Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The "Wiz" Plans a Visit to Smashville

Next week Nick Wisniewski (Wiz) will be visting Smashville to talk about opportunities with our start up brewery. Being a Chicago native and loving the Bears, Cubs and ugh Blackhawks, I thought Wiz needed to get used to his new duds.

I am photoshop illiterate, so if someone would like to help me out in that area, just email.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Beer in a Box?

I personally think this is a great idea. Check out this article about Tom Hussey and his invention of keeping beer safe in a box.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Chicago Tours

After a very informative start your own brewery class at Seibel, Frank Skwirut and I hit the road to tour a couple of breweries. First we drove down to Normal IL and met Matt Potts the founder, CEO and brewmaster at Distihl. Matt was very gracious and showed us around his place and answered all of our questions. We also ate lunch at his place and the food and beer really kicked butt.

We then drove what seemed like forever back to the city. We showed up at Metropolitan Brewing two hours after we said we would get there, but we were greeted by a jubilant Phelps their trusty Morale Officer. Doug took time out of his brewing to show us around, give us a sample, answer a ton of questions and tell a few stories. Including one about the bull made of kegs above his head. To my pleasant surprise Wiz (pic above) from my Siebel Concise course was there working as an intern.
These guys and gals are making some great beer. Pick some up if you are in the Chicago area.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Equipment Procurement

I'm staying at the same place in Chicago that I did back in November. That is in Lincoln Square off the Brown line. So far, the Siebel class has not disappointed. I was especially impressed with Doug and Tracy Hurst of Metropolitan Brewery. I hope to visit their brewery tomorrow. They are a package brewery doing only lagers.Wednesday we talked to Matt at his place - Half Acre Brewery. They are kicking total butt, projecting 3,500 barrels of in their fist full year of production.So, in planning this trip I found an equipment dealer in town and decided to try to meet with them sometime. I emailed Allied Beverage Company, and this guy named Allan S. Dikty replies and says he'd be glad to meet with me. Originally I planned to extend my trip to meet with him, but that didn't work out, so I just called on Monday and he agreed to meet Tues after class. I think, awesome, I can talk concepts, configurations used vs new equipment, quality of different brands, pricing etc. Well, I Allan was a portly fellow with black hair parted on the side that had a habit of pushing his wire framed glasses several times a minute. We sit at the bar at the Goose Island Brewery and order a beer. I briefly (maybe 2 minutes) told him what we wanted to do and what I thought we might need. This cat then commences to lecture me on the fact that I need to be getting face time with managers of bars and asking them if they would be interested in selling my beer. He went on and on about how this wasn't a beer brewing business, it was a beer selling business and that most breweries failed because the management didn't realize this or were under capitalized. He droned ON and ON with this lecture about how he knew every aspect of brewing and what he thought I needed to do to be successful. All of this was presented in what I thought was a most condescending way. He said he would be happy to get me the spec sheets on some equipment, but I shouldn't be wasting my time on that because I needed to be measuring the market by using my "shoe leather" and I had better get ready for a bunch of rejection, and there was no way I was going to be profitable in less than a 15 bbl brew house, blah, blah, blah.Needless to say, the more this fat bastard talked the hotter I got. The last straw came when he said, "ya, we could sit here and discuss equipment that you would need for step decoction mashing and hopbacks, but that isn't what you need to be thinking about."I had enough. I was thinking this guy must think I am stupid and broke because I am from Nashville and I have a moustache. I let him know that I never mentioned decoction mashing or hopbacks and I thought they were gimmics. I told him he didn't know me and had no business prejudging me and I didn't appreciate his tone or the way he talked to me. I then proceeded to tell him my qualifications in business, how much money I made, how many houses I owned etc. He back tracked and got nice. I finished my beer and thanked him and left. Still fuming. I'm pretty sure I will not be buying any equipment from Allied Beverage Company. It has been more than 24 hours, I haven't gotten those spec sheets that Allan promised. surprise.

Friday, April 9, 2010


Its been a long time coming, but things are starting to happen in my quest to open my own brewery/taphouse. I met with Austin Gray last week. Austin will be designing our logo and working on branding our name. I am leaving this weekend for Chicago where I will be attending Siebel Institute's "opening your own brewery" class led by none other than Ray Daniels. When I return we will continue working on the business plan, meet with a CPA and a realtor to help things move along.