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‘Tis the Season

As I am sure many people do, I find myself in a reflective mood as the year winds down and we gather with family and friends to celebrate the holidays. 2014 was a year of achievement for Freetail. We finished the completion of our new brewery, began distribution, find ourselves already in 150+ off-premise and 100+ on-premise accounts around San Antonio, and are already having to plan for expansion.

For me though, the proudest achievement is the continued growth and development of our team. For the first time, we actually have people in critical functions who actually know what they are doing, as opposed to me faking it. Instead of handful of folks wearing hundreds of hats at once, we have sharp folks in key positions to help drive our company forward. I’m forever thankful for all the folks who made getting to this point possible, and I’m thankful to have built a team now that will take us to the next level. When we relaunch our website in 2015, we plan to feature profiles of our employees as they are truly the heart and soul of our company, even moreso than our beer.

Short and sweet: thank you all for your continued support and allowing us to have dream jobs. We couldn’t do it with you! Happy Holidays!

-Scott

 

 

Easy Parts & Hard Parts

What a whirlwind.

All of it. The production, the events, the promotion, the sales, the distributor relations, the branding, the media requests, the social interaction. The all of it.

Some of it is easy, most of it is fun. Some of it is hard, a very small portion of it really sucks. None of this is groundbreaking. Thousands of breweries before us, and thousands more after us, all with the same stories to tell. Very few of us were raised with beer in our blood. The vast majority of breweries in the United States are owned and operated by first-generation brewers, all of us learning on the fly.

Wait, not just learning on the fly… writing the textbook on the fly.

I’ve spent the last year serving on the Brewers Association Board of Directors with many of my heroes. The people who wrote the first chapters of the modern brewing industry textbook.  When Freetail opened 6 years ago, I was assured that this textbook was sound and solid, and I’m just as sure today. But what I know now that I didn’t know then… is that all of us who came after aren’t just footnotes tucked back in unfurled pages. No, we are writing the next chapters in the book. Further, our heroes are welcoming of the new additions and are avid readers of our work. They read intently, and not in some perverse schadenfreude sort of way. They are truly curious, and inquisitive, and more than anything else, proud. (And anyone who ever questions the motives of these folks, you’ll have to take my word for it when I tell you that these are folks who twist themselves into knots to represent the smallest of us, even if it isn’t even in their best interest)

There are easy parts… and there are hard parts. Some parts I used to think were easy, are harder now. And a lot of parts I used to think are hard, are a lot easier than I ever. Easiest among those things: never forgetting those who wrote the chapters ahead of us, and fostering those who will write the chapters after.

To pioneers and future innovators a like, cheers!

-Scott

PS: Over the years, I’ve received a countless number of requests of folks starting breweries who just want an hour of time. To pick my brain, to throw their ideas at me, etc. Out of necessity I’ve turned down a lot of these requests, but I’ve always told folks to email me your questions and I will do my best to answer them for you in time. That offer still stands for anyone trying to get into this crazy business, but I now also preface my responses with, “these are just my opinions, and a lot of really successful breweries have started after me who have business models I thought were crazy!”. The point there being, none of us know anything about the future. We may have opinions about what you’re doing, but they are just our opinions, and we can easily be wrong! Don’t be afraid if your chapter in the textbook of the future is of a different form of prose or is in a completely different language. Be the one to prove everyone wrong!

 

La Muerta VII Details and History (So Far)

It’s that time of year again! The weather is changing ever so slowly (highs forecast ONLY in the low 80s this week!), folks are starting to contemplate their holiday plans, and the Spurs get ready to make another run to the title.

This also marks Dia de La Muerta, and the annual repost of the history of La Muerta to go with it!

Before we dig into the history, here is a run-down of the release details this year:

And here are the details you need to know for how the release will work:

  • Bottle counts: 1,200 bottles. Please note, another 1,200 bottles will be hitting distribution the following week, and bottles will be available at the S Presa tasting room when we open to the public on November 7.
  • The bottle share will start on the patio at 7:30am. We request that no one come on the patio until this time, and there should definitely be NO ALCOHOL CONSUMED ON THE PATIO PRIOR TO THE OFFICIAL START OF THE BOTTLE SHARE. This is done for our safety and yours.
  • Dia de La Muerta tap list will be available when we open at 11am. Tap list will be posted on Thursday to this blog, Twitter and Facebook.
  • Upon the start of the bottle-share, numbered and color coded wristbands will be distributed from the outside entrance to the patio. Because of the volume of bottles produced, we do not anticipate a sell-out on the first day, but we cannot predict what the turnout will be. Wristbands will determine the order of purchasing.
  • Sales of bottles will begin at 9:30am and there will be two registers open to conduct transactions. Both registers will accept cash or credit cards, but we will state that cash is always appreciated and helps things move more smoothly.
  • Bottles will be $13.50/each + tax. Depending on the number of people who show up, we reserve the right to limit the number of bottles that can be purchased. If we do institute a limit, the lowest it will be is 4/bottles of each beer per person. Note: prices do not include sales tax, which will be added to your total.
  • At 10:35am we will make a 10 minute announcement and at 10:45am the bottle share will need to come to an end so that we may prepare for open of business at 11am.

If you have any questions, hit me on twitter at @beermonkey or @freetailbrewing

Thanks everyone. This is one of my favorite days for a lot of reasons, the biggest one being the organic way this event has grown up. I thank you from the bottom of my support over the years and I look forward to seeing and hanging out with you Saturday!

Read on for the history of La Muerta and details on this year’s liquid.

***Note, this is essentially a re-post of what I put together for the La Muerta V release in 2012. I’ve merely updated with new data.*** 

The seventh iteration of Dia de La Muerta day looms, and I thought it was a good time to reflect on and share how this all came to be.

When Freetail was still in its planning phases, we knew (like pretty much any brewery that opened since 2004 or so) we wanted to brew an imperial stout. A perfectly healthy admiration for skulls & Dia de los Muertos coupled with half of my DNA rooted in Mexican-American culture led me to a name for our imp-y before we had a recipe: La Muerta. I had grand ideas for a line of similarly named brews. Maybe El Muerto could be a supercharged version, a Double Imperial Stout, if you will. Muertito could be a smaller version, meant for more casual sipping by a winter fire. While these other ideas have not yet (and may never) come to fruition, La Muerta was a concept with legs.

Back then, head brewer Jason Davis and I used to have regular brainstorming sessions. What did we want to brew? What ideas toed the proverbial crazy line? Could we pull all that off or did we need more tanks? How the hell would yeast management work? While not every idea from those early meetings ever came into being (or are even stuck in our memories anywhere), they did go on to help mold the general direction of our brewing and how the brewery needed to be set up to supply such ambitions. It was in one of these meetings that I told Jason about La Muerta.

Jason, the evil brewing genius he is, decided to venture slightly from what we were seeing on the national scene where imp-ys tended to be on the sweeter side, with alcohol content going up but apparent attenuation seemingly going down. Pulling ideas from a previous homebrew test batch, we would leave some sweetness, but focus more on the chocolate characteristics along with another that would be specific to our imperial stout–the addition of rauch malt which now makes up almost 20% of the grain bill. Over the years, my occasional glance at review websites reveals comments like “surprisingly smokey”. Well, I can say that it should no longer come as a surprise to anyone… there’s a whole lot of smoked malt in there!

Here is a brief history of La Muerta, both in pictures and narrative, including slight recipe changes over the years. I’m honored that this beer has become appreciated by so many, but also that Dia de La Muerta has become (in my completely biased opinion) one of the best regular beer events in the state of Texas. All of you, and the epic bottle share you have developed over the years, are responsible for this. The laws here in Texas are a little quirky  so we can’t really have things like Dark Lord Day, but I think Dia de La Muerta is the closest thing we have because of all you guys and gals who wake up early, drive across the state, and come hang out on the patio at 8am waiting to buy some bottles. 2013 Update: This statement is no long really true given the recent changes in beer laws, but the point remains the same. You guys have helped make our bottle releases awesome and until someone tells me otherwise I think Dia de La Muerta is the closest thing to Dark Lord Day in the state. A tip of the hat to my friends at Jester King, who are definitely keeping me on my toes with the great job they are doing. They are forcing (in a good way) me to continually try to up our game. Y’all are awesome! 2014 Update: Another tip of the hat to my friends at Jester King, who in my opinion have taken the bottle release/bottle share to the next level with their innovative beers and beautiful location in the Texas hill country. While I have a huge sense of pride for being one of the first to conduct these events in Texas, I have even more pride in our state’s beer culture for continually executing and supporting these kinds of events. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, Texas is a legit beer state!

La Muerta I. 10.2% ABV 50 IBU, 5.9 barrels produced. Brewed January 2, 2009, released on draft January 26, 2009. Approximately 100 bottles released on February 14, 2009. Most bottles had black wax. Bottles sold out in approximately 6 days. Original recipe was 11.4% rauch malt in grain bill.

Unused label concept for La Muerta, produced by The Mad House.

 

Unused label art concept for La Muerta, produced by The Mad House

 

Hand bottling first batch of La Muerta, circa Feb 2009

Wax dipping the first bottles of La Muerta, circa Feb 2009

La Muerta II. 11.2% ABV 50 IBU, 6.3 barrels produced. Brewed October 1, 2009. Released on draft November 1, 2009. Bottles released November 7, 2009. Some bottles black wax, some bottles gold wax. Approximately 250 bottles sold. Bottles sold out approximately 10pm on November 7. Recipe still unchanged from original.

La Muerta moves to its eventual normal release date of November 1 for draft, first Saturday of November for bottles (what we now call Dia de La Muerta).

Promotional photo for La Muerta

Bourbon Barrel La Muerta. La Muerta II aged in a Four Roses distillery barrel. Released on Draft January 6, 2010. Bottles release February 13, 2010. Red wax. 95 bottles sold, initial limit was 1/customer, “coupon” emailed out via newsletter on January 1, 2010. Sold out within 4 hours.

This was a very successful release that provided a very delicious beer, for some people. Some other people ended up with a sour, infected imperial stout that I personally despised. This constituted the end of bourbon barrel projects (with the exception of occasional 5 gallon bourbon barrels we get for draft only releases). After this, all barrel aging was done for our Wild Ale program. 2014 Update: Now that we’ve moved into our new S Presa brewery, there is a lot of whispers in the rafters about a bourbon barrel program returning. I can neither confirm or deny said rumors.

Terribly Photoshopped “coupon” emailed out. Required to get a bottle.

Bourbon Barrel La Muerta labels. Definitely the best part of this infected sour mess of a beer.

La Muerta III. 10.3% ABV 55 IBU, 10.0 barrels produced. Brewed September 30 and October 1, 2010. Released November 1, 2010 on draft, bottles November 6, 2010. Red wax. Approximately 450 bottles produced. Sold out in approximately 2 hours. Slight bump in the rauch malt to 12%, increase in IBUs to 55.

We significantly upped the production, “double-batching” La Muerta.

Dia de La Muerta 2010 t-shirts.

La Muerta IV. 9.3% ABV 50 IBU, 11.9 barrels produced. Brewed October 5 & 6, 2011. Release November 1, 2011 on draft, bottles November 5. Gold wax White wax [Edited on 10/31/2012]. Approximately 800 bottles produced. Sold out in approximately 1.5 hours. Recipe increases rauch mault to 18%, IBUs back down to 50.

Labels switch from vinyl “logo only” to wrap-around pressure sensitive labels with brew info (and Government Warning).

Promotional photo for La Muerta

La Muerta V. 9.1% ABV 50 IBU, 18.5 barrels produced. Brewed October 3 and 4, 2012. Draft release November 1, 2012. Bottles release November 3, 2012. No wax. 1,476 bottles sold. 1,074 bottles sold on Dia de La Muerta. Final bottle sold out on December 6. 2012 recipe 11.8% rauch malt and 7% oak smoked wheat malt.

Our first ever “triple batch” in order to try to keep up with demand. Also the first time La Muerta was not be bottled by hand and instead on our bottling line acquired at the end of 2011.

Labeling La Muerta V.

La Muerta VI. 9.2% ABV 50 IBU, 20.2 BBL produced. Brewed October 3 & 4, 2013. Draft release: November 1, 2013. Bottle release: November 2, 2013. Blue wax. 1,600 bottles available for sale. 2013 Recipe modifications: 12% rauch malt, 7% oak smoke wheat malt (so, a very minor increase in rauch versus 2012). Sold out our Anniversary Weekend (thanksgiving weekend)

 

Labeling La Muerta VI

La Muerta VII. 8.9% ABV 55 IBU, 33.4 BBL produced. Brewed October 2 & 3, 2014. Draft & Bottle release: November 1, 2014. Blueish/Gray/Metallic wax. 1,200 bottles available for sale at brewpub on 11/1/2014, 100 more cases hitting distribution on 11/4/2014. 50 cases for S Presa Tasting room when it opens on 11/7/2014. 2014 Recipe modifications: IBUs back up to 55. New label art for 2014. In all likelihood, we will do new label art every year going forward.

La Muerta VII (2014)

Where to get it (so far)

Hey everyone, we’ve been getting hammered with calls, emails, tweets, FB messages, Pony Express Messengers, mimes, and ravens asking WHERE DO I GET YOUR BEER?!?

First off, THANK YOU for your early embrace of us. Taking this step from brewpub to distributing brewery wasn’t a small one, and definitely made us a bit nervous. To see everyone sending us pics and asking where they can get our beer is a huge relief and we are so grateful for your willingness to take us in to be part of your beer-life. We couldn’t do any of this without all your support!

Second, I do want to mention that we are only in the San Antonio market for now. Eventually we hope to get to other parts of the state (or even the country) but for right now we are entirely focused on serving our hometown of San Antonio.

So without further ado, here is all the places that had received deliveries of Freetail beer as of yesterday. A lot more deliveries are going out today and next week, so if you don’t see your favorite place on the list, they may still be getting their delivery in. Cheers! [Note: sorry for the weird formatting, I'll try to work on that]

PLACES TO DRINK

FLYING SAUCER, THE                      11255 HUEBNER RD

WORLD OF BEER               22810 HWY 281 N. STE G1

THE LUXURY RESTAURANT            103 E JONES

THE FRIENDLY SPOT        943    S ALAMO

LONDON SUB & PUB                      8425 BANDERA RD

1919                       1420 S ALAMO STE 001

BIG HOPS GROWLER STATION    8313 BROADWAY

DRINK COFFEE & WINE BAR         200    NAVARRO

STELLA                                  1414 S ALAMO SUITE 101

B & D ICE HOUSE              1004 S ALAMO

ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE-STONEOAK           22806 HWY 281 NORTH

HILL COUNTRY BEV. INC.               314-18 E HOUSTON

HYATT REGENCY SAN ANTONIO 123    LOSOYA

FISH CITY GRILL                 18130 US 281 N.

THE ESQUIRE TAVERN                    155    E COMMERCE STREET

BIG HOPS GROWLER STATION    11224 HUEBNER RD STE 204

CLAUDE HOPPERS           19178 BLANCO RD STE. 205

MICHELINO’S                     521    RIVERWALK

THE COVE                           606    W CYPRESS

THE SANDBAR                   200    E GRAYSON #114

SERNA’S BACKYARD                        12023 POTRANCO ROAD

LEFTY’S DRAFT HOUSE                    15179 JUDSON ROAD ST. 101

LA BARRACA PAELLA BAR             1420 S ALAMO ST. STE. 101

BIG HOPS GASTROPUB                  22250 BULVERDE RD ST 106

HABANERO GRILL #3                      12234 NACOGDOCHES STE A

MIX, THE                              2423 N ST MARY’S

WURZBACH ICE HOUSE                 10141 WURZBACH RD

502                         502    EMBASSY OAKS #138

THE POINT PARK AND EATS         24188 BOERNE STAGE RD

FAUST TAVERN                  517 E WOODLAWN AVENUE

MEDIA LUNA BAR & LOUNGE     308    N PRESA

THE COOKHOUSE             720 E MISTLETOE

BITTER END                         903    E BITTERS #313

JOEY’S                                   2417 N. SAINT MARYS ST

JOE BLUE’S                          1420 S. ALAMO STREET

MOSES ROSE’S HIDEOUT               516    E HOUSTON STREET

E.R. BAR & GRILL              8647 WURZBACH ROAD BLD. N

GS1221                                 1221 BROADWAY SUITE 116

TBA                        2801 N SAINT MARYS STREET

 
PLACES TO PICK IT UP AND PLAY THE HOME GAME

SPEC’S WINES & SPIR #100           5219 DEZAVALA ROAD #100

GABRIEL’S LIQUOR & WINE          1309 LOOP 1604 NORTHWEST

TOTAL WINE SPIRITS BEER &       17530 LA CANTERA PKWY 103

H.E.B. #41/#85                  10718 POTRANCO RD.

H.E.B. #31/102                   8503 NW MILITARY

BROADWAY CENTRAL MKT CAFE               4821 BROADWAY

WFM BEVERAGE CORP. BLANCO               18403 BLANCO SPGS

H.E.B. #39/463                   1150 FM 1604 W NORTH SUIT

SPEC’S WINES & SPIR #113           11751 BANDERA ROAD

TOTAL WINE & SPIRITS BEER       125 LOOP 410 NW SUITE 260

H.E.B. #15/555                   910    KITTY HAWK

H.E.B. #45/108                   20935 HWY 281 NORTH

SPEC’S LIQUOR #69        14623 IH 35

H.E.B. #21/444                   3323 SE MILITARY DR

H.E.B. #32/623                   9238 W LOOP 1604 NORTH

H.E.B. #20/398                   2929 THOUSAND OAKS

H.E.B. #23/618                   5910 BABCOCK RD

H.E.B. #411 PLEASANTON             219    W OAKLAWN ROAD

H.E.B. #33/230                   14087 O’CONNOR

H.E.B. #46/658                   23635 WILDERNESS OAK

H.E.B. #35/164                   15000 SAN PEDRO

WHOLE FOOD MKT # 10075         255    E BASSE RD STE 130

PIG LIQUORS                     712    S SAINT MARYS ST

H.E.B. 19/294                      6580 FM RD 78

SIN CITY LIQOURS & MORE          8750 GRISSOM ROAD

BLUESHARKPC.COM                       1638 LOOP 410 NE STE 102

H.E.B. #30/262                    5601 BANDERA ROAD

H.E.B. #566 LEON SPRINGS          24165 IH 10 WEST SUITE300

H.E.B. #37/235                   9255 FM 471 WEST

H.E.B. #17/395                   12777 IH-10 WEST

H.E.B. #34/384                   6030 MONTGOMERY

S. PRESA FOOD MART                    1110 S PRESA

ALAMO DRUGS                 209    ALAMO PLAZA

MOLINAS                            700    N ALAMO STREET

OLD TYMER                        28295 IH 10 WEST

NORTHWEST FOOD MART            2395 N.W. MILITARY HWY

H.E.B. #44 /568                  12018 PERRIN BEITEL

LASSES FOOD MART                       2703 LASSES

H.E.B. #01/372                   1955 NACOGDOCHES

AMIGOS FUEL CENTER                   9977 IH 35 NORTH

ALAMO CITY LIQUOR INC             26108 OVERLOOK PKWY 1116

CANYON GOLF MARKET                26180 CANYON GOLF ROAD

ALAMO CITY LIQOUR                      2943 THOUSAND OAKS

WB LIQUORS & WINE                     3910 MCCULLOUGH STE 102-1

ALAMO FOOD MART                      1900 N ST. MARY’S ST

D. TREN INC.                      2707 NE LOOP 410

M N EXPRESS #1               2734 ROOSEVELT

HONDO SHELL                   1201 19TH STREET

OLMOS MART                   4302 MCCULLOUGH AVE

QUICK STUFF                     8558 HUEBNER RD #101

KWIK PANTRY #5107                       1116 HWY 90 WEST

BIG’S 103                             1000 COUNTRY LANE

NEW QUICK MART                          4058 NACO PERRIN

SHOP-N-SAVE                   1540 PLEASANTON

E Z BUY                                 13550 O’ CONNOR ROAD STE1

PLATINUM FOOD MART               14330 NACOGDOCHES ROAD

LIVE OAK WINE & SPIRITS             12107 TOEPPERWEIN RD.#6

RIVER CENTER DRUG STORE        849    E COMMERCE STE 383

PLEASANTON STOP                          1901 PLEASANTON ROAD

Thanks again for your support, and we will periodically update this list here!

Cheers,

Scott

Go Time.

Trust me, I know. It has felt like an eternity since we started the Freetail2 project. We officially revealed the S Presa location with an event honoring State Senator Leticia Van de Putte and State Rep Mike Villarreal on September 7, 2013 and there was months of legwork before then.

It was a long, stressful, an oftentimes all around disheartening journey, but we brewed our first batch at the new brewery on September 18, 2014. Appropriately, it was a batch of Freetail Original, an ode to the original version of Freetail Ale,  available on draft and in 22oz bombers. That brew on the 18th kicked off an exhausting stretch of brews that worked our team to the bone. 6 straight days of brews followed and we now have batches of Freetail Original, Soul Doubt IPA, Bat Outta Helles, OktoberFiesta, and Witicus being delivered to stores, restaurants and bars tomorrow morning.

Our awesome distributor, Silver Eagle, keeps saying if we can get it on a truck, then can sell it. We’ve taken that to heart and have continued brewing non-stop. If a tank is open, we’re putting wort into it. We’re close to packaging up the second batches of all the aforementioned beers, we’ve loaded up roughly 1,240 gallons worth of base beer into barrels to get our wild ale program started back up, and we’ll be packaging La Muerta next week for it’s annual release on November 1 (more on that later). A huge part of me wants to get a bunch of additional fermentation tanks on order as soon as I wake up tomorrow, but the financial security of our company would probably prefer I wait until we make a few more deliveries. Good things are happening, dreams are coming true, beer is being delivered!

We have a number of tap takeovers happening over the next two weeks to get this puppy launched, so without further ado, here’s what is happening in addition to deliveries to your local grocery and liquor stores:

Tuesday Oct 21: The Friendly Spot, 6pm
Wednesday Oct 22: World of Beer, 7pm
Thursday Oct 23: Flying Saucer, 6pm
Friday Oct 24: The Luxury
Tuesday Oct 28: Whole Foods, 5pm
Thursday Oct 30: Big Hops  Gastropub, 6pm
Friday Oct 31: Big Hops Growler Stations (Huebner & Broadway), 7pm

In addition to these events, we will be hosting samplings at various HEB’s and Total Wine. Stay tuned to our Facebook and Twitter for more events.

We also want you to share with us your sightings of Freetail in the Wild! Post to our Facebook wall or tag us on Twitter or Instagram your pics of where you are finding Freetail with #FreetailLaunch

LA MUERTA 2014

As I mentioned earlier, we have La Muerta 2014 brewed at the new place and ready to go. Our tasting room won’t quite be open yet for a bottle release (more on that later), so… SUPER MEGA BONUS BOTTLE RELEASE at the brewpub! I know, we said the last bottle release was the last one. I’m pretty sure we said the one prior to that would be the last one too. But, we’re going to have another one, and this may not be the last one either!

So anyway, Dia de La Muerta 2014 at the brewpub. Normal bottle release rules apply (I’ll post more details the week of the release, which is like… next week). 1200 bottles at the brewpub. Bottle share encouraged!

The following week, bottles and kegs will go out to the market, but in fairly limited supply. More details later.

THE TASTING ROOM GRAND OPENING

The tasting room at the new brewery on S Presa will open to the public at 4pm on Friday, November 7. San Antonians, you probably know this is First Friday and what that entails. We fully intend on blowing this mofo out! We’ll have 3 food trucks, local artist Bruce Pena will be completing a mural on the front of our building live, and we will start what we are going to try to make a regular First Friday tradition: a limited edition t-shirt will be available. We plan on having a new artist-commissioned t-shirt available every First Friday in limited quantities, so arrive early and get one while you can.

After the opening, we will commence with regular Tasting Room Hours as follows: Thursday 4-9pm, Friday 4-9pm, Saturday 2-9pm.  We will stay open a little later on First Fridays. Every day that the tasting room is open, we will be conducting tours.

So that’s all I have for now. This is an exciting time. When we opened the brewpub in 2008, this was always our goal. My original business plan literally stated that we wanted to build a reputation with a brewpub, change the law, and then build a facility to distribute out of. Today, that dream is realized. Below is the official Press Release announcing this great moment for us.

Lastly, I want to dedicate this occasion to my mother, Margaret, who recently passed away after a long battle with brain cancer. My mother was my biggest advocate and was the first investor in Freetail Brewing Co when it was officially founded in January of 2007. Without her love and support, the brewery wouldn’t be celebrating this moment. This one is for you, mom.

Cheers,

Scott

————-

SILVER EAGLE DISTRIBUTORS TO BEGIN DISTRIBUTION OF FREETAIL BREWING CO. PRODUCTS THIS WEEK

 

(October 20, 2014) San Antonio, TX – Following the announcement last spring that Freetail Brewing Co. had signed a distribution partnership with Silver Eagle Distributors, the nation’s second largest beer distributor, the well-known San Antonio craft brewery has completed construction on its new brewery, located at 2000 S Presa St. in San Antonio. Now with the capacity to increase production of its products, mass distribution into the San Antonio market will begin this Tuesday, October 21, 2014.

The new 30,000 square foot brewery is set up to produce approximately 5,000 barrels or 68,850 cases per year currently, with expansion capabilities that would allow production to increase up to 40,000 barrels or 550,800 cases per year. “What makes this project so special is that it is a culmination of a vision developed well before we opened the original brewpub,” explains Freetail founder and CEO Scott Metzger. “It was in my original business plan to open a successful pub, build a reputation, work on changing the state’s laws in regards to brewpubs selling to wholesalers, and then open a facility that could produce for wholesale. It is particularly special to be taking this next step into mass distribution in San Antonio with Silver Eagle Distributors, a wholesaler that was a key supporter in our efforts to get the law changed.”

The initial roll out into the market will encompass the San Antonio-area only. Four core year-round brands plus a seasonal will be among the brands hitting bars, restaurants, grocery and convenience stores this week. Limited-edition varieties will also be on the schedule starting in November.  Beginning Tuesday, October 21, Bat Outta Helles, Oktoberfiesta (seasonal) and Soul Doubt will all be available on draft and in cans. Freetail Original and Witicus will be available in 22oz bombers and draft.

“We are thrilled to partner with Freetail as the official distributor of its products,” says John L. Nau, president and CEO, Silver Eagle Distributors. The day so many have waited for has

 

finally arrived, and now San Antonians have the option of enjoying Freetail at home or their favorite local bar.”

Freetail’s brewpub, located at the brewery’s original location at 4035 N. Loop 1604 W.   # 105 in San Antonio will remain in operation, serving as a research and development facility that will allow Freetail to experiment with new beers. The brewery will also stock experimental and pub exclusive beers there – some that may never see the outside of the brewpub, and others that just might become the brewery’s next big hit out in the market.

Promotional events to debut Freetail throughout the San Antonio community will be taking place at local bars all week. More information on these events can be found at: www.silvereagle.com/events or www.facebook.com/SABeerExperts.

 

About Freetail Brewing Co.

Freetail Brewing Co. was founded in 2008 on the pursuit of creating exciting, innovative and unique world class beer. We embrace the laid back and fun-loving Texas culture and set out to create products that mirror the lifestyle of our diverse and rapidly growing community. We believe in promoting an increased appreciation of craft products and their responsible enjoyment. For more information visit www.freetailbrewing.com.

 

About Silver Eagle Distributors

Silver Eagle Distributors, L.P. is the nation’s second largest beer distributor. The company employs approximately 1,400 employees that serve 16 counties in Texas through operations in Houston, San Antonio, Conroe, Cypress and Rosenberg. Silver Eagle distributes a broad selection of domestic and import brands, as well as microbrews and craft beers and several non-alcohol beverages and waters. For more information, visit www.silvereagle.com.

Super Mega Awesome Bottle Release Day 2014

It has come down to this. The last release of beers bottled at the original brewpub location. Every beer bottled after Makaria and Endymion will be done at the new production brewery on S Presa, it’s a bitter sweet moment, made slightly less bitter knowing that just because these are the last beers bottled, it won’t be the last bottle release at the pub. We still have to figure out exactly how we’ll make it work, but we’ll still have releases at the pub in the future. The next one will be La Muerta, which we will brew at S Presa but release at S Presa, 1604, and some retailers  in the San Antonio market. We’ll get those details out in October.

Here’s the tap list for this Saturday:

And here are the details you need to know for how the release will work:

  • Bottle counts: 700 of Makaria, 980 of Endymion
  • The bottle share will start on the patio at 7:30am. We request that no one come on the patio until this time, and there should definitely be NO ALCOHOL CONSUMED ON THE PATIO PRIOR TO THE OFFICIAL START OF THE BOTTLE SHARE. This is done for our safety and yours.
  • Doors to the pub open at 6:45 for EPL. You’re more than welcome to come for EPL. HOWEVER, the bottle share must remain on the patio (starting at 7:30am) and no bottle share beer can be brought into the pub. If you want to watch EPL and have a beer, we’ll have a standard tap list available (starting at 7am). Bring your own breakfast for EPL matches.
  • SMABRD tap list will be available when we open at 11am
  • Upon the start of the bottle-share, numbered and color coded wristbands will be distributed from the outside entrance to the patio. Because of the volume of bottles produced, we do not anticipate a sell-out on the first day, but we cannot predict what the turnout will be. Wristbands will determine the order of purchasing. If you are watching EPL inside, you will need to go to the outside patio entrance to get your wristband.
  • Sales of bottles will begin at 9:30am and there will be two registers open to conduct transactions. Both registers will accept cash or credit cards, but we will state that cash is always appreciated and helps things move more smoothly.
  • Bottles will be $12/each. Depending on the number of people who show up, we reserve the right to limit the number of bottles that can be purchased. If we do institute a limit, the lowest it will be is 4/bottles of each beer per person. Note: prices do not include sales tax, which will be added to your total.
  • At 10:35am we will make a 10 minute announcement and at 10:45am the bottle share will need to come to an end so that we may prepare for open of business at 11am.

If you have any questions, hit me on twitter at @beermonkey or @freetailbrewing

See you Saturday!

Scott

 

A Lust for Lambos

So maybe by now you’ve heard that I’ve been acting like an immature child again. You might remember back in April of 2013 I tried to use Kickstarter to get a Delivery Lamborghini for which Kickstarter rightfully said no, although they did it for all the wrong reasons. Instead of citing their rules, which my project was not any more or less in violation of than many other projects, Kickstarter should have simply said “this is our website and we will reject you simply for attempting to make a mockery of it.”

Since then, Kickstarter has loosened their guidelines as to which projects are allowed. In the same amount of time we’ve seen Zack Danger Brown (who I just assume is a brilliant satirist) raise over $50k to make potato salad. (Note: this was previously well over $61k, so somewhere along the lines some money fell out). We’ve also witnessed some lady raise over $24k to basically send her kid to camp, a Seattle man raise $431 for the world’s biggest dick drawing, and a man raise over $700k on a piece of frickin’ plastic that fills water balloons. Notably, we’ve also seen the launch of Stone’s campaign to raise some funds for their European expansion, which is at $465k of their $1 million goal.

A number of folks have surmised that this is all poking fun at Stone (by the way, it is definitely worth noting that Stone co-founder and CEO Greg Koch has pledged $100 to the Lambo campaign – thanks Greg!), which is not the case. I have a number of friends who work at Stone and I have a tremendous amount of respect for them and their brewery. I met and got engaged to my wife at their brewery (5 years later… it would be weird if it happened on the same day). So, this has really nothing to do with Stone (is has much more to do with potato salad and a video game, more on that later).

With 22 days to go in our campaign, we are sitting at slightly under 1% funded. I don’t think we are going to make it. But as you might imagine, this campaign isn’t really about Lambos (but make no mistake… I’d take one in a heartbeat). It’s about the evolution of project financing. Crowd funding is an amazing tools that brings many ideas to life that may not otherwise have the opportunity. It’s especially useful for project in the non-profit, arts and high-tech space. I have no beef with the idea of crowd funding and giving these ideas a place to become reality. My beef is with a system that allows us to fund ideas in exchange for swag instead of equity.

Take a look at Oculus Rift, a Kickstarter-funded game that was recently purchased by Facebook for $2 billion. 9,522 Kickstarter users funded Oculus to the tune of $2,437,429. Let’s assume that the net proceeds of the Kickstarter campaign (the amount they raised less fees and the cost of fulfilling rewards to backers) was 10% of the total start-up equity capital needed for Oculus to reach the phase in its evolution where it could make this sale to Facebook (I have no clue what the real total equity capital was). If this $2,437,429 were raised in exchange for equity, then 9,522 Kickstarter backers would be entitled to $200 million from the Facebook deal, less their pro-rata share of fulfilling any outstanding debt obligations. For the 7 people who contributed $5,000, that would be a payoff of $410,268. Even for someone who only contributed $75, they’d be getting a $6,154.02 payoff!

There is a reason that wealthy venture capitalists are wealthy… it’s because they back projects for a return on their investment, not for t-shirts, bumper stickers and high-fives. Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo have brought the ability to participate in projects at the ground level without bringing the reward of doing so to its backers.  Granted, people are VOLUNTARILY contributing to their projects, and they are pleased with the reward they get, fine. My point is that consumers/backers at this level SHOULD be demanding the same access to returns that wealthy VC’s have. In a larger discussion about income inequality there is a deeper seeded discussion about opportunity inequality, and it is especially stands out in cases like these.

I am aware of at least two sites that are working to bring equity-level backing to crowd-funding deals. This is a good thing, but there is an appropriate level of regulatory oversight that needs to be in place. We don’t want people to be conned into investing their funds into snake-oil schemes – in those cases, a t-shirt and a high-five would be better! However, it is my belief that those people who provide funding for for-profit ventures should be entitled to a return on that funding. We need a way for main-street America to safely make these kinds of investments. And for-profit entrepreneurs should be willing to compensate people taking financial risk!

This was extremely long-winded, but I wanted to provide some background on why I do things like this. This isn’t an issue I should even be involving myself in. A lot of people laugh, but it turns off a lot of people too… and that’s not good for business (which feeds my family and the families of my employees). But it is something I feel strongly about.

Cheers,

Scott

 

Your Long Overdue FT2 Update

Hey everyone, here is your standard opening paragraph where I apologize for not updating on a more regular basis. I won’t bother with an excuse or a promise to do better… I’ll just say that hey… I suck at keeping this up-to-date. The silver lining is that I suck at keeping up-to-date because we are staying busy!

Progress is a little behind schedule as we had some unexpected snags with the water main and fire suppression system, but I think we’ve got those things in order now and are charging forward. I won’t predict a finish line, but my goal is to have us brewing by the end of the month. Light a candle for our little project.

Let’s take a photo tour of what’s happening down there, shall we?

Outside, we  clad the north face of the building in metal. Above is an in progress picture of the cladding. This will provide us with a little more insulation and protection from flying rocks (which has been an issue to date).

Making a lot of beer is serious business and it requires serious power. We are quadrupling the capacity of our municipal power supply, which required a new pole and box from our utilities provider. We also are working on another power project we hope we unveil soon, but it isn’t final so stay tuned for that.

Moving inside, local artist Bruce Pena is nearing completion on one of three murals inside the tasting room. We’ll keep the other two secret until the official opening of the tap room, but here is a sneak peek. The entry way back into the brewery you see here will eventually be glass doors leading back into the brewery.

We got our finished product cooler erected a few weeks ago, in all it’s majestic glory. It may not look too big in this photo, but that’s because this 12,000 Cubic Foot cold room is sitting inside of a 660,000 Cubic Foot building. After packaging, all it’s beer will go to this cold box waiting for our distributor to pick it up and deliver it to your local bar/restaurant/grocery store/sports venue/etc

We also got all our ferementers & bright tanks stood up a few weeks ago. Here is an action shot of the rigging crew sitting up our 16’10″ tall 60 bbl fermenter. No need to be nervous.

Here’s a shot of all the tanks after setting them in place.

A favorite shot of mine that I took from up on the lift looking back at Jason, showing the scale of the tanks.

Meanwhile in Canada, our equipment manufacturer has been sending us pics of the brewhouse as it is being finished up. It will be shipped to us next week where we’ll start installation and hopefully brewing shortly after.

Another brewhouse shot, though there is a vessel missing from this one.

Brewhouse shot showing piping detail from the platform

Brewhouse shot showing knockout heat exchanger and hopback

A final brewhouse shot.

That’s it for now! Follow progress of the new brewery at @Freetail2 on twitter or as always you can get me @beermonkey.

I do want to mention, this blog is inundated with spam so I’m unlikely to see any comments here.

Cheers,

Scott

Ananke Day, RealTail 2014 and more…

ADVANCE WARNING: THIS IS A LONG ONE

It’s that time of the year and the inquiries as to the date of this year’s Ananke Day have started to pop up. So, without further ado, I am here to announce that there will not be an Ananke Day 2014.

You read that right. Nothing happened to the batch, we just never made one. This wasn’t an oversight, but rather a deliberate transition from our existence as a single-location brewpub to a brewery with wholesale distribution (and a brewpub to go with it). Ananke is named for the primeval goddess of necessity but the mythology of the goddess is that she is also the mother of fates and both mortals and gods alike respected and paid homage to her, as only she had control over their destinies.

The destiny for Freetail Brewing Co. is a transition to grander things: a big new brewery, new (and presumably functional and reliable as opposed to the used and abused stuff we’ve gotten by with) equipment, beer for wholesale distribution, an expanded barrel program, and a greater growth potential for our company.

In Ananke’s place, we will have the final two wild ales produced before we move to the new brewery (and I know I’ve said this before… but FOR REAL THIS TIME): Makaria and Endymion. We will release these beers at SuperMegaAwesome Bottle Release Day 2014, to take place in September. The logic behind the timing goes something like this: we’ve developed a specific character in our wild ales that lives by it’s own rules within the oak staves of our barrels. We want to continue to allow this character live and evolve in those same barrels. Very soon after we commence with the first brew at the new brewery, we will brew a base beer for the wild ale program. To ensure the livelihood of the bugs that reside in those barrels, we will empty them at the pub (they’re currently filled with Makaria and Endymion) and then transfer them to South Presa right as the new sour beer is ready to be transferred into barrels. We expect this transfer to occur sometime in July. We’ll then bottle up Makaria and Endymion and then set them aside for conditioning for release in September.

So, about these beers:

In Greek mythology, Endymion was an astronomer who Pliny the Elder (the man, not the beer) credits as the first human to observe the movements of the moon. Endymion was granted eternal sleep as to never age or die. In this same spirit, we created this wild ale, made from our psuedo-Solera process in which a barrel is never completely emptied, but rather topped off with fresh base beer whenever aged beer is extracted (beers previously extracted have been going by the moniker “SoleraTail”). While constantly evolving, the resulting blend is granted its own eternal sleep so that it may live forever.

As for Makaria, I strung you along before explaining what this was for a reason. Think: Black Ananke. We feel this is an appropriate end to the barrel program at the brewpub. Makaria is the daughter of Hades and represents a merciful death as opposed to one of misery and utter destruction. This black ale shares its genesis with Ananke, our sour-mashed witbier left to evolve in its wooden tomb. We brewed this batch on Christmas Eve 2013 for release on Ananke Day 2014, which for reasons previously stated will now be SMABRD ’14.

Thanks for your patience on this. I know you’ll find the wait is worth it!

BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE!

I’m also happy to use this opportunity to announce the return of RealTail after a year hiatus. RealTail 2014 (which marks the 4th occurrence of the event, and the collaboration beer will be the third iteration) will be on Saturday May 17, 2014. We’ll have at least 8 Real Ale beers on tap including special releases from their Mysterium Verum and Brewers’ Cut series. The collaboration beer is affectionately called “Ebony and Ivory” by the respective brew teams, though the name doesn’t find it’s way onto the label. The style: It’s a Black White IPA. I’ll leave you to figure out it out from there.

BUT WAIT THERE IS STILL MORE!!!

I’m also extremely proud to announce a collaboration years in the making with my close friend Dan Wiersema of the Free Beer Movement (FBM). FBM is a grassroots movement of American soccer fans sharing their passion for the game with and educating not-yet-converted, but willing, friends, family and colleagues in exchange for a beer here and there. You probably know we’re big soccer fans at Freetail, so this is one we’ve been super excited about. The beer, “We Are Going to Braz-Ale” is a “Super Patriotic” (and super hopped up) Red Ale just in time to cheer on the boys in Stars and Stripes for the World Cup. This beer will be ready just in time for the first kick-off and we’ll it on draft and in bottles. We’ll also have some awesome T-shirts available as well.

VERY LAST THING I PROMISE…

The last thing is that we’ll have one other beer we bottle up before we move the bottling line to the new brewery. But details will be kept to myself on that one. For now, I’ll just tell you that we’re trying to round up everyone who has ever helped brew at the original location for the very last brew before we commence operations at South Presa. This beer will not only be a celebration of our new place, but of the crumbling of antiquated laws that kept us from distributing until recently. Your only other hint:

I’m gonna make a toast when it falls apart
I’m gonna raise my glass above my heart
Then someone shouts “That’s what they get!”

Cheers,

Scott

Another FT2 Photo Update

Sign visible from I-37/HWY 281 by local artist Bruce Pena

One of many tank deliveries to come

 

Unloading tanks

 

Tanks, lined up and ready for action

New entry stairs and ramps, waiting to be poured

Mountain of kegs, coming soon to your favorite tap handle