way we like to interact with our customers, but you guys have started buying our bottles with an enthusiasm that far exceeded anything we could ever expected. The last few weeks we’ve left a lot of people disappointed and/or angry because they weren’t able to get bottles. We hear you. This isn’t what we want, now or ever.
As a business we are people first, now and forever. That’s what we do. We are a brewery who makes and sells beer no doubt, but we are all about people and experience. I think most people who have been by the bottle shed or beer bus at any point over the last year know what we’re talking about. In fact if you’ve been by, you’ve met one of, or all of us. We are the people working the shop. We are the people making the beer. We are the people who own the business. We are the people who helped push your car out of our super snowy parking lot that one time because we’re poor and the parking lot was just a frozen tundra this winter. We are the 3 people who make this insanely inefficient brewery go, and at the best of times that’s a tall ass order.
We built the brewery from the ground up with all the money we had (disclaimer: it was not very much) and we did not take on investors of any kind. We wanted this to be ours, free from outside influence. We built almost everything we use in the brewery by hand from the keg washer to our bottling line to the bottle shed you buy your beer and the bus we retrofitted into a tap room. It’s about as DIY as it gets. It’s also extremely finicky and inefficient and often we just hope the duct tape keeps holding. We did all this because we wanted to build a space for people to enjoy the beer we love making. We have never taken a dollar from the business. We are coming up on our 3rd birthday and every single year we have plowed as much of our own pay checks as we can manage into growing and improving the business rather than paying ourselves. This means that yes, we are still dirt poor and that yes, we are literally always tired. 100 hour weeks are just what needs to happen for this thing to keep going, and some days the weight of all that adds up and calling it quits sounds downright… freeing. But don’t worry, we’re in way too deep to get out now (we would literally lose everything, but that’s a story for another time).
We’re doing everything we can to make as many bottles available for sale as we can, but we are a 1bbl brewery. We make about 200-220 bottles of beer at a time (total of 800-1000 ish per week). It isn’t very much beer, but we’re making as much of it as we can. We’ve started brewing as much as 6 times a week to get as much beer out there as possible, but we’ve hit both our physical limit (like my body is dying guys) and our spacial limit, as in there is no more room to move in the brewery. There just isn’t much more we can squeeze out of our little brewhouse. At this point we were supposed to have a new brewery ready to roll, but then COVID hit and now we don’t know shit about shit and we’re just waiting for a brewery to arrive at some point. But those are the cards we were dealt and we’re going to play with what we have.
So why are we telling you all this? We’re really just trying to provide context. We aren’t some big faceless business with staff. When you message the brewery, you’re messaging us. When you like, share, comment etc, that’s us. And the last few weeks the weight of the negativity following our online availability is starting to get to us. I’d like to say we could just tune it out, but we can’t. We are only human after all, and in this new COVID world it’s harder than ever to get away from those damn screens. We would love to go back to what we were doing 3 weeks ago, hell I think everyone would, but we can’t. I wish we could still be slinging pints on the bus, but that would be super non-social distancing. We would love to have our new brewery running, but it’s just not here. We’re caught in an impossible position where no matter what we seem to do, people are going to be angry or disappointed because we are not able to make enough beer. We know its disappointing to miss out on releases and our online store checkout is also wildly frustrating (we’re working on a solution!), but we hope this post has provided some context as to who we are as people and as a brewery, and we also hope it helps you understand where we’re at right now and everything we’re trying to do to make this thing work better moving forward. The solution won’t be here overnight, but it is coming and we’re just asking for a little patience and understanding on the way there.
Troy, Mike, and Grace