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Messages - Tim McManus

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Zymurgy / Re: Zymurgy online?!?!
« on: October 26, 2011, 12:16:12 AM »
I am not a fan of eZymurgy.

I don't like Flash, and it only works with Flash.  I actually have a Flash blocker on my browser.

The sounds are annoying and completely unnecessary.  Navigation is bad as page loading times take a while (I have a 50Mb connection to the Internet, so that's not the issue).

I would have thought that rather than take a print magazine and cram it verbatim into a Flash file it would have been more advantageous and a better use of the medium to port it over to HTML instead.

I definitely won't get any value out of it.

Classifieds / GABF Saturday Night - One Ticket - Members Only Entrance
« on: September 23, 2011, 02:16:53 AM »
PayPal only for everyone's protection.  First pay first take.

Meet-in-person in Denver or I will FedEx overnight up until this Wednesday, September 28 at your cost.

Going Pro / Re: High gravity brewing to increase production volume
« on: September 21, 2011, 05:03:24 PM »
Since no one would have to be around to monitor the boil, you could set a timer to bring the water up to the boil at night when the kettle goes unused anyway (assuming you aren't running three shifts). The next day you'd have room temperature water ready to go. As far as blending, no reason you'd have to do it inline. Just keep an eye on your sight glass/volume markings/whatever during transfer or filtration, stop at the correct point, and top off with water. Maybe recirculate for a few minutes to get it mixed, if that turns out to be necessary. As someone else pointed out, you could also do it in two batches and avoid the need for a double-size bright tank.

I was more referring back to the original poster's scenario of not wanting to purchase larger equipment and instead blending.  My assumption was since the scenario opted not to use larger tanks, he wouldn't have the capacity to hold all of the liquid to blend in-tank.

I also approached it financially, which adds some voodoo to the mix.

You have to ask yourself if the capital costs of larger tanks is greater than the additional cost of energy over time.  And to do this you need to see where those costs occur and how they are managed in a financial statement.

The tanks are initial capital costs which are depreciated over time.  It's usually a fixed value and very predictable.  The additional water and energy and labor required to create the dilution are part of the cost of good sold.  These are not fixed costs but are variable.  The cost of consumables and energy fluctuates with market prices.  So if one year it costs you $1.00 to brew a batch of beer, the next year it may cost you $1.05 to brew the same batch of beer.  With more variable costs the ability to predict and project profitability over time becomes less probable.  Additionally, the more batches you make the higher the labor cost because of the additional step of blending.  Even if it only increases labor by .5x, it's still a .5 increase with each batch.

Where does this burn you?  In your growth phase, which usually begins around years 3-4.  Inefficient business processes cost money and become expensive as you grow.  It's very difficult to improve efficiency during a growth phase, so capacity planning is key.  It's also very difficult to do.

It's understandable that if you don't have enough capital at the onset you may need to look at different kinds of business process to compensate.  However, part of your business plan should include a path to improve or correct those processes as an ongoing exercise  instead of realizing during a growth phase that you need even more capital to correct them.

Going Pro / Re: High gravity brewing to increase production volume
« on: September 21, 2011, 04:41:44 AM »
Yeah, it's not really a "Plan A" sort of setup. It's more of a "for financial reasons my brewery is too small for the production required" setup. Everything I've read about it says that when done properly, you can get reasonably good beer in much more volume, but it's no one's first choice. I do get the feeling that a lot of breweries do it. I'm not surprised at all Budweiser does/did it, with the volume they have to produce.

Not always the best financial solution and in many cases it will cost more and cause more problems.  The amount of energy required to boil water is considerable.  You would need to fill your boil kettle a second time and chill the water prior to dilution.  Essentially you're using the same energy to boil just water, and you'd need to have a vessel large enough to blend the batch.  In-line dilution is impractical and you'd need an extremely expensive valve that would regulate the value aperture based on the flow rate of both the beer and the water.  Otherwise your in-line blending would be inconsistent.  These valves are electronically regulated and you'd need the flow sensors, the valve, and the electronics to run it all.

The blending that Bud does is not a 50% gravity reducer but rather a product consistency process.  If Budweiser has a FG of 1.010 and they have a batch that comes out as 1.012, they will dilute it down to 1.010.  It's not a large drop on gravity.  The most admirable thing about Budweiser is that it's identical from can to can anywhere in the world.  You might not like their product, but they've mastered product consistency better than most any other food manufacturer out there.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Something to concider
« on: September 15, 2011, 01:00:18 AM »
I've had a 5# CO2 tank pop its pressure valve in my kitchen.  It rapidly displaced all of the air in the room in a matter of seconds.  Luckily I was in the kitchen at the time and opened all the doors and windows to vent it.

Keep this in mind the next time you refill your 5#, 10# or 20# CO2 tank and throw it in the back of your car.  It doesn't matter if you crack the windows, a pressure value relief breach will fill the car with CO2 in seconds.

Another somber story, a friend of a friend was a welder.  Took some welding tanks home from a site in his car.  They had a slow leak and then next morning when he started the car it detonated.  The gas pooled in his car and the ignition was the spark.  Killed instantly.

Be very careful with pressurized gasses.  I own a pickup and throw everything in the bed and strap it down.  If you have a car, even if you put tanks in the trunk, keep your windows open and store the tanks immediately.

Going Pro / Re: Brew Pub capacity
« on: September 14, 2011, 10:09:15 PM »
A brewpub is a restaurant FIRST, a bar SECOND, and a brewery LAST.

You'll make more cash selling food, higher margin selling liquor, and your beer is merely a differentiating factor from other restaurants.  More than likely you'll lose money on the craft beer.

You want to build your dining room as large as possible to turn over "plates".  How many plates per night (entrees) can your kitchen produce and that contributes to profitability.  There are more people who are willing to eat food than those who will drink liquor or your beer.  That's the volume you want to maximize for maximum cash flow.  The upsell at dinner is beer and liquor.  You'll make more margin on liquor than craft beer every time.

There are exceptions to this, but as a general rule it's food and booze first, craft beer last.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Mixing Yeast?
« on: September 14, 2011, 08:38:58 PM »
I have done this numerous times over the past 16 years with excellent results.  Yes, it may be unpredictable, but isn't most home brewing that way?

I try to avoid unpredictable in my homebrewing.  Not that it doesn't sometimes happen, but that doesn't mean I have to like or accept it.  YMMV.

Unfortunately for us, at our level there are many unknowns and things we can't control.  But that's what makes it fun!  If home brewing were like making shake-n-bake pork chops (mmmmmm.....), it wouldn't be that fun anymore.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Mixing Yeast?
« on: September 14, 2011, 03:49:54 PM »
I have done this numerous times over the past 16 years with excellent results.  Yes, it may be unpredictable, but isn't most home brewing that way?

Definitely try it and remake the same batch so see if there is a difference.  From my experiences the outcome has been fairly predictable, but I stick with yeast strains that are close in profile.

The Pub / Re: Irene's fury
« on: August 27, 2011, 07:15:13 PM »
Not worried about this storm at all, but then again I'm not on the coast.

The concern for NYC et al is the wind and subsequent storm surge.  Since the center of the storm is very low pressure, the ocean tends to swell and rise at that point.  Couple that with the new moon we are currently in, and you have significant tides to worry about.  The eye is predicted to go over NYC, so there should be significant flooding and wave motion over established sea walls.

For those of you who are tracking the storm, here are some links.  I am an NOAA weather spotter, so I track this stuff all the time as well as reporting weather data back to the folks who need to know.

Storm relative to my home town:

National Hurricane Center

Hourly Weather Forecast for my home town

River Height Data for NJ (home state)

The Davis Vantage Pro Plus in my back yard

You can search for you location at any of those web sites to get more specific data.  These links are somewhat better than the Weather Channel because the NOAA is usually the source of weather data for all weather reporting agencies (at least the free ones).

Good luck, folks.  Remember to fuel up your chain saw and have extra gas ready.

The Pub / Re: Don't know what to think
« on: August 27, 2011, 03:21:31 AM »
I have a buddy who works for Fender.  He's spent the past two years traveling the globe to research sources of wood.  Now I know why.

The Pub / Re: Why am I still here?
« on: August 25, 2011, 12:17:26 PM »
I "slowed down" brewing once, but I got over it.

Yeast and Fermentation / BBC Yeast Article
« on: August 23, 2011, 04:52:12 PM »
Short article on lager yeast at the BBC.

Going Pro / Re: Brewery Financing for someone with no wealth/collateral
« on: August 22, 2011, 04:04:23 PM »
The forming of this topic was discussed, and we determined there was a need.  We asked for an opinion on any needed restrictions, and the only one that really came out was from the legal staff and was to not discuss pricing, as stated in the Going Pro Rules.

I'm not going to question the legality of discussing pricing and it's unfortunate that this restriction is unique because of the organizations hosting these forums.  However, it does significantly impair the discussion.

One of the most nebulous parts of writing a business plan is figuring out the financial aspect of it.  Determining the cost of goods sold and margins all while maintaining competitive pricing is daunting to anyone with financial experience and to those without it seems like an insurmountable task.

I am interested to understand how the BA can publish Ray Daniels, "The Brewers Association's Guide to Starting Your Own Brewery" which contains sections specifically outlining pricing and pricing methodologies, and it contains a complete brewery business plan, yet discussing it on these forums is an issue?

Going Pro / Re: Brewery Financing for someone with no wealth/collateral
« on: August 18, 2011, 05:45:42 PM »
With the crazy alcohol regulations in this country, such as prohibitions on self-distribution and the problems in getting your product into consumer's hands, I don't think the same kind of marketing strategies would work for beer. You would probably start off with the only potential customers being people in your town, or within x miles of your town.

Some other non-traditional ways of getting your brand out there is by creating a "Follow the birth of our brewery" blog.  Lots of guys are doing that now.  Also, Facebook can be used to reconnect with old friends who are out of town.  You can create a brewery page for your business there and those out-of-town old friends will probably be interested in it.  And due to the way social networking works, their friends will want to know.  Of course they now have a story about "that guy from high school I knew is new starting a brewery, how cool is that"?  From there you start a Twitter feed and connect all three of these non-traditional marketing tools together.  You'll be surprised how quickly it starts to pan out across the country (and possibly the world).

The best part:  All of this is free.

Going Pro / Re: Brewery Financing for someone with no wealth/collateral
« on: August 18, 2011, 05:12:43 PM »
May be I am a fool but that is how I see it.

Nope, I don't think you are a fool at all. There are a few "breweries" that have been popping up that have T-Shirts, Glasses, Coasters, Stickers, even tap handles - but no beer! Seriously! Talk about putting your cart before the horse.

This is actually a good marketing idea.  By branding items and getting the word out well in advance, people are anticipating your product in the market place before it arrives.  This is why most companies pre-annouce products.  The inability to get a well-branded product actually increases demand.  It a strategy heavily employed by Apple Computer.  They announce something, it goes on sale, it sells out and you can't get one for weeks.  People line up outside the stores just to get one on opening days.  Regardless whether you like Apple's products or not, they get a massive amount of free publicity because of the demand they create prior to and during product launch.

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