United States, Oregon, Brewers discussed on How I Built This
And I guess you could think of like Chili's and they're basically leaves they're like miniature leaves that grow looked like a berry where it's actually It's like a flower Claro. Que Guy in the fast is the bitter. Acids in those aromatic oils are geographic in some cases so a variety that's growing in Oregon may be different Same bright than it. It tastes in Yakima Idaho showing in France or Australia in this country. There wasn't really a aroma signature from the US hop industry Until I said a few other brewers started to focus on a new variety called cascade Which was brought up in Oregon state it was Piney and citrusy in had some real distinct character but it wasn't what the German brokers who worked at big breweries we're used to using and so it really didn't find favor in the US bring industry until Sort of our wave of craft brewers started to punch things up with AROMAS and characters that were way different than what beer had been before. These beer brewed in America. All right so you get this beer down this Pale Ale beer down. And how do you? How do people respond to it when they try it? I mean obviously. I'm sure there are some people who who sort of were sophisticated and were there. People who are not just you know super sophisticated and they tried it and thought it was like. Yeah well really. Most people didn't like it now again. If you're used to drinking an American light lager style and you're hit with a very aromatic -ly hoppy and bitter balance in your beer and and you know just a a reference point in numbers are sort of going to be meeting this but just as a melody number. Today Domestic Lager Beers might be in eight to ten bitterness units And there's there's outliers to that but that's about the range are Pale when it came out and still is Is AT THIRTY EIGHT. Bitterness units and so You know if you quit that. Sort of Chile's. It's you know it's quite a bit more than what people are used to drinking and again we were trying to feature very Aramaic POPs pine and citrus always other nuanced. Roma's at come out hop so when we were producing a beer that was polarizing to sit. At least yeah I mean but it's interesting because Y- we've had founders on the show who say who said In the past you know if the thing you're producing is polarizing might just be might just be on on the right track which obviously you were but I mean this was going to be the the backbone of Your Business and and lots of people most people were saying. Oh this is this is A. I don't know about this. So how did you? How did you start to sell it like what was your first we were I mean? Did you go to bars that you were going to sell it on tap or unit Celta shops? What have you can have people to buy it? Well You know we looked at How are we going to go to market we? We couldn't afford six pack cares. That was sort of out of our budget. So he had individual bottles and we started out in all returnable bottles. That we would charge nichols deposit on so we. We would buy used bar bottles at eighty five cents. A case from a bigger breweries who had surplus bottles are willing to sell us and we would charge a a Nikola bottle so a dollar twenty a case when we sold the bear and we give them a nickle back when we got the empties back and we pretty much loaded our van up. We bought an old van from a A friend of ours Took the seats out. And that was our delivery Van I hired An old high school friend of mine. Steve Harrison. Dvr Our first employee and salesperson He would help bottle during bottle days and he would drive the van around and tried to sell beer. If you go back to that era there wasn't a lot of options for draft beer so if you went into a normal bar and they might have one or two or maybe three taps but it was normal just for one or two taps so we actually did not go into the bar. Trade at all initially. We've at least not on draft. We just said there's not enough money. They're not enough tab right. So we priced ourselves at the highest price without me get by with. We did know market research. We just was the price. Eighty five cents a bottle and that was at that time in one thousand nine hundred eighty one. That was expensive for about that. Was what the you know. The higher priced imports or selling for on the shelf. So we thought well we're GONNA price yourselves and stylistically try to be like a unique import beer and you were just going like. How were you destroying this? I mean he was presumably. He was just you guys right Yeah our man we just drive around and go knock on bars. Restaurants supermarkets wherever and try to convince them to buy a case of twenty four bottles and were most of then dismissive or most of them like interested or what was reception. You got in our hometown. We got at least a quite a few bars and restaurants to take a case so in the hometown since we had been in the press. A couple of times about this little borough putting up We were able to get some placements Once we started leaving Kiko and went to the barrier it was a real slog You know there was no craft knowledge that no Internet. You know there was not a a way for a business. That didn't have money to get much Notoriety we couldn't pay for but We were really fortunate that there were a few writers who were intrigued by the whole startup of this craft beer scene and and started to write stories including in the when like the San Francisco Chronicle or San Francisco Examiner. Actually there was a I think five page color spread on the burri Little Chico Aloun that was just an amazing shot in the arm. We got this huge amount of publicity and we are also very fortunate. There was a beer buyer for one of the large grocery store chains whose daughter was going to Chico state and so he would come up to visit his daughter and he was into beer and so he can buy the brewery and have a beer with us and so he started to run some promotions for us with is really being involved or knowing about it. All of a sudden we'd get a bunch of calls from distributors with You know wanting beer and And then the grateful dead actually They somehow early on got hooked into the beer in so when the dead would travel around We'd have to watch where their concert series where we get all these orders for bureau ahead of them hitting town and how were you able to produce enough beer. I mean you pray if the demand was was starting to lap well some of my business plan called for us to brew hopefully twenty five hundred barrels of beer year I was able to brew twelve ten barrel batches a month so three bruce a week That was sort of far are phase one and we had planned in an expansion to go up to thirty five hundred barrels ear doing some Some more modifications of the facility. So we did that. Pretty quick and our business model was so flawed that We couldn't survive at Thirty. Five hundred barrels of a barrier just was was not enough things cost more and there was always some financial need. We hadn't planned on so we pretty quickly realized we better. We gotTA grow. We figure this out quick and so I went over to Germany I think in eighty two eighty three and I bought a defunct Brewery over there was just a a shutdown brewery. You just bottle their equipment out I bought their whole brewing side so didn't get their packaging equipment but but the house and paid basically scrap value Fifteen thousand dollars to buy all equipment and we more more than that creating it and keeping it back to the US. I I went over with high school buddy and we spent three weeks in Europe Helping dismantle equipment and getting out of the building and and brought another business plan and could not borrow money still so we had this equipment sitting there in a crate But we needed what we thought at. The time was like a million dollars to sort of move into a new facility and to equip with.