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Messages - phunhog

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121
Going Pro / Re: What Am I Missing in This Artcle?
« on: April 17, 2013, 12:55:35 PM »
I agree. That is why I suggested that if you want to open a pico/nano brewery to make your money somewhere else first.  That way the brewery can essentially stay a hobby and not become a "job" since you aren't relying on it for your income.

I've often thought, whilst brewing, that a lot of local, state and federal paperwork would make my hobby so much better.
No doubt to get that there is a lot of paperwork up front. Once you get going though I have heard that it isn't bad at all.

122
Going Pro / Re: What Am I Missing in This Artcle?
« on: April 17, 2013, 10:19:10 AM »
I think breweries better get used to getting a smaller and smaller piece of the market share. Part of the problem is that everyone thinks they are going to make money with a brewery....at least enough to support themselves.  This is where I think we can learn from the wine industry. Many, in fact I would say most, wineries/vineyards are started by people who made their money somewhere else.  I have looking at the plethora of new wineries in my general area and most, if not all, are started by people in their 40's-60's.  Most are only open 3 days a week and have very limited distribution.  I see this as the future of breweries.....not a 15bbl brewery that is trying to get their beer in every store, bar, and restaurant in sight.

I hear what you are saying except they are two entirely different business models. How many people are going out to local pubs and ordering local wines? How long does it take to produce a wine as opposed to a beer? I think there are things in both industries that can be borrowed and/or copied, but at the crux of the issue they are two different business models entirely.

IMO you have a lot of pico breweries who are either going to succeed because they have great beer and great passion to work for pennies or are going to fail because, regardless of the quality of the beer the brewers are going to decide the passion is not worth the loss of freetime and weekends.

I agree. That is why I suggested that if you want to open a pico/nano brewery to make your money somewhere else first.  That way the brewery can essentially stay a hobby and not become a "job" since you aren't relying on it for your income. 

123
Going Pro / Re: What Am I Missing in This Artcle?
« on: April 16, 2013, 09:40:04 AM »
I think breweries better get used to getting a smaller and smaller piece of the market share. Part of the problem is that everyone thinks they are going to make money with a brewery....at least enough to support themselves.  This is where I think we can learn from the wine industry. Many, in fact I would say most, wineries/vineyards are started by people who made their money somewhere else.  I have looking at the plethora of new wineries in my general area and most, if not all, are started by people in their 40's-60's.  Most are only open 3 days a week and have very limited distribution.  I see this as the future of breweries.....not a 15bbl brewery that is trying to get their beer in every store, bar, and restaurant in sight.

124
Going Pro / Re: What Am I Missing in This Artcle?
« on: April 15, 2013, 10:58:15 PM »
That's probably not a typo. All the cool kids are starting severely under-capitalized breweries.

I wonder if all these new "pro" brewers will siphon off business from properly run breweries, ruining not just their own business, but several others as well. Hopefully they'll go under quickly enough that the good breweries who deserve the business can stay afloat.

I don't know if the crappy breweries will necessarily hurt the good breweries. Craft beer is here to stay. It may not grow as fast as it has been but it ain't going away either.  If someone experiences crappy beer at a local brewery I seriously doubt they will swear off beer all together. If anything they will gravitate towards the better breweries and the problem will work itself out.  I do agree that a lot of new breweries are under capitalized.  One just went under in my area. Although I am hesitant to call it a "brewery" since their beers were contract brewed 100 miles away. In the end it just didn't pay the bills to make it worthwhile. Too bad, because even though it was brewed on contract, the beer was pretty good.

125
Going Pro / Re: Homebrew clubs
« on: March 08, 2013, 01:51:57 PM »
Don't probrewers have their own competitions? It sounds kinda like those weird college guys who still hang out at their high school.

I don't know if it is possible but I would love it if some enterprising homebrewer got his beer into the GABF and won!!  With all the nanobreweries popping up I think it is in the realm of possibility..... ;)

126
Going Pro / Re: Homebrew clubs
« on: March 08, 2013, 11:15:28 AM »
In collegiate cycling they let professionals compete. Obviously, they were really fast, and obviously, it really sucked to compete against them if you weren't a professional. So, I don't really think it's appropriate for probrewers to enter homebrew comps at all, regardless of what equipment they use.

I agree.  Don't we always say that it isn't the equipment that makes great beer but rather the brewers' knowledge, skills, and ability.  I am going to make a BIG assumption that if someone is a professional brewer that they already have that going for them.

127
Homebrew Clubs / Re: Homebrew Club Running a Nano-Brewery
« on: March 07, 2013, 02:38:18 PM »
In our case, Rogue bought a 30 gal. MoreBeer sculpture (top of the line) and put it in the basement of their local brewpub.  They also bout a temp controlled conical for the system.  Our people would go in and brew using ingredients supplied by Rogue.  Generally, they were pretty good about getting ingredients that were needed, but sometimes we just had to wing it.  The finished beer was owned and sold by Rogue.  Even the club member who brewed it had to purchase it...no free beer for the club.  They were supposed to have a tap handle available for us all the time, but often their own beer would fill that while ours sat until there was space.  They did no identification kf the beer as being brewed by the club.  Basically, we were just providing free labor.  We recently decided to end our brewing on the system because we just couldn't identify the value to the club.
I am hoping we can convince the brewery where our club meets to do something like this!! I think it would because they are not only a brewery but also a homebrew shop.  It seems like it would be a win/win for the brewery. They get to put a "special" beer on tap for a day or two and get more people into the hobby. 

128
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Souring a Berliner Weisse
« on: March 07, 2013, 07:39:26 AM »
That Zymurgy article also has syrup recipes that I am going to try.  When sour mashing, how do you sanitize the mash tun following the souring?  I would need to use a picnic cooler to hope to maintain temps....but I would hate to have a permanent sour only vessel.

I am going to make my first BW using an old mashtun/picnic cooler to maintain temps.  I wouldn't think it would be a big deal if it did get contaminated. Anything that comes out of that will eventually be boiled for  at least 60 minutes...not to mention that any mash is only going to last 60 minutes. That wouldnt be enough time( I don't think) to pick up any lacto sourness.

129
Homebrew Clubs / Re: Homebrew Club Running a Nano-Brewery
« on: March 05, 2013, 10:35:00 PM »
Thanks you all for the continued input!

Tim Schmidlin - You mentioned the club brewing at a brewery.  Yes, this is what I had in mind. We have a brewery in town that is very homebrewer friendly.  If the club could set up a nano within the brewery as a separate entity, then we could put one or more beers on tap at the brewery and/or a local pub, who also is very supportive of the club. This would be the so called "commercial" face of the club which would allow us to serve and donate beer to charity events, and recruit new members of course. Granted, the beer served at the events would have to be brewed at the nano. Might be a big headache and cost prohibative to do this, but I feel it's worth exploring anyway.

Denny Conn - Your club seemed to have done something similar. I would like to hear more detail about this if you can post about it.

By the way, here's how the California law is written (it's definitely up for interpretation):

Note: I removed a couple of paragraphs that dealt with wine making.

Code 23356.2 states:

No license or permit shall be required for the brewing
of beer for personal or family use, and not for sale, by a person over the age of 21
years. The aggregate amount of beer with respect to any household shall not exceed
(a) 200 gallons per calendar year if there are two or more adults in such household,
or (b) 100 gallons per calendar year if there is only one adult in such household.
Any beer brewed pursuant to this section may be removed from the premises where
brewed for use in competition at organized affairs, exhibitions or competitions, including
homemakers’ contests, tastings, or judgings.

Maybe the best solution would be talk to festival organizers and have them add "Homebrew Competition" to the beer fest title.  Then people attending could vote for their favorite homebrewed beer.  Wouldn't this make it a "Competition at an organized affair"?

Cheers,
Dave
You are absolutely right that it is up for interpretation!! There is a "mobile" brew pub in SF(Brewtruc) that was letting homebrewers pour their beer at various charity beer gardens.  Everyone who attended could vote for their favorite beer and give feedback. Thus meeting, in their eyes, the letter of the law since it was a competition/judging.  I guess CA ABC got wind of it and said that a contest could only have "5-7 judges"!!  Talk about pulling something out of their arse...no where in the law does it stipulate the number of judges permitted in a homebrew competition.
As far a charity event being structured like the NHC...it already exists. The California Homebrewers Assoc. is a legitimate 501(c) charity whose primary purpose, as far as I can tell, is to put on two homebrew festivals a year.  Here's the catch....it is free to members (40 dollar annual dues). Of course the only real benefit to being a "member" is "free" entry to the festival. Technically they sell memberships instead of tickets. In fact they aren't allowed to sell tickets, I mean memberships ;), at the gate. Check it out..http://www.calhomebrewers.org/

130
Events / Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« on: March 05, 2013, 11:27:04 AM »
It is my understanding that the NHC competition is a revenue neutral program for the AHA. In other words.....they don't make any money on it. All proceeds go to pay Janis' salary and other competition related expenses. If the entry fees went up I could see several positive effects. First off the AHA could lower the annual membership dues, thus bringing in more new members. This will increase the presence of the AHA and help in its' lobbying efforts (this should be the number one goal of the AHA IMO).  The additional money raised could also be used to hire some more staff to help run the NHC comp and maybe kickdown some additional money to the judging sites. Sweeten the pot if you will.  It just seems a shame for the AHA to be sitting on a goldmine of potential revenue that could be used to strengthen OUR membership and not take advantage of it. Essentially use the NHC comp as a fundraiser for the AHA!!

131
Events / Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« on: March 03, 2013, 01:34:08 AM »
I dunno - it sounds like, unless I misunderstood, that the real problem is the lack of judges overall. If you drop the BJCP requirement (and the categories), you could have anybody come in who had a reasonable knowledge of beer.

That's EXACTLY the root of the problem here. Not enough volunteers or judges to keep pace with demand.

Software/server issues are a simple fix. Increasing the amount of entries to keep pace with demand is not. (The way I see it, demand will continue to increase no matter the restrictions you put on entries or fees.)

If we all want to enter this thing, we should all help out. Steward, take the BJCP entrance exam, help in some way other than posting your opinions (while sometimes valid and helpful) to the forum. If we can't decrease demand, we need to increase the available supply. That "supply" is controlled by the amount of help a region can receive.

Is it easy, cheap or always a huge amount of fun to go through the BJCP training, exam(s) and judging throughout your region? Absolutely not.

Can you do it? Hell yeah!

Will you meet a lot of awesome people in the process? I've made friends all over the country through the AHA and BJCP - I bet you can too.

As an aside, dropping the BJCP requirement will not improve the quality of anything. I have stacks upon stacks of score sheets from non-BJCP "Experienced Judges" that say things like Aroma: smoke. Flavor: Smoke. Mouthfeel: Good.  These are things I am not looking for when I pay upwards of $12 an entry plus shipping.
Very good points!! I have started down the BJCP path, currently a Provisional Judge and have judged in exactly one comp!!  I think the BJCP is a hangup for a lot of would-be judges.  I am scheduled for my tasting in August....3 hours from my house. The BJCP is only attractive to the hardcore homebrewers who are willing to drive hours just to take a test.....and wait six months for the results.  Most comps attract a wide range of brewers with different levels of committment to the hobby. I look at the guys in my club.....most brew once a month if that and it is a hobby....not a lifestyle. Heck our President and BJCP Certified Judge hasn't brewed in over a year. He just can't find the time between work and family committments.  I am interested in the BJCP because it will help me become a better brewer.  I would like to say that once I pass the tasting exam I will judge all the time but that's not reality. The reality is that I will judge if the comp is within an hour of where I live. So that means 2-3x a year....maybe.

132
Homebrew Clubs / Re: Homebrew Club Running a Nano-Brewery
« on: March 02, 2013, 11:22:26 AM »
That a bummer about you guys being shut out of the event. My club has poured at a very similar festival here in SoCal for the last five years with no problems. Of course we operate more on the "better to beg forgiveness, than ask permission" philosophy.  In fact some of us are slated to pour at a very small charity beer festival next month. On a side note.....I was talking to a co-worker who is very connected politically in CA...his wife is a former high ranking state assemblywoman. I was telling him about this "problem"...Homebrewers not being able to pour beer at charity beer festivals.  He talked to some current state politicians.....he got the impression that it would be a fairly easy fix via legislation. That there would be very little/no real opposition.

133
Events / Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« on: March 01, 2013, 12:25:19 AM »
I know plenty of people with more money than skill, and they wouldn't not balk at throwing a bunch of money at $40 entries if they think it'll help them win some national awards.  Raising the entry fees to an abnormally high price would just encourage wealthier people to throw money at it while pushing out people with less means and quite possibly more skill and/or desire. 

If you want to limit the amount of entries per person, it would make more sense to just limit the number of entries per person rather than making it a question of your disposable income.

I think limiting the number of entries is a good start but I still don't think that will be enough. It's limited to 15 right now and obviously that was still too many. I understand your point about disposable income.  Someone mentioned a few pages back that one of the years Gordon Strong won the Ninkasi he spent one weeks salary on entry fees and shipping.  That sounds completely crazy to me but I don't think he "bought" the contest.   In fact I think by raising the entry fee you are not going to eliminate the hardcore homebrewer just the casual one who enters the NHC on a whim( like me!!).  In fact maybe if they raised the fees the AHA could hire an extra staffer or two to help Janice out.....thus helping all of us out!!

134
Events / Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« on: February 28, 2013, 10:22:20 AM »
+1!!!!   And that is what a higher entry fee will do..people will be sending the beers that they feel are the best of the best.  It will help lower the amount of people "carpet bombing" the competition with every beer they have brewed in the last 6 months.   The brewers who brew beers specifically for the NHC,and have put in many hours refining and brewing will pay the higher entrance fees. The guys just looking for feedback will opt out and find other comps.

I don't agree with this.  This year, I specifically scheduled my brew days for the competition, entered beers that I thought could win ( some have won this year including NHC ).  Even though I paid more than $30 to register my entries this year, if I had to pay $30 to register one, I just wouldn't bother...even if I had won with that beer throughout the year.  I also think the banquet awards ceremony wouldn't be as exciting as it is now, knowing that anyone has a chance to win, not just the ones with the means (i.e. $$)

With the cost to attend NHC every year going up, it just wouldn't be worth it to me.
I have never gone to the NHC and don't plan to unless it is in my backyard. It's just too expensive when you factor in the conference, hotel, and airfare/gas.  I find it funny that people are willing to spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to attend the NHC but balk at raising entry fees by 15-30 dollars per entry.  The net result is that you send 4-5 of your best beers instead of 10 beers. It opens up the field so that more brewers can send in their best beers.  I think you are fooling yourself if you think the winners of the NHC are the best of the best when many, many people were shut out of entering all together.  This year it will be the best of the best of people who were fortunate to get a slot.  Might as well make it a random lottery.....

135
Events / Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« on: February 28, 2013, 09:07:08 AM »
There's no easy answer to any of this, demand clearly swamps supply. We've had good suggestions of caps, earned places, qualifying rounds etc, but what I focus on is who is entering. Anyone can enter, its all inclusive, but we should be setting expectations. I realize this may sound arrogant or elitist, so hear me out. If I you don't honestly think your beer can win BOS, then why enter?.  If you've got some score sheets back from other competitions with a 32 and "great beer" in the comments, well done, but that's not going to cut it in NHC.  Beers submitted to NHC should be labors of love, tweaked recipes that have been rebrewed and improved until they're perfect to their owners

If your beer isn't consistently medalling in AHA competitions / state fairs / MCAB qualifiers, or at least regularly scoring in the upper 30s / 40s, then all you're going to get from NHC is more feedback, and that's not what NHC is about. I've got six beers going into NHC that have medaled multiple times and regularly score hi 30s and 40s. I've been brewing for 7 years but havent entered in the past because I haven't felt my beers were good enough. This year I decided I was ready to step up to the plate. This year I think I'm finally good enough for NHC. I think NHC should be where the best beers in America duke it out. Maybe thats already taken care of with MCAB. Justs my 2 cents.

I apologize to anyone I offend with this; I'm very passionate about brewing, and don't want to see the AHA implode from unsustainable growth.
+1!!!!   And that is what a higher entry fee will do..people will be sending the beers that they feel are the best of the best.  It will help lower the amount of people "carpet bombing" the competition with every beer they have brewed in the last 6 months.   The brewers who brew beers specifically for the NHC,and have put in many hours refining and brewing will pay the higher entrance fees. The guys just looking for feedback will opt out and find other comps. 

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