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Messages - wiley

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Going Pro / Re: "The Grand Timeline"
« on: October 17, 2013, 02:48:46 PM »
Thanks for the 'grats! It's been a whirlwind of a year, but there's no better way to spend it than with the great craft beer brewers and enthusiasts! Keep on keepin' on!

Going Pro / Re: "The Grand Timeline"
« on: October 16, 2013, 06:42:12 PM »
Not to revive an old thread, but just thought I'd provide an update. I've been away from the AHA forum for the better part of 9 months (ish?) so I'm sure there's a proverbial crap ton that I've missed in the discussion. I penned our lease in January, constructed the brewhouse and tap room for about 6 months (we're still not finished with a number of improvements on the "wish list") and opened our doors to the public July 20th, 2013. It's been the most physical, mental, emotional, stress-filled challenge of my life --- and it's been awesome!

The bad - it's pretty much as difficult as everyone warns you... even more so when you're self-financed and you get the opportunity to watch the pot of money drain on stupid stuff -- like replacing virtually every vital component of your 20 year old walk-in cooler compressor over the course of 3 weeks.

But, persevering has its rewards: 1 "day off" since January 1st and averaging four hours of sleep a night has a funny way of paying off (besides losing almost 20 pounds -- probably from the stress ;-) ):

Cheers to the AHA forum, the great advice from the boys at KROC, the amazing community that is craft brewing, and the number of folks who've seen a lot around here and have taken the time to impart the wisdom.

Cheers -
Wiley Roots Brewing.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: White Labs vials?
« on: September 24, 2012, 07:48:32 PM »
So how does WL sanitize the vials for yeast? Dry heat??

I think they come sterile out of the manufacturing process. I doubt there is much that can live in hot plastic.

UV is an option too.


I used to do some work for one of White Labs' suppliers of the preforms -- the preforms are (somewhat suprisingly) the precursor to a two liter bottle. On the older tubes, you could take of the band that remains around the screws once the cap is off, revealing a capital "B" for Ball Corporation. Ball has since sold the plastics manufacturing division, but I can't recall who they sold the division to.

From spending a little time in a couple of the the plants, I would be surprised of Chris White hung his hat on the cleanliness of those plants. I'm sure the sterilization process for the preforms follows (at a minimum) the sanitation protocol used for filling glass bottles received from a glass plant.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: White Labs vials?
« on: August 18, 2012, 04:08:28 PM »
I was going to say exchange the labels for yeast coupons at

I had no idea this was even an option! Awesome!

Yeast and Fermentation / White Labs vials?
« on: August 18, 2012, 12:20:11 AM »
After recently making a starter for a rather large brew day, I got to thinking: there's got to be a use for all of these White Labs vials. So, let's hear it -- what's the best use of the vials once they're empty?

Beer Travel / Re: Colorado and Utah Trip?
« on: August 17, 2012, 06:07:42 AM »
I seem to remember seeing on facebook that crooked stave has actually moved to a Denver Location now, but i'm sure funkwerks still has some on tap.

Crooked Stave is in the process of moving to Denver; don't think they're open quite yet.

6. Silverton Brewing in Silverton
Again, I wouldn't bother. They aren't brewing in Silverton presently, just pouring beers contract-brewed on the Front Range, so you can get the same in any liquor store. If you do want to stop in Silverton, the Avalanche Cafe has started brewing recently.

Last I'd checked, Fort Collins Brewery was contract brewing their beer. Probably still the same and I'd shy away if there are any time constraints.

Quote from: csu007 link=topic=13057.msg166382#msg166382
I really like the idea of traveling to all the breweries in the state, however, with all the new breweries that have opened in the past 2 years it seems like that would be lifelong quest (not necessarily a bad thing)

It's been quite the task keeping up. Luckily, my wife likes spreadsheets  ;D

Beer Travel / Re: Colorado and Utah Trip?
« on: August 17, 2012, 03:01:31 AM »
Back in 2009, my wife and I aimed to hit every brewery in Colorado (at the time, not including duplicates, there were 104). I'm at 83 and have a little catching up to do with all of the smaller breweries popping up. Not sure how many you plan on hitting in a day (my record is 7 in one day... and yes, the wife was driving), but here are my suggestions for the south route:

If you're taking 191 south out of Moab through Cortez to Pagosa Springs, be sure to stop at:
1. Main Street Brewing in Cortez
2. Ska, Durango Brewing, and Steamworks in the Durango area
3. Pagosa Brewing and Pagosa Pub Works (haven't been to PPW) in Pagosa Springs. Pagosa Brewing has a coconut porter that is amazing -- almost always "sells out" at GABF...
4. Three Barrel Brewing in Del Norte -- this is possibly my favorite brewery in Colorado and practically no one knows about it. We stopped by on a Thursday afternoon to find the brewery run by John Bricker out of the back of his insurance agency (the cold room literally separated the insurance business from the brewhouse!). Be sure to call ahead -- it looks like they may be running a brewpub now, but it's been a couple of years since I've been there. If they're not open when you're passing through, you can always stop at Farrago Markets Cafe in Pagosa Springs and get a sandwich and some Three Barrel Beer.
5. San Luis Valley Brewing -- nice brewpub in the middle of downtown Alamosa.

Those are the high points I can speak to in Southern Colorado. If you're going to go back to Grand Junction and drop in through Telluride, you've got:
1. Kannah Creek and Rockslide in Grand Junction, Palisade Brewing in Palisade (sister city of GJ) -- there's also a decent micro distillery pretty much in the parking lot of Palisade Brewing. Depending upon when you're going, Palisade has some great peach orchards you should check out. There's also a number of wineries in Palisade, but don't expect Napa.
2. Horsefly Brewing in Montrose
3. Colorado Boy in Ridgway
4. Smugglers in Telluride
5. Ouray Brewing and Ourayle House in Ouray
6. Silverton Brewing in Silverton
7. Then on to Durango.

As far as places to stay are concerned, I would highly recommend checking out VRBO. My wife and I are taking a class from Tom at Colorado Boy in October and found a great apartment in downtown Ridgway for a very reasonable rate. Traveling south from Grand Junction to Durango will take a good chunk of the day, especially if your plan is to go through Telluride. Let me know if you have any questions on the other breweries in the Denver area.

Just a minor correction on Crooked Stave: they're currently an alt-prop (I believe) with Funkwerks in the old Fort Collins Brewery location (Fort Collins built a new brewery a few blocks away and FW/CS moved in). Hop you enjoy the trip – Cheers!

Going Pro / Re: insurance types
« on: June 12, 2012, 02:30:13 PM »
If you have a tasting room or you start to go to certain festivals, you also will need some sort of liquor indemnification policy, sometimes referred to as dram-shop insurance. The festivals want it in the $1M range.

Whether you strictly require it for a tasting room will be determined by state liquor laws regarding imposed liability, etc.
Would not this be the product liability insurance?

Product liability is not necessarily the same thing as a dram shop. Product liability refers more to the potential risks of the product itself, whereas dram shop addresses the alcohol specific risks.

Product liability: a toaster manufacturer sells a faulty toaster resulting in harm to the purchaser.
Dram shop: a bar owner overserves a customer resulting in an alcohol related crash.

The coverage (or indeminifcation thereof) can get very complicated very quickly, especially when jurisdictional differences are at play. Definitely talk to a local agent who specializes in alcohol related insurance.

Going Pro / Re: "The Grand Timeline"
« on: April 21, 2012, 04:26:12 PM »
Well that sparked some debate! I'm going to apologize now for being a little off topic, but I feel compelled to write a short thesis...

I agree with just about all sides presented, and I appreciate the candid advice (as I'm sure most everyone in here does). But, in the sprit of pragmatism, I feel that it's best to add some color to the previous posts:

Yep, kids are hard -- that's why my wife and I have dedicated ourselves to bulldogs. I doubt that we'll ever know the happiness that goes along with having kids... but that's a CHOICE. Sure there's probably a parallel here (can't tell you for certain because of the aforementioned reasons); but I've never heard as much cynicism about being a good parent as I have about blowing tons of money and making crap beer no one will buy. I would hope that we (as humans) would be more honest with the first, rather than the latter. And if a failed brewery owner looks back with the question 'why didn't anyone tell me it would be so hard?', that's the exact reason why they failed -- lack of 'owning' it and expecting someone else to 'tell me'.

Yep, brewing is hard, blue collar work -- but that's where I come from... I grew up on a farm and have been working since before I was a teenager. Anyone that says farming isn't as hard as brewing has never farmed. I concur that it's highly probable that a number of folks looking to start a brewery haven't worked a string of hard days in a row. But to assume that someone doesn't know what hard work is chaps me.

Yep, small business is hard -- that's why I got two degrees is business (self-financed education, by the way) and haven't stopped there; I began working as a financial consultant to get the best experience and exposure to business as I can. I've clocked plenty of 100+ hour weeks in the last five years consulting for breweries, can manufacturers, and BIG startups (read: hundreds of millions).

As far as Anchor is concerned:
Did I say it was wrong?  It just made it easier for him and less risky than it might be for others.  And actually I do know quite a bit about it since I grew up a couple blocks away from him.

Denny?! Come on, buddy;D... cooooommmmmmeeeee oonnnnnn........

1) Yes, Fritz had some financial resources -- that's why I specifically stated 'purchased'. I wouldn't say that having financial resources made it easier for him -- it made turning Anchor around POSSIBLE. I don't think that anyone will argue that you'll need a hell of a lot more than financial resources and a good product (see #2 below) to run a successful brewery. Work ethic, smarts, determination, creativity and luck are VITAL components to making it work -- amiright, Keith? 

Anchor steam??? Common giys. We are talking about building a brewery ground up not starting with an established brand and family fortune. Doesn't work here. Rich guys are racing yachts not home brewing.

Keith?! Come on, buddy;D... cooooommmmmmeeeee oonnnnnn........

2) An established brand? You're kidding, right?
Per Wikipedia:
"By 1965, however, it [Anchor Brewing Company] was doing so poorly that it nearly closed again [yep, twice!]. Anchor's situation continued to deteriorate largely because the current owners lacked the expertise and attention to cleanliness that are required to produce consistent batches of beer for commercial consumption. The brewery gained a deserved reputation for producing sour, bad beer. In 1965... [Fritz] bought the brewery, saving it from closure. Maytag purchased 51 percent of the brewery for several thousand dollars, and later purchased the brewery outright."

I would argue that the road of taking a crap reputation with existing copper/stainless (AND KEEPING THE SAME NAME!!) is infinitely more difficult than building a solid reputation from scratch. The 'family fortune' is minuscule in comparison to what Fritz was able to accomplish. Oh, and did I mention that he started doing it at 28? ;-D

I don't want to cause TOO much of a stir (OK, maybe a little bit ;-D), but I do want to point out that (in general) the posts I've read are put forth from a 'one size fits all' perspective. A number of them are condescending and patronizing -- I've only ever gotten that once from the 30+ brewery owners I've spoken with. And actually, here's a great story that goes really well along with the sentiment of 'putting a different spin on it':

Matt Cutter from Upslope Brewing Company sold me my first 7 BBL fermenters over two years ago. I showed up with a Penske rental truck, a cashier's check in hand, and a half full corny of blueberry wheat that I had thrown in the back of the truck (and had bounced all along the road to Boulder). After loading the fermenters, I asked Matt if he would like to try the beer (at something like 9:00 AM). He smiled and said "Sure", went inside to grab a few glasses and came back. Obviously, the beer poured like s*** after bouncing along in the back of the rental truck, but Matt smiled and sipped it nonetheless. Matt, being inquisitive, asked how I planned to unload the fermenters and if I had a CIP system set up to clean them -- I believe my response was "CIP? I'm open to suggestions..." At that point, I'm sure Matt couldn't believe the new home his (now my) fermenters would be going to. Again he smiled, and began to show me his CIP system....

The industry (and this forum) needs more of Matt and less of what we've been hearing...

PS -- we got the fermenters unloaded and used them that weekend....

... and made crap beer -- but the beer has been constantly improving ever since ;-D Hell, maybe one day we'll actually be able to sell it. Anyone who wants to learn how to unload 7 BBL fermenters without a forklift or pallet jack, feel free to PM me.


Going Pro / Re: "The Grand Timeline"
« on: April 20, 2012, 08:30:56 PM »
I've seen a number of posts in this forum (and others) that seem to discourage and dissuade young hopefuls from starting a brewery. Truth be told, brewing and taking a brewery from nothing to something is probably over-romanticized, and is some of the hardest work a person could seek to endure. I, like Major, favor realistic anecdotes for someone looking to enter the brewing industry.

However, I do have a small chip on my shoulder: being 28 and in the process of starting a brewery for over 2 years now, I've seen a growing sentiment from older and middle aged folks (and frankly, many baby boomers) to be cynical about the ability of someone in their mid 20's to be successful -- at building a brewery or anything for that matter. While generation 'Y' may exhibit behaviors and tendencies that reinforce the cynicism, I'd like to post a simple reminder about a couple of people that took some chances in their mid 20's, and have since accomplished some great things.

“The world is moving so fast that the person who says it can’t be done is generally interrupted by the person who is already doing it.” Elbert Hubbard

Avery Brewing Company: started by Adam Avery at age 27.
Oskar Blues: started by Dale Katechis at age 28.
New Belgium: started by Jeff Lebesch at age 27.
Sierra Nevada: started by Ken Grossman at age 25.
Anchor Steam: purchased by Fritz at age 28.

Going Pro / Re: Another view about commercial Nano brewing.
« on: April 02, 2012, 06:00:52 PM »
Sadly I think this is the trend with most brewers nowadays. Too many wine people came into the industry and saw how that worked with wine, now they are doing it with beer. Darklord anyone? Kate the Great? Reserve Societies? The 'exclusivity' or the 'I-got-it-and-you-didn't' crowd is becoming larger each year.

Now there are some good beers that are sold out because they are good. And they seem to try to make more each year. Demand for those have grown semi-organically because the beers are really good. But the 'special release' mentality is going to end up hurting more than it helps.

I have to agree with Keith -- it's all marketing, and if it drives more sales for craft beer, go for it... so long as the marketing / campaign doesn't blur the lines of truth.

I do, however, agree that this type of marketing lends itself to furthering the 'beer snob' mentality (which the industry could do with less of), but IMHO that has more to do with the consumers and less to do with the brewers/breweries. Any harm caused is the result of consumers and their need to feel better than the next guy. Could brewers/breweries do more to foster a more inclusive message? Sure -- but at the end of the day, they're trying to create excitement and buzz for their brands in order to stay relevant and competitive, which I can't find any harm in...

Going Pro / Re: Another view about commercial Nano brewing.
« on: March 21, 2012, 12:23:05 AM »
I don't know how successful he is money wise, but he makes a mean saison. I picked up a bottle when I was in Colorado, and it was tasty.

He's started since I moved from Denver. If I were still there, I'd probably get a Reserve membership. I'm heading out in May for a friend's wedding, so I'll pick up some of his bottles.

They're doing some pretty interesting things with saisons and funky beers. I believe he's an alt prop with Funkwerks -- not certain, but I believe he has his own foudres and is working at opening his own place. One more option/route that isn't "Nano"...

Going Pro / Re: Financials and Investors
« on: March 13, 2012, 01:30:02 AM »
How did you go about estimating your Utility/Insurance/Legal and any TI costs? 

Utilities: estimate based upon anticipated usage at various levels of production (i.e. break-even, max production, etc.). For example, our break-even is at ~45 BBLs of annual production. Using an estimate of 5-7 BBLs of water used for every BBL of finished beer and the published commercial rate tables from the local water authority, it's basic math at that point. Same thing for natural gas, electric, etc. You can also speak with local breweries regarding usage and get some really good perspective as well.

Insurance: I obtained quotes/estimates for a local purveyor of business/liquor liability insurance.

Legal: There's a Garth Brooks song about friends in low places. It's all in the definition of 'low'.

TI costs: this will vary from location to location, and finish to finish. I use a per square foot estimate for improvement costs. Certain areas of our facility are going to be higher in per square foot cost (i.e. tap room space, restrooms, etc.), while others are going to be lower (i.e. the walk-in cooler footprint).

My brewery is self-financed, so detailed estimates are more important for my investor ;D. The investor(s) in your brewery may may be higher or lower on the GAS (Give A ****) scale.

Going Pro / Re: Financials and Investors
« on: March 10, 2012, 03:32:14 PM »
Without knowing many of the details, it sounds like you're probably presenting your information at the wrong level of detail for your investors.

I've got a few BP's I could share with you -- send me a PM with your email address and I can send you a few things.

Going Pro / Bad news...
« on: March 07, 2012, 03:40:40 AM »
Major, I think you're right -- the future life of this tank is probably going to be a mash tun...

Two of the four jacket zones don't hold pressure. Looks like the old adage of "They don't make 'em like they used to" holds, but not in a positive light. It appears the material used for the jacketing is simply steel piping :-\

Any suggestions on where I might find a 7 BBL brew kettle?

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