Author Topic: Well, here we go again.  (Read 1144 times)

Offline majorvices

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Re: Well, here we go again.
« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2021, 12:59:07 am »
Holy crap Vice...

You're a braver man than I.

I can understand the desire to "come to the rescue" and be the one that turns everything around. Glad to hear that you're cautiously wading into a scenario like that and not blinded by ego.

Sounds like a bit of a "Roadhouse" situation if you catch my drift. Be nice until it's time not to be nice...

Nope, it's a sweet place with two locations. Just a couple of previous brewers who were incompanent. Nice 20bbl Premier Stainless brewhouse and 30 bbl tanks. There is a 3.5 bll pilot brewhouse that has been shelved for reasons I won't go into.

Right now though, I am having glycol plumbing issues. Which are an utter nightmare. But I'm getting them solved.

Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Well, here we go again.
« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2021, 02:45:48 am »
Holy crap Vice...

You're a braver man than I.

I can understand the desire to "come to the rescue" and be the one that turns everything around. Glad to hear that you're cautiously wading into a scenario like that and not blinded by ego.

Sounds like a bit of a "Roadhouse" situation if you catch my drift. Be nice until it's time not to be nice...

Nope, it's a sweet place with two locations. Just a couple of previous brewers who were incompanent. Nice 20bbl Premier Stainless brewhouse and 30 bbl tanks. There is a 3.5 bll pilot brewhouse that has been shelved for reasons I won't go into.

Right now though, I am having glycol plumbing issues. Which are an utter nightmare. But I'm getting them solved.
Just a question. Why would you have 20BBL brewhouse and 30BBL fermenters? It can act a little bit as an open fermenter but quite unusual set up.

Wishing you a success.
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http://www.lazymonkbrewing.com

Offline majorvices

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Re: Well, here we go again.
« Reply #17 on: September 22, 2021, 11:30:31 am »
Holy crap Vice...

You're a braver man than I.

I can understand the desire to "come to the rescue" and be the one that turns everything around. Glad to hear that you're cautiously wading into a scenario like that and not blinded by ego.

Sounds like a bit of a "Roadhouse" situation if you catch my drift. Be nice until it's time not to be nice...

Nope, it's a sweet place with two locations. Just a couple of previous brewers who were incompanent. Nice 20bbl Premier Stainless brewhouse and 30 bbl tanks. There is a 3.5 bll pilot brewhouse that has been shelved for reasons I won't go into.

Right now though, I am having glycol plumbing issues. Which are an utter nightmare. But I'm getting them solved.
Just a question. Why would you have 20BBL brewhouse and 30BBL fermenters? It can act a little bit as an open fermenter but quite unusual set up.

Wishing you a success.

I knew someone would call that out. ;) It's 20 bbl absolute max (with head space for boil still to still spare). I do 17.2 bbl and double, or 15 bbl double if the batch is higher gravity since the MT is a bit undersized. It's probably sold by Premier as a 15 bbl.

Two 17.2 bbl batches fit neatly in the 30 bbl tanks, but it's nice to have the option to do a full 20 of a 1.050ish beer.

Also, I didn't design the brewery! There are certainly things I would have done different but it's still nicer that a "road house" brewery or something hobbled together. It's a professional grade brewhouse.

There's also an MCI canning line that's not bad, though slower than I'm used to.

It's very local distribution so the pace isn't as frantic as the production brewery atmosphere. There's a cellarman and an assistant brewer, the latter my personal hire and a brewer that has worked for me before.

Right now this thing is touch and go. We are have to catch up from the previous brewer not wanting to produce so it's stressful, but I dig the atmosphere
« Last Edit: September 25, 2021, 03:33:18 pm by majorvices »

Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Well, here we go again.
« Reply #18 on: September 25, 2021, 02:00:14 am »
Sounds good. Wishing you a lot is success.
Na Zdravie

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http://www.lazymonkbrewing.com

Offline majorvices

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Re: Well, here we go again.
« Reply #19 on: September 25, 2021, 03:28:20 pm »
Thanks! It actually feels good to be back in the business again. Been chasing down glycol and solenoid issues but the owner has been very understanding.

Feels weird to be a founder and still part owner of one brewery in town and working for a competing brewery but, hey, that's the way it ended up shaking out.

Offline ttash

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Re: Well, here we go again.
« Reply #20 on: October 09, 2021, 04:08:49 am »
Best of luck on your new endeavor. It takes courage and skill to rescue a brewery. In my experience, you'll know in 6 to 12 months if it's going to work out. And never be afraid to throw in the towel if you don't get cooperation and support from ownership.
Keep us posted. 🍺

Offline majorvices

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Re: Well, here we go again.
« Reply #21 on: October 09, 2021, 11:18:46 am »
Best of luck on your new endeavor. It takes courage and skill to rescue a brewery. In my experience, you'll know in 6 to 12 months if it's going to work out. And never be afraid to throw in the towel if you don't get cooperation and support from ownership.
Keep us posted. 🍺

Thanks man. So far it has been a struggle. The previous brewer really, really made a mess of the place. This guy aded a junction in the glycol loop but used pipe dope instead of glue to weld the junctions.Not sure how anyone does that... so stupid. Had three of them blow over the course of three weeks. It was impossible to know without replacing the entire loop that they weren't glued. The plumber told when the second one blew he was going to have to replace the whole thing if it blew again ... and then it blew again at the third link in the junction. I convinced him that it was only not glued at that particular junction and he fixed it and it has held since -- after we wasted $1000 worth of glycol.

Then, the pipe dope floating around in the system fouled the solenoids so had to take each of those apart and clean. Didn't find this out until I had filled three tanks and the glycol was just bypassing the solenoids crashing everything. It was a nightmare but I finally managed to get two beers out of the tanks, into packaged and shipped. So finally, after months of bad leadership and incompetence, revenue coming in.

Unfortunately the previous brewer ignored the core brands and loaded the disrto up with his beers. These beers aren't selling so the distro has beer just sitting in the warehouse but had run out of the core brands until last week. Slots on the grocery store shelves have gone dry and taps at bars and restaurants have dried up. So we most likely lost shelf space and taps. There's no sales rep so guess I'll be hitting the streets to sell beer. Also working hard to reassure the distributor that things are different now and production is back on pace.

On top of all this there is a beautiful tap house in downtown Huntsville but no one was cleaning the tap lines. That was the very first thing I did and the lines were disgusting. Looked like jellyfish coming out of there. Absolutely horrifying. So that place is hemorrhaging money and mostly dead. Working on ways to fix that but it is going to take time to convince anyone to come back in there.

I told the owner it was going to take me 4 months to get the beer fixed and so far he is doing most of the right things. But there is outstanding debt that is going to be challenging to fix without a loan and so far there has been no loan. He is covering pay roll every two weeks, at least, so that helps a lot.

So we shall see! We are putting a restaurant in the down town location that will be run by experienced restaurant people so that should help hit the reset button down there. 
« Last Edit: October 09, 2021, 11:24:31 am by majorvices »

Offline tommymorris

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Re: Well, here we go again.
« Reply #22 on: October 09, 2021, 11:22:29 am »
Best of luck on your new endeavor. It takes courage and skill to rescue a brewery. In my experience, you'll know in 6 to 12 months if it's going to work out. And never be afraid to throw in the towel if you don't get cooperation and support from ownership.
Keep us posted.

Thanks man. So far it has been a struggle. The previous brewer really, really made a mess of the place. This guy aded a junction in the glycol loop butted pipe dope instead of glue to weld the junctions. Had three of them blow over the course of three weeks. It was is possible to know without replacing the entire loop. The plumber told me on the second one he was going to have to replace the whole thing if it blew again and it blew again. I convinced him that it was only at the one junction and he fixed it and it has held since -- after we wasted $1000 worth of glycol.

Then, the pipe dope floating around in the system fouled the solenoids so had to take each of those apart and clean. Didn't;t find this out until I had filled three tanks and the glycol was just bypassing the solenoids crashing everything.It was a night mare but I finally managed to get two beers out of the tanks, into packaged and shipped. So finally, after 3 months, revenue coming in.

Unfortunately the previous brewer ignored the core brands (there's only really 2 core brands the brewery ships to the distributor) and loaded the disrto up with his beers. This beers aren't selling so the distro has beer just sitting in the warehouse while none of the core brands until last week. Slots on the grocery store shelves have gone dry and taps at bars and restaurants have dried up. So we most likely lost shelf space and taps. There's no sales rep so guess I'll be hitting the streets to sell beer. Also working hard to reassure the distributor.

On top of all this there is a beautiful tap house in dawn town Huntsville but no one was cleaning the lines. That was the very first thing I did and the lines were disgusting. Looked like jellyfish coming out of there. Absolutely horrifying. So that place is hemorrhaging money and mostly dead. Working on ways to fix that but it is going to take time to convince anyone to come back in there.

I told the owner it was going to take me 4 months to get the beer fixed and so far he is doing most of the right thing. But there is outstanding debt that is going to be challenging to fix without a loan and so far there has been no loan. He is covering pay roll every two weeks.

So we shall see! We are putting a restaurant in the down town location that will be run by experienced restaurant people so that should help hit the reset button down there.
Oh my!

Offline majorvices

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Re: Well, here we go again.
« Reply #23 on: October 09, 2021, 11:25:53 am »
Oh Tommy, it's even worse than that. That only touches on the highlights. This is like the trailer for Dune. The real problems are like the first three books.  :P

Offline BrewBama

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Well, here we go again.
« Reply #24 on: October 09, 2021, 01:08:21 pm »
Alert the beer nerds: send up the bat signal!  new head brewer

I get a Free the Hops newsletter that tells me what is happening at the beer venues around. I rarely see HSV breweries listed and when I do it’s usually Mad Malt with some unknown garage band or STA drag queen night. Cahaba is always in there with stuff happening most nights. Announce the new direction and get some sort of promotion night at the Tap House. Trivia night, ladies night, a (good) band, costume party, hot fresh peanuts, or something.  The first one ought to be “Come meet the new head brewer” — and talk about your brewing philosophy and about the renewed focus on fresh clean honest beer with the customers.

Emphasize the fresh beers on clean taps and specialty ingredient.  Post a “Taps cleaned on X day” sign over the bar. When the waitress or bartenders talk about the beers ensure they know when it was brewed and tell the story — put the date each beer was brewed on the menu. Customer; “I’d like a X” Bartender points to the menu; “Awesome choice.  That beer was brewed on X and cold lagered for X. The recipe includes X specialty ingredient. It has a crisp clean taste. It’s one of my favorites since the brewery hired a new head brewer with his refocus on fresh ingredients. I think you’re gonna like it.”  Customer back in a few for a refill, Bartender asks; “What did you think of that X?”  Want another?  Hey, you might like this Y beer. It was brewed Y and is a favorite of the new head brewer. He uses Y specialty ingredient in it.”

Next thing you know this guy is posting on the brewery Facebook page about the awesome knowledgeable staff, the fresh beers, and happening event where he met the new head brewer. Have a link to the posts scrolling across the menu monitor in the tap house to spur on more people to post.

Invite the food folks at the paper and TV stations to come in and see the venue and write about the renewed focus the new head brewer has on the basics of good honest beer served in a clean well respected historic place.  Get them to post a story on their websites.

I know you know all this. You need a sales guy to coach the staff and promote the place.

We’re pulling for you!



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« Last Edit: October 09, 2021, 01:18:01 pm by BrewBama »
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Well, here we go again.
« Reply #25 on: October 09, 2021, 01:32:49 pm »
Thanks Dwayne!Excellent suggestion every single one. None of my beers are even so yet so I am holding off any major promotions of my beer until they are. Not all the beers on draft are bad, some actually really good. I've had to pull some nasty ones off but now that the lines are clean the beers taste good again. Just have to convince people. They have a Trivia night at the down town location that does well. The bands were actually becoming  problem because it cost more to get the bands in then they were making off tap sales. We are going to hit the reset button on the Down Town location after the first of the year. I'm goin to get a beer engine and do some proper firkins and have some good European style beer on tap along with some IPAs and do a "meet the brewer" night. I'm looking forward to seeing you and Tommy there.  ;D

Offline Big_Eight

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Re: Well, here we go again.
« Reply #26 on: October 09, 2021, 03:14:48 pm »
Oh man, a beer engine and firkin. Hell yeah!

Offline ScallyWag

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Re: Well, here we go again.
« Reply #27 on: October 09, 2021, 06:14:48 pm »
Wow.  These last dozen or so posts have been a fascinating insight into the world of commercial brewing.  As a homebrewer who has fantasized about dipping my toes into the commercial side, this is enlightening (and frightening) to read. 

There are a few local commercial craft brewers that I chat with occasionally re: recipes and such, but this is just humbling, reinforcing how much I don't know about the industry.

Best of luck [/skill!] to you in making this work out successfully.  I'm rooting for you.

Offline denny

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Re: Well, here we go again.
« Reply #28 on: October 09, 2021, 07:42:21 pm »
The more I learned, the less I wanted to be a commercial brewer.
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Offline BrewBama

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Re: Well, here we go again.
« Reply #29 on: October 09, 2021, 07:55:14 pm »
Oh man, a beer engine and firkin. Hell yeah!
+1. Firkin Fridays!
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