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Freetail SA Beer Week Events

San Antonio Beer Week draws near and we have a full slate of events scheduled to celebrate and honor the growing craft beer culture in San Antonio. The scene has come a long way since we opened in 2008 as the second operating brewery in SA (tip of the hat here to our good friends at Blue Star Brewing Co.. Joey Villarreal started Blue Star in 1996 and San Antonio beer culture would look vastly different without the foundation he laid).

Without further ado, here is our list of Beer Week Events!

  • Saturday 03/21 – SA Beer Week Kick Off Party. Main Plaza, downtown San Antonio. San Antonio breweries will take over all the taps in Main Plaza and we will hoist a brewers’ toast at 7:15 followed by live music from Cryin’ DT Buffkin and the Bad Breath. Free to attend, you just need to buy the beer. http://www.sanantoniobeerweek.com/2015-events/2015/3/21/san-antonio-beer-week-kick-off-party
  • Monday 03/23 – Texas Beer & Cheese Pairing. Freetail Brewing Co.-1604 Brewpub location. Join us as head brewer Nick Adcock takes you on a journey pairing our beers with 4 artisan cheeses from CKC Farms and Blanco Brazos Valley Cheese. Tickets are $20, limited to 30 seats, for sale now at the brewpub on 1604. http://www.sanantoniobeerweek.com/2015-events/2015/3/23/texas-cheese-freetail-beer-pairing
  • Tuesday 03/24 – Southtown Progressive Beer Dinner. Take a walk through the historic Southtown neighborhood as we embark on a progressive beer dinner with stops at The Friendly Spot, Liberty Bar, Stella Public House and Blue Star Brewing Co. for a course and a beer at each stop. Only 20 seats, tickets are $40 each available only at our S Presa tasting room. http://www.sanantoniobeerweek.com/2015-events/2015/3/24/southtown-progressive-beer-dinner
  • Wednesday 03/25 – Flying Saucer Bourbon Barrel Aged Local Coffee Stout and keep the glass night. The Saucer will be tapping their keg of Bourbon Barrel Aged Local Coffee Stout and we have developed a unique glass that will only be offered at this event starting at 7pm. http://www.sanantoniobeerweek.com/2015-events/2015/3/25/flying-saucer-brewery-night-freetail
  • Thursday 03/26 – Piñata Protest Launch Concert at the Empire Theater. We are launching our collaboration beer with San Antonio’s own Piñata Protest with a free concert at the Empire Theater. Unfortunately, it’s already sold out. Fortunately, you may still be able to win some VIP tickets. Stay tuned to various social media for details. http://www.sanantoniobeerweek.com/2015-events/2015/2/26/59l9iv5q0uldgqnmo78ppx1xg4pea2
  • Friday 03/27 – Big Hops Growler Station (Huebner & Broadway) Bourbon Barrel Aged Local Coffee Stout tapping. Big Hops Huebner and Broadway will be cracking into their keg of Bourbon Barrel Aged Local Coffee Stout starting at 7pm. http://www.sanantoniobeerweek.com/2015-events/2015/3/27/freetail-special-release-tapping
  • Saturday 03/28 – Tower of Sour featuring Wood-Aged Beer Q&A with Jester King Craft Brewery – 3pm at Freetail 1604 Brewpub. The tradition continues as we dedicate one of our tap towers at the brewpub to sour beers. We will be featuring Peche’cus, Endymion, Makaria and the debut of Seiza, beer from the last remaining unblended barrel from our original sour program at the brewpub. We will also have two beers from our friends at Jester King Craft Brewery and maybe a few other surprises. We will also be joined by Jester King Head Brewer Garrett Crowell and Barrel Program Head Adrienne Ballou to engage in a Q&A panel with our Head of Brewing Operations Jason Davis and Head Brewer Nick Adcock to discuss the philosophy, approach and technique of making wood-aged beers. This is a no cost event, other than the cost of the beers you order. http://www.sanantoniobeerweek.com/2015-events/2015/3/27/tower-of-sour
  • Saturday 03/28 – 5 Pint Pub Crawl 2015. A bus crawl featuring stops at 5 San Antonio breweries hosted by Appliance Liquidation Outlet. The crawl visits 5 breweries, treating participants to a pint glass souvenir from each brewery visited, custom wood crate for your pint glasses, lunch, and dinner. http://www.sanantoniobeerweek.com/2015-events/2015/3/28/5-pint-brew-crawl-2015
  • Sunday 03/29 – SA Beer Week Closing Ceremonies. As the capstone event for SABW, the Closing Ceremonies will conclude the week in style. It’s a beer festival-style get together that showcases all of the amazing San Antonio area breweries in one location. This year’s Closing Ceremonies will be hosted at the Pearl Brewery. Follow the link for more details. http://www.sanantoniobeerweek.com/2015-events/2015/2/26/obbquwx17nv5pb6yh81ml3q4e7cq6h

Cheers to San Antonio and Craft Beer!


Growing & Busting at the Seams!

Hey gang, we sent out the press release below this morning and I was really excited to hit send. So much so, that I held myself back over the weekend from leaking spoilers. Bottom line: our plans are coming to fruition. We’re making beer, getting out there and selling it, and we’re expanding our reach. I’ll be back after the Press Release to talk a little bit about some of the thoughts and discussions we’ve had internally throughout this process.

FREETAIL BREWING CO. POSTS 100% GROWTH IN 2014, ANNOUNCES EXPANDED DISTRIBUTION

(February 2, 2015) San Antonio, TX – Following a record year for beer produced, San Antonio’s Freetail Brewing Co. announces it has entered into a distribution agreement with Tri-City Distributors to carry its products in Comal, Guadalupe and Gonzales counties and will expand its existing distribution territory with Silver Eagle Distributors, the nation’s second largest beer distributor, to include Houston and surrounding areas.

After the completion of its new brewing facility just south of downtown San Antonio, Freetail began distribution of its products into the San Antonio market on October 21. Even with just a little over two months in the market, Freetail was able to post a 100% increase in beer production versus 2013 thanks to the increased capacity offered by the new facility. “This is what we worked so hard towards,” said Freetail founder and CEO Scott Metzger. “We are humbled and grateful for the fantastic reception our beers have enjoyed since we began distributing. As a born and raised San Antonian, I’m proud to make a contribution to our city’s growing culinary and artisan beverage scene.”

As it continues to grow its presence in its hometown, Freetail has also set its sights on new markets. To do so, it has partnered with New Braunfels-based Tri-City Distributors to cover Comal, Guadalupe and Gonzales counties, and the brewery will be extending its existing partnership with Silver Eagle Distributors to reach eager Houstonians.

“Our new partnership with Tri-City is exciting as it not only helps us expand our reach in the greater San Antonio metropolitan area, but it gives us greater access to the Texas hill country and the kind of outdoor activities we brew for,” explained Metzger. “The choice to primarily package our beers in environmental friendly, recyclable, aluminum cans comes from our own passion for hiking the hill country, hitting the bike trails, tubing down the river or enjoying a day on the lake.”

The roll-out into Comal, Guadalupe and Gonzales counties should take place in short order with both packaged and draught available this spring.

In reference to its move into the Houston market, the brewery describes it as inventible and obvious. “We’ve always enjoyed a great deal of support from our friends in Houston and I promised that it would be the first major market we moved into after San Antonio. Today, I’m extremely proud to make good on that promise.”

The initial roll-out into Houston will be draught-only this spring, with the full-assortment of packaged beers available in fall 2015. Look for additional details in the coming months on the official launch date in Houston.

 

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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.

About Tri-City Distributors

Tri-City Distributors started out in New Braunfels, TX in 1971. Since then, Tri-City has grown into a major distributor, delivering nearly 2 million cases per year from 20 different suppliers serving Comal, Guadalupe and Gonzales counties. In 2011, the company expanded its beverage portfolio to better serve its customers, adding wine, mixers, water, vitamin drinks and teas to its product mix. Whether you’re a retailer or a brewer, Tri-City offers services that let you focus on running your business and connecting with your customers. For more information, visit www.tricitybud.com.

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So that’s the news. We grew a lot in 2014, we’re expanding our reach in the greater San Antonio area with the extension to Comal, Guadalupe & Gonzales counties, and Houston… you’re finally getting some Freetail.

I’ll be honest, it hasn’t been all puppy dogs and ice cream as there have been some growing pains. We went from a single brewpub location with a brewing staff of two producing a little over 1,000 barrels a year to a packaging brewery with a brewing staff of 7, a support staff of 5, running canning & bottling lines, re-building our wild ale program essentially from scratch, and doubling our annual production from 2013 in just a little over 2 months. As you can imagine, there’s been little time to catch our breath.

Along the way, we had to ask ourselves a bunch of tough questions. Not to make our six-and-a-half year-old brewery sound more grizzled than it is, but the craft beer world has changed a lot since we entered it. The expectations of craft beer drinkers, both from the casual to the experienced, have been heightened (for the better). The biggest question we asked ourselves was whether we were still relevant in the Texas craft beer dynamic. It was a tough one to ask given our history, but the answer was aligned with the same principle of staying true to ourselves and always striving to do better. We aren’t going to chase trends if they aren’t aligned with who we are. We’re going to continue to strive to make quality beers that are accessible (from a pricing perspective). We’re going to have our core “boring” beers, we’re going to have specialty “exciting” beers, because we love “boring” beers as much as we love “exciting” beers. We’re just going to be us.

Lastly, another thank you to all the folks who support us along the way. We make beer, but it’s for nothing if you aren’t out there drinking it. We are continually humbled that you give us a place at your dinner tables, your tubing trips, your gatherings with friends, and your backyard bar-b-ques. We pumped to keep it coming.

On that note, I’ll leave you with a teaser. In addition to our new seasonal can in March, we’ll be rolling out two more year-round cans soon as well. You’ll have to wait for more details there!

Cheers,

Scott


‘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)


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

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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.


Freetail Partners with Silver Eagle Distributors

I’ve told this story a million times, but here it is again. When I started working on building Freetail in 2006, I “borrowed” my business model from Sam Calagione and Dogfish Head: start as a brewpub to build our brand, and eventually move into distribution. One small detail in this business model: a brewpub distributing in Texas was illegal. So, our original included a paragraph that explained how we were going to change the law to remedy this minor inconvenience (as I’ve since joked to Sam, who I have the pleasure of serving with on the Brewers Association Board of Directors, “if some guy from Delaware can do it, how hard can it be?”).

The point of retelling this origin story is to say that despite my model and business plan from the get-go, there were more than a few instances when I was less than confident it would become reality. As you know by now, we did change the laws, and we are building our new “production brewpub” (new term I’ve invented to describe the brewpub designed for wholesale production that we are building).

With all those other parts in play, I’m extremely proud to announce that we have partnered with Silver Eagle Distributors to be the exclusive wholesalers of our products for a multi-county region which includes our home market of San Antonio. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know the Silver Eagle team through our battles at the Capitol, and without their support for statutory reform, brewpubs still wouldn’t be allowed to distribute in Texas.

As I got to know the team at Silver Eagle better, it became clear that they weren’t just the right legislative partner, but they’d also be the right partner for our distribution plans. Their presence, scale, and thirst to grow the craft market aligns greatly with our desire to be San Antonio’s Beer and eventually expand into other markets around Texas. I’m more excited than ever for the prospects of our brand.

See the official press release below.

-Scott

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Freetail Brewing Co. and Silver Eagle Distributors Partner on Distribution Agreement in San Antonio
Date: 3/24/2014
New state laws allow brewpub’s beers to reach the market for the first time

(March 24, 2014) San Antonio, TX – With recent changes to the state’s alcoholic beverage code, Freetail Brewing Co. is able to sell its beer for wholesale distribution for the first time, and it has partnered with the nation’s second largest beer distributor to do so. Silver Eagle Distributors, with operations in Houston, San Antonio and surrounding areas, will be the exclusive wholesaler of Freetail products for a roll-out that will initially include the San Antonio metro area and surrounding counties.“This is a historic moment for our company,” said Freetail founder and CEO Scott Metzger. “We are honored to not only be partnering with one of the country’s premier distributors, but also with an organization that stood beside us in the fight to loosen restrictions on small craft breweries in Texas.”

During the 2013 regular session of the Texas Legislature, SB 515 was passed with overwhelming bi-partisan support. The bill made it legal for brewpubs like Freetail to sell their beer to wholesalers, who in turn can sell to retail license holders such as grocery stores, restaurants, bars and package stores. Such sales were previously outlawed.

“Freetail Brewing Co. has been a favorite of San Antonians since opening its doors in 2008,” says John Nau, president and CEO, Silver Eagle Distributors. “All of us at Silver Eagle are very excited to partner with a business like Freetail that has such a passion for both beer and the local community. We look forward to expanding the brewery’s reach outside of its brewpub so that local residents can also enjoy Freetail in the comfort of their own home or favorite bar.”

In order to meet the market demand for Freetail beer, the company is constructing a 30,000 SF brewery at 2000 S Presa St. in San Antonio. When complete, the facility will have an initial capacity of 6,000 barrels/year, expandable up to 60,000 barrels/year. The company has stated its goal is to be “San Antonio’s beer” and to first expand its presence at home.

“A lot of breweries start out and expand to as many markets as possible. We want to do the opposite by focusing on our hometown and become the first thing people think of when it comes to craft beer in San Antonio,” said Metzger.

Though the San Antonio market will be the primary focus starting out, the company still has eyes on other markets in the future. “Houston, we hear you,” said Metzger, referencing a failed bid to open a Freetail location in Houston in 2011. “While we may not be opening a physical location there, our partnership with Silver Eagle is especially exciting because it gives us the potential to expand to the Houston market when the time is right.”

The initial roll-out, slated for mid-summer, will include draft and 22oz bombers. Cans are projected to be available as early as this fall. The brewery currently has four year-round beers plus a variety of seasonal and limited editions available throughout the year.

About Freetail Brewing Co.
Freetail Brewing Co. is founded 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 visitwww.freetailbrewing.com.


More FT2 pics

A few more pics from FT2 as things progress

Trenches are now fully dug, plumbing being roughed-in

 

Smart contracting: build the office of the guy who pays the bills first


Five Full Years, In The Books

Having closed down for the rest of 2013 about forty-five minutes ago, I thought I’d be fun to dust off the old business plan (which had a five-year projection) and play the “how good of a guesser am I?” game. If nothing else, I thought it might be a good bit of information for start-up brewers out there.

While we ended up making & selling about 18% less beer than I thought we would in our first year, turns out I was a pretty good guesser from years 2-5. I projected within 1% of our output in year two, 1.74% in year 3, 6.75% in year 5 and 4.14% in year 5. Pretty good considering all those projections were made before we even had an idea of what our restaurants floor layout would look like! The bad news: all those percentages I was off? They were all to the negative, meaning we didn’t end up making as much beer as I thought we would. But, we still finished a shade under 1,100 barrels in 2013. Not too shabby for a brewpub in a town that some felt couldn’t support one.

On the revenue side, there was good news. After falling 1.8% short of our revenue projections in year 1, we’ve exceeded them ever since (6.9%, 4.3%, 10.0% & 13.3%, respectively). Hey, more revenue is a good thing (sorry, I’m not going to share our financial details with you)! Unfortunately, our actual profits have been about half of what I projected (hence why I still don’t drive a Lambo) as it turns out running a brewpub costs more than I thought. I will say that counter to some narratives I read, running a brewpub doesn’t mean you’re going to struggle to keep food on your family’s table. You definitely won’t get rich doing it either: there is always something else to spend some money on, including a brand new brewery!

With five full years in the books, my original projections are an out-dated reference (not that they really matter once you open the door for business anyway) and I feel like our little pub on the outskirts has reached adulthood. In 2014, we start the next chapter for Freetail, opening our production facility. It turned out I was pretty good at projecting brewpub numbers, but I’m far less confident in projecting wholesale figures. Thankfully I tend to err on the conservative side, so I’m hoping I’m pleasantly surprised as we blow through our wholesale projections.

Thanks again for everyone who has supported us and we look forward to the adventures to come!


Dia de La Muerta 2013 Release Details

Blue Wax for La Muerta VI (2013)

Wednesday is here and, as promised, so are the details on this year’s Dia de La Muerta.

We will be selling 1,596 bottles/133 cases this year (up from 1,476 bottles/123 cases last year).

Here are details on the event itself:

  • The bottle share will start at 7:30am. We request that no one come on the patio until this time, and there should definitely be NO ALCOHOL CONSUMED PRIOR TO THE OFFICIAL START OF THE BOTTLE SHARE. This is done for our safety and yours.
  • Upon the start of the bottle-share, numbered and color coded wristbands will be distributed. Because of the volume of bottles produced, we do not anticipate a sell-out on the first day. Wristbands will be distributed mostly to determine the order of purchasing.
  • Bottles will be $11/each and there will be no limit on the number of bottles that can be purchased. We also have bombers of Hopothesis G available for sale for $9 and some bottles of Nexus Texas for $6 (this was a beer we produced for the Master Brewers Association of America national conference in Austin). Note: prices do not include sales tax, which will be added to your total.
  • 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.
  • 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.

The tap list for beers available at Dia de La Muerta (Edited 11/01 with Guest Taps):

Updated Tap List for Dia de La Muerta

See you Saturday!

Scott


FT2 Update, Sustainable Business Relationships & Taking the Long View

So I admit it, I say a lot of stuff and then not follow through. I tell my wife I’m going to wash the dishes, or put together our daughter’s “big girl bed” or I claim I’m going to have a frequently updated blog detailing the progress of the new brewery. I don’t think I’m a liar, I just commit to more than I can execute sometimes.

On the last example, I know I’ve slacked a bit on the blog. As I rambled on a bit on Twitter the other day, I really did hope to do a better job of documenting the construction of Freetail2. My goal was to create almost a “how-to” of sorts, but not in the “hey you need x and y and z” sense but more of a “this is the journey of going from a 4700 SF brewpub where the brewery takes up about 800 SF to a 30,000 production brewery that can (theoretically) produces half of our pub’s annual volume in 6 days”. The hope was that this journey would at least give some insight to someone on whatever project they were working on (be it a brewery themselves, or anything else).

The good news is that not a whole lot has happened that you’ve missed out on. We are awaiting demolition permits to do some minor (I use that term lightly, since it’s almost $40,000 worth) of demolition work inside the building. The biggest part being tearing down an old ceiling that was put up and exposing the roof deck and the cool beams up there:

In the meantime, we are also working on finishing our construction drawings, which I’ll share some images of when they are ready. Hopefully (and it is a big hope) we can stay on track to start construction in December. Some of the fun “unexpected” things that have come up – we need to sprinkler the building and the closest water line to tie into is across the street, which means we’ll have to come across the street and bring water in. This is probably at least a $100,000 extra project and one that will definitely cut back on some of the things we had hoped to do. But that’s usually the way brewery projects work.

I also wanted to talk a little more on the business philosophies that drive us at Freetail. We are very big on Sustainable Business Relationships, and we aren’t talking about environmental practices but rather the way we conduct business with outside suppliers, vendors, etc.

There is an obvious motivation for a business to extract the most value out of every single transaction they take part in to maximize the net benefits from such a transaction. When you view isolated transactions, this is a common sense way of doing business. Stepping back and taking a longer view of things, however, this isn’t always the best approach. We always take the approach that we want transactions to be mutually beneficial to both sides (because we want to conduct these transactions again in the future!).

One example: I got a call from our growler supplier yesterday saying they had accidentally overprinted our order by 4 cases. It would be easy for me to say “I will only pay for what I ordered” and I probably could have gotten those four extra cases for free (because they have no use for 4 cases of Freetail growlers other than to ship them to me). However, because we enjoy a long-term relationship with this supplier, I have little interest in pissing them off. Sure, we’ll take the 4 extra cases, just add it to the invoice.

This is an oversimplified example, but it is one that should extend to all business relationships. It is important to take the long view and approach your relationships in wanting to make it mutually beneficial for both sides. If I enjoy the product & service provided by one of my suppliers, I want them to make a profit so they are successful and can continue providing me with this product & service. Negotiating them down to the very last penny doesn’t achieve this.

The same philosophy can be applied to pricing of the products we make. Can we charge you double for the bottles of beer we sell you? Yes. But I want you to pay a price for our beer that you feel good about, and that leaves you money to go try some other beers and come back around to buy more of our beer in the future. On the wholesale level, I’ve seen a  lot of brand new breweries charge prices for their kegs that exceeds the price for a keg of world class beer from established breweries.

I understand that these new guys are hungry to recoup some of their investment, but in my opinion this is a mistake born of taking a short-term view. If I charge you too much for a keg (and try to extract the profit away from the retailer) then all I’m doing is one of a few things: 1) discouraging the retailer from buying my beer again or 2) forcing the retailer to charge even more for my beer to the customer, which may discourage the customer from buying my beer again which trickles down to discouraging the retailer from buying my beer again.

In economics, we always stress the concept that “price matters” and this couldn’t be any truer than in relationships between suppliers. Take the long view, and support your suppliers’  AND customers’ long-run viability.

Until next time,

Scott


The Future of Freetail Bottle Releases (for now)

After  Super Mega Awesome Bottle Release Day, I decided we needed to rethinking bottle releases (again). This time, it isn’t because it was a fiasco or because things didn’t go well… it was because I felt we’d become a little too popular for own good. When I arrived at 7:15am for SMABRD, I was handed a list of 92 people who were already in line to buy bottles. While we are extraordinarily flattered by this, my team and I are all in agreement that we need to tweak things again, especially with releases that involve a small number of bottles.

As is customary for any instance in which I have time to sit in front of a keyboard and expound, I want to reiterate a little bit of our philosophy, which will provide context for why things will be the way they will be.

Philosophical Tenet #1: Beer is the Democratic Beverage

I’ve talked about this tenet to the point of nausea I am sure; but we aim for our beers — all of our beers — to be accessible to all, both in terms of the price at which we offer them and the means by which we make them available. It would be very easy for us to simply increase the price of our special releases and ration limited supply by that means. I have little doubt that we could charge double for some of our beers and still sell out of them in the same time we do now. However, to do so would be to exclude some people from enjoying our beer, and we have no interest in doing so. We charge a price for our special releases that we feel is reflective of our cost to produce them while including a level of profit that is necessary for our business to continue to grow and succeed. We do so with the explicit knowledge that we are leaving money on the table with the goal in mind of building a real, sincere, long-term relationship with our customers.

As such, we’ve gotten to know a lot of them over the years. We consciously resist the temptation to extract the maximum dollars from you for the simple reason that we want you to have enough money to go try some other beers. To take your families out to the park. To hang out with your friends. To go on vacation. And yes, to come back and share another pint with us later.

The other reason we keep our pricing as low as we can is that we want good beer to be a beverage as many people can have access to, financially, as possible. The fact is I’ll never be able to afford to taste the world’s best wines, spirits or foods (or, sadly, be able to drive a Lambo). But insofar as I can think of ZERO reason for this also to be true of the world’s best beers, I’m going to do everything in my power to keep pricing accessible. I don’t begrudge other breweries’ rights to charge higher prices for their product, but I don’t have a compelling reason to charge more for mine.

Philosophical Tenet #2: Trading is Cool, but I Really Don’t Care About Your Trades

Another one I’ve gone overboard explaining. In a nutshell: I think trading is awesome. I simultaneously put traders last on the list of people I care about. I take that back, I put people who illegally resell my beers at a 100% mark-up last… and by a wide margin over traders.

Note, this doesn’t mean I don’t want you to trade our beer. By all means, trade away! I’m actually amazed you can get such awesome beers with our beers, and it is flattering. However, I want to make sure people who want to drink our beer here in San Antonio get it before traders. I think this is a pretty fair policy, if you disagree I’d love to talk about it.

Philosophical Tenet #3: It’s Going to Be Okay

This is a new one, but basically it goes like this. If there is a beer you really want, but you don’t get it… it’s going to be okay. I did spend a fair amount of time in my early 20′s lamenting the fact that that I’d never marry Heidi Klum, but I eventually got over it and… it all turned out okay.

ENOUGH ALREADY JUST TELL US HOW IT’S GOING TO WORK!!!

Okay okay… here is how it will work:

Formal Bottle Releases.

We’ll have 3 formal bottle releases throughout the year: Ananke Day, Super Mega Awesome Bottle Release Day, and Dia de La Muerta. At these bottle releases, we’ll host a bottle share on the patio. These will be the only bottle releases where this is allowed. Some tweaks to the way it’s worked in the past:

  • No one will be allowed on the patio prior to the start of the bottle share, which will occur at 7:30 am. No one will be allowed to consume alcohol while waiting in line to get onto the patio (and, doing so would be in violation of the law, FYI, since it would fall outside of our secured area and public consumption is not legal in San Antonio)
  • As soon as you show up, you’ll get your wrist band, which will be numbered and color coded.
  • Details are still forth-coming on this next part for Dia de La Muerta on 11/2, but we will allow payment and bottle pick-up in advance of opening at 11:00am and will have two registers inside to make payment, which will speed things up considerably. Basically, the bottle process will start earlier, and then you can go back to the bottle share.
  • The bottle share will still end promptly at 10:45 am in preparation for open for business at 11:00 am.

All Other Bottle Releases

All other bottle releases will be done on a semi-silent basis. We will simply put them on the shelf one day. After a few days, we’ll probably send a push notification via our app. After a few days we’ll post on social media.

Some other details on these:

  • We will still reserve the right to limit the number of bottles you can purchase per day
  • We may split releases up. For example, say we are releasing a Jostaberry-Pumpkin Spice Wild Ale (which we wouldn’t do, because that sounds disgusting, but roll with it for a moment). Maybe we put 5 cases out one random Tuesday. A few weeks later we put another 5 cases out, etc.
  • We don’t mind if you immediate tweet out a picture of you in front of the cooler, but doing so of course limits your ability to come back and buy more bottles tomorrow (since they’ll all be gone)

I’m sure I’m forgetting a bunch of details, if I remember them, I’ll edit the post (and highlight what I edited).

I know a lot of this sounds draconian and maybe a little bit fascist… but we’re doing it so that we can ensure a smooth experience going forward. In the end, we love seeing you guys and love seeing you have a good time. As always, don’t be shy about your feedback. I’m not promising that I’ve thought of everything or that this is perfect, and I am open to changes if they will make things better and are consistent with the 3 philosophical tenets above.

Cheers,

Scott


Super Mega Awesome Details Repost

This is a repost of the details for Super Mega Awesome Bottle Release Day, this Saturday 9.21. We just wanted to make sure it was up top for anyone who missed it the first time.

With Super Mega Awesome Bottle Release Day ’13 right around the corner, it’s about time we released the details.

First off, based on taste tests this morning, we’ve determined Peche’cus will NOT be ready. We will release these bottles at a later date to be determined. Just to eliminate any speculation now, we will NOT release these at Dia de La Muerta on November 2. I repeat, they will NOT be release at the La Muerta bottle release.

With that said, here is what we ARE releasing:

  • Salado Kriek – American Wild Ale with Cherries. $12/bottle. 700 bottles available for sale.
  • Woodicus – Barrel aged Witicus. $11/bottle. 200 bottles available for sale.
  • Bandito – Barrel aged Outlaw McCaw. $11/bottle. 200 bottles available for sale.

All bottles will be waxed. There will be a limit of 4/person on Salado Kriek and 2/person on Woodicus and Bandito.

With the growth of the popularity of our bottles releases have come the need to make some adjustments to make them run smoother. We’ve made some changes that we feel will make things easier on everyone, while still maintaining some of the traditions that are part of a Freetail Bottle release.

Here is how the release will work:

  • Pre-event bottle share must end by 10:50am, and all bottles will be picked up discarded by Freetail staff at that time. If you are wanting to save something make sure you’ve taken care of it prior to 10:50am. We will make an announcement as 10:50am approaches, but consider this as official notice.
  • Starting at 8am numbered, color-coded wristbands will be distributed that will represent your place in line. A person must be physically present to get a wrist-band. No one will be allowed to pick up a wrist-band for someone who is not there to have it placed on their wrist (even if they “just ran out to the car”).
  • The last wristband will be distributed at noon (assuming there is still bottles available to be sold). A wristband does NOT guaranty you will get bottles.
  • Bottle sales will begin at 10:30am by color-code and number. We will then call groups to purchase their bottles by Color-group and number. For example, if the first color we distribute is Red, we will call up “Red 1-25″ to buy their bottles first. Then “Red 26-50″, then “Blue 1-25″, etc. (Note: the colors used here are for example purposes only and you will not know color groups until the day of). Important: as groups line-up, they will do so in the number of their wrist-band. We will NOT sell bottles to someone who is coming up out of order, even if you are with someone who is in the right order. (So if your wife has Red 6, but you have Blue 13… she buys in her spot and you buy in yours).
  • Any excess bottles will be sold only after all people with wristbands have had a chance to purchase their allotment.
  • Excess bottles will be sold in the same order as the 1st round of sales (so in the previous example, we’d start over with “Red 1-25″).
  • Limit 2 bottles/person on excess bottles.

I realize some of these rules might seem a little strict, but I feel this is the best way to ensure a fair, orderly process for buying bottles. I know people would love to have more bottles, but my philosophy continues to be that we want to offer our beers, even the most special among them, to the greatest range of people at fair, reasonable prices.

Thank you, and I welcome your comments and of course look forward to seeing you on the 21st!


Honoring Our Friends & Unveiling Freetail2

I’m extremely please to announce and invite you all to an event this Saturday, September 7, as we formally unveil the site of our new facility and honor Representative Mike Villarreal and Senator Leticia Van de Putte, who were both instrumental leaders in finally changing those Texas beer laws.

Here are the details of the event:

Date: Saturday, September 7, 2013
Time: 11am – 12:30pm
Where: 2000 S Presa, San Antonio, TX 78210
What: A short program detailing a brief history of Texas beer laws; awards for Representative Villarreal and Senator Van de Putte; formal unveiling of the new space;  and an open house to check out the new digs, mingle and yes… enjoy some beer.

We hope you will come out and check out the next step in our evolution. Here is a copy of the official press release we sent out today:

 

REPRESENTATIVE MIKE VILLARREAL AND SENATOR LETICIA VAN DE PUTTE TO BE HONORED AT UNVEILING OF NEW FREETAIL SITE AT 2000 SOUTH PRESA

Legislative changes paying immediate dividends throughout state; San Antonio’s most decorated brewery begins multi-million dollar expansion

 

(September 4, 2013) San Antonio, TX – Freetail Brewing Co. will announce the unveiling of its much anticipated new facility, located at 2000 S Presa, at 11:15am on Saturday, September 7.

Along with the unveiling, the Texas Craft Brewers Guild will be honoring Representative Mike Villarreal (District 123) and Senator Leticia Van de Putte (District 26) with special awards commemorating their work in the Texas Legislature. Villarreal and Van de Putte were leading figures in the fight for statutory reform to aid the state’s burgeoning craft beer industry. The Guild estimates the new laws – which for the first time allow Texas breweries to sell directly to consumers and Texas brewpubs to sell into the wholesale market – could create up to $5 billion of new economic activity and 50,000 new jobs over the next decade. The news laws were signed by Governor Perry and went into effect on June 14, 2013.

According to Villarreal, the new laws are working as he envisioned. “Freetail’s expansion is exactly what we had in mind when we wrote this legislation. By replacing outdated laws with smart regulations we’re allowing small business owners to create new jobs. I’ll raise a glass to that.”

To benefit from the new laws, San Antonio’s Freetail Brewing Co. has announced they would be building a new facility with the capacity to allow for wholesale production. “At our original location, we simply don’t have the space,” said Freetail Founder & CEO Scott Metzger, adding “We can hardly keep up with the demand for our beer for customers of our pub. Expanding into another facility was a no-brainer in terms of being able to take advantage of these new laws.”

Van de Putte echoed these statements, stating, “This type of business expansion and job creation is exactly what I had in mind when I called together beer and spirits industry stakeholders back in 2012 to reform our Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code. The craft beer sector was skyrocketing around the nation, yet Texas’ craft brewing industry was restrained by outdated laws. I applaud the Freetail success story and anticipate many more as Texas’  brewpubs finally catch up with pent-up demand for a great product.”

As previously rumored, the new Freetail facility, codenamed “Freetail2” will be located at 2000 S Presa, occupying 30,000 SF on 1.8 acres, costing an estimated $3 million and creating 15 new jobs. Freetail2 will be designed in order to produce up to 10,000 barrels a year, the new statutory limit for brewpubs. The company’s goal, according to Metzger, is rooted in the company’s heritage. “San Antonio is my home town and Freetail is a San Antonio company. We want to be San Antonio’s beer.”

Saturday’s unveiling will begin at 11:15am and include a brief program introducing the space and presenting awards, followed by an open house and samples of Freetail product until 1:00pm. Representative Villarreal and Senator Van de Putte will be available for questions and to meet with constituents during the open house.

 

Freetail Brewing Co. is founded on the pursuit of creating exciting, innovative and unique world class beer and beer-centric cuisine. 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.

 

###

 


Super Mega Awesome Bottle Release Day ’13 Details

With Super Mega Awesome Bottle Release Day ’13 right around the corner, it’s about time we released the details.

First off, based on taste tests this morning, we’ve determined Peche’cus will NOT be ready. We will release these bottles at a later date to be determined. Just to eliminate any speculation now, we will NOT release these at Dia de La Muerta on November 2. I repeat, they will NOT be release at the La Muerta bottle release.

With that said, here is what we ARE releasing:

  • Salado Kriek – American Wild Ale with Cherries. $12/bottle. 700 bottles available for sale.
  • Woodicus – Barrel aged Witicus. $11/bottle. 200 bottles available for sale.
  • Bandito – Barrel aged Outlaw McCaw. $11/bottle. 200 bottles available for sale.

All bottles will be waxed. There will be a limit of 4/person on Salado Kriek and 2/person on Woodicus and Bandito.

With the growth of the popularity of our bottles releases have come the need to make some adjustments to make them run smoother. We’ve made some changes that we feel will make things easier on everyone, while still maintaining some of the traditions that are part of a Freetail Bottle release.

Here is how the release will work:

  • Pre-event bottle share must end by 10:50am, and all bottles will be picked up discarded by Freetail staff at that time. If you are wanting to save something make sure you’ve taken care of it prior to 10:50am. We will make an announcement as 10:50am approaches, but consider this as official notice.
  • Starting at 8am numbered, color-coded wristbands will be distributed that will represent your place in line. A person must be physically present to get a wrist-band. No one will be allowed to pick up a wrist-band for someone who is not there to have it placed on their wrist (even if they “just ran out to the car”).
  • The last wristband will be distributed at noon (assuming there is still bottles available to be sold). A wristband does NOT guaranty you will get bottles.
  • Bottle sales will begin at 10:30am by color-code and number. We will then call groups to purchase their bottles by Color-group and number. For example, if the first color we distribute is Red, we will call up “Red 1-25″ to buy their bottles first. Then “Red 26-50″, then “Blue 1-25″, etc. (Note: the colors used here are for example purposes only and you will not know color groups until the day of). Important: as groups line-up, they will do so in the number of their wrist-band. We will NOT sell bottles to someone who is coming up out of order, even if you are with someone who is in the right order. (So if your wife has Red 6, but you have Blue 13… she buys in her spot and you buy in yours).
  • Any excess bottles will be sold only after all people with wristbands have had a chance to purchase their allotment.
  • Excess bottles will be sold in the same order as the 1st round of sales (so in the previous example, we’d start over with “Red 1-25″).
  • Limit 2 bottles/person on excess bottles.

I realize some of these rules might seem a little strict, but I feel this is the best way to ensure a fair, orderly process for buying bottles. I know people would love to have more bottles, but my philosophy continues to be that we want to offer our beers, even the most special among them, to the greatest range of people at fair, reasonable prices.

Thank you, and I welcome your comments and of course look forward to seeing you on the 21st!


Deets for Ananke Day 2013

Original 12oz Ananke Bottles, Released in 2010

Ananke Day 2013 is just a few days away, so I wanted to take the chance to answer some Frequently Asked Questions and wax poetic on a little Freetail philosophy. I was extremely flattered to see Ananke make it on writer Thomas Berg’s list of 20 Most Coveted Craft Beer Releases in America. To even be listed with those other breweries is amazing. It will be interesting to see what impact, if any, that list plays on the crowd Saturday.

Let’s jump right into it.

Q: HOW MANY BOTTLES WILL BE AVAILABLE?

A: We won’t be bottling Ananke until Friday, so we won’t have a final count until then. We are planning around 700 bottles.

Q: WILL THERE BE A BOTTLE LIMIT?

A: Yes. although you may still be able to buy as much as you want. The limit will be determined by the following mathematical formula:

Limit = b/n

Where:
b = Final # of bottles available
n = number of people waiting to buy bottles at 10:45 before we start selling them

Not everyone buys their limit, keep in mind. Last year we didn’t sell out on day 1. So, you may be able to get as much as you need. Just depends on the crowd.

Q: WHY THE BOTTLE LIMIT?

A: In the hierarchy of folks who will be purchasing bottles of Ananke we put the people who will be drinking it first and foremost. Anytime that someone makes the effort to come visit our brewery, we want to do our absolute best in order to get them what they came for. On a day like this, that thing is bottles of Ananke. While we understand this may create a less-than-ideal situation for traders, we would rather sell fewer bottles to someone who will enjoy them personally than more bottles to someone who is going to trade them away.

This isn’t a knock on the trading community. As a beer lover, I too enjoy trying different beers I don’t have easy access to. As a beer maker, I love the opportunity to get my beer in front of new people. As an economist, I love the market that has emerged between folks wanting to try new beers.  But with that said, the people who came to the brewery to get a bottle come first to me, and when we’ve had sell-outs in the past (especially with lower quantity releases) I have been bummed to see someone miss out on a bottle, then see bottles get shipped off to another part of the country.

I’ll also take the opportunity to say that I recognize the responsibility we share in this situation too, and that’s why we strive to increase bottle numbers when possible. On barrel aged beers, it’s tough because of the physical requirements of barrel aged beers, and that is something we will address with Freetail2 (a new brewery we are working on – more details on that another time). Along those lines, we don’t want to limit bottles to the point where it is not worth the effort of even trying to get any (the 2 bottle limit on Fortuna Roja was right on that fine line last year, and if not for the other 4 beers being released on the same day I’d have not liked to put on a bottle release with such a limited quantity). So, to summarize, we will continue to reasonably limit bottles while doing everything in our power to increase supply to meet demand.

Q: HOW MUCH WILL BOTTLES COST AND WHAT SIZE WILL THEY BE?

A: Ananke will be in our new standard (since we put the bottling line into operation) – 22oz bombers. They will be $11/each plus sales tax.

Q: COULDN’T YOU RAISE THE PRICE?

A: Absolutely. But along the same lines of the bottle limits, we want to make the enjoyment of our beer more of a democratic process, rather than one that creates people who are “in” and people who are “out”. $11 represents what we feel is a fair price given the price structure of our business. I can glance out into the market and quickly get a feel that we could easily charge more for these bottles considering what I see other bottles being sold for, but that isn’t my style. We will continue to price bottles based on what we feel is good for our business and a good value for all of you who support us. You can expect this philosophy from Freetail until I get hit by a bus or lose my mind.

Q: HOW WILL THE SALE GO? HOPEFULLY NOT LIKE THAT DIA DE LA MUERTA 2012 DEBACLE! 

A: If you joined us for Dia de La Muerta 2012, you’ll recall we tried something new – having everyone sit down and order from their waitress. Based on your feedback, I’ve decided this was a terrible idea. We’ll be going back to the old way of doing things. Show up, get a number, and then we’ll line everyone up to pay for bottles then take their receipt to pick them up. Though it takes some time to work through the line, I find this the most effective way at doing it, and it gives me an opportunity to say hey to everyone.

Q: BLAH BLAH BLAH… WHAT ABOUT THE BOTTLESHARE?!?!?!

A: Whoever said there is no such thing as a stupid question never anticipated this one. BOTTLE SHARE IS ON!!! Come, have a good time with new friends and old, and have responsible fun.

See you Saturday!

 


Dia de La Muerta (And General Bottle Release) FAQs

With Dia de La Muerta on Saturday, we’re getting flooded with various questions about the release, so I figured a FAQ was in order. Here is everything you need to know about Dia de La Muerta, a lot of which pertains to bottle releases in general.

Wait, I thought you couldn’t couldn’t bottle your beer?

In Texas, we are prohibited from selling our beer for resale (so we can’t sell to distributors, restaurants, bars, grocery stores, etc.). However, our brewpub license explicitly gives us the right to manufacture, brew, bottle, can, package, and label malt liquor, ale, and beer. We’re happy to take the state up on this right and we’ve been bottling and releasing beers since right after we opened. We’re also one of the few on-premise only brewpubs in the world (maybe the only one?) with a bottling line. Hopefully one day the law will change and we’ll be able to distribute beers that come off of it.

Okay, so what is Dia de La Muerta?

Dia de La Muerta is the annual bottle release for our imperial stout. La Muerta is released on draft every year on November 1, with the bottle release always on the first Saturday of November (this year, November 3, 2012).

How early do I need to show up to get in line?

In years past, La Muerta has sold out quickly and generally required you get here early to get your “ticket” (basically your place in line) and get your allocation of bottles. Last year we sold approximately 750 bottles and essentially were instantly sold out (it took two hours, but everyone was in line when we opened). This year we have upped production to somewhere between 1500-1700 bottles (we’ll find out tomorrow when we bottle), so we don’t anticipate an “instant sell-out”. However, we cannot make any promises, and recommend coming early.

What time to they actually go on sale?

Bottles go on sale when we open at 11am.

What the hell do I do while I’m waiting for bottles to go on sale?

Through the years, a really cool event has evolved for many of our bottle releases. Freetail fans from around the state show up early and have a bottle share while waiting for us to open. Many rare and amazing beers (WARNING: DO NOT DRINK THE GHOST SCORPION PEPPER BEER!!! IT HAS GHOST SCORPION PEPPERS IN IT!!!) are opened at these bottle shares and are attended by a lot of really cool people. You can come, drink epic beers, and mingle with beer-loving friends old and new. We do not organize this event and take no responsibility other than making sure everyone is comfortable and has access to water and restrooms and we monitor to make sure no one over-consumes. This is a fun event and we’d like to keep it that way by making sure it never gets rowdy or out of hand.

Okay, so how much do these bottles cost?

For 2012, bottles will be $10/each.

That’s it, can I buy a pallet load?!?

Well, maybe not a pallet. We reserve the right to place a limit on the number of bottles a person can purchase. Our goal is to make sure everyone who is here when we open has a chance to buy bottles. This year, because of the increased production, we do not anticipate the need to have a bottle limit, but we still reserve that right.

What about on draft? How much does it cost? Will there be anything else on tap?

2012 La Muerta costs $7 for an 11oz pour. In addition to what we have on tap, we’ll also have La Muerta 2011 on tap in addition to a few other surprises (both from us and from our friends around the state of Texas).


For La Muerta V, A Brief History (To Date)

The fifth iteration of 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. Y’all are awesome!

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.

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

Bourbon Barrel La Muerta labels. Maybe the best part of this 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]. 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. 1500-1700 bottles to be produced. 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 will not be bottled by hand, as we’ve had our bottling line operating since January 2012.

Labeling La Muerta V.

I hope you enjoy this brief recap of La Muerta history.

On behalf of myself, Jason and everyone involved in Freetail, thanks again for making this such a cool annual event. I’m looking forward to the next 5, 10, 15, 20 years of this and beyond…

Cheers,

Scott


Is this thing on?

Okay okay, I’ve been slacking… big time. No posts since July? Pathetic. Not to make excuses, but I have been busy with getting a new website up and running (check it out if you haven’t already: www.freetailbrewing.com), starting the long-awaited Online Store, the new beer board, about to unveil an app, insane bottle releases, and then the every day workings of a Texas brewpub.

With that said, I haven’t been slacking on the legislative front, and neither have my colleagues. I’m very happy to report that we’ve been engaged in discussions with legislators, wholesalers, retailers, big brewers and other industry stakeholders to discuss changes to the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Code which would get Freetail beers (and other brewpub beers) into the hands of distributors (and eventually retailers, then eventually you) and get you the ability to buy beer at a brewery.

Brock Wagner (of Saint Arnold of course) and I have been Co-Chairing the Texas Craft Brewers Guild Legislative Committee and have come a long way. There is still a ton of work to do,  and nothing is certain, but I feel better about our chances than ever before. For the first time this issue is being tackled from the perspective of economic development and helping Texas-born businesses flourish. From that angle, there is really no denying that changes must be made to grant Texas craft brewers greater access to market.

The Texas Craft Brewers Guild has released this position paper laying out our legislative agenda. Specifically, we have four goals (all equal in importance):

  • Gain the ability for packaging breweries to sell their products to consumers on the premise of their breweries
  • Gain the ability for brewpubs to sell to the wholesale tier
  • Protect small brewer’s existing rights to self-distribute
  • Achieve these goals while protecting the integrity and viability of the 3-tier system

As I wrote here last November, protecting a viable, independent 3-tier system is vital for the health of the craft brewing industry. Without independent wholesalers, craft beer would never see the light of the shelves or taps we’d be stuck in a world without the wide variety of choices we enjoy today.

I promise I’ll do better updating going forward, but if I’m not updating then it means I’m busy fighting hard for the changes we all want to see!

Cheers!


AleHeads Podcast

Wanna hear me talk about stuff? I didn’t think so. In any event, if you feel like hearing my opinion on Freetail, beer trading, Texas laws, the craft beer industry and dinosaurs, you can listen here:

http://aleheads.com/2012/02/03/the-aleheads-podcast-scott-metzger-freetail-brewing-co/

Cheers.


My vendors are funny.

This arrived today, unsolicited, from one of my merch Vendors. Thanks Brewery Branding!


No Really Though… I Do Not Like Groupon

For whatever reason, the people at Groupon think that repeatedly sending a different person to call/email me will eventually result in me submitting to their corrosive program that hurts small businesses. I’m tired of responding politely, so here was my latest exchange with the rep assigned to me.

And yes, before you point it out, I’m quite aware of how childish I am.

Click photos to enlarge.

To Mitch’s credit, he tried to stoop to my ridiculously low level and respond with a graph of his own:

Unfortunately I have no clue what this graph is trying to say, or if it says anything at all. I won’t bother responding, because I’m out of graphs in which I can convey “no thank you.”


One Last Word on Dinosaurs and Lawyers

I wanted to say one last thing about Dinosaurs and Lawyers, since messages keep pouring in from numerous channels about “The Letter”. I posted this to BeerAdvocate.com, and hopefully helps explain things a bit.

Warning: this response is likely to be far less entertaining than anything else you could possibly be doing.

First of all, I didn’t think the letter would get shared the way it did. I posted it for kicks on my personal twitter where I don’t have that many followers, because I’m not really that important and/or cool. My friends would agree.

I don’t have anything against Steelhead Brewery, the lawyer in question, or our mail woman who delivered the C&D letter. Actually, I don’t really like our mail woman… she refuses to deliver the mail on Mondays and she always sticks packages into a box where the key doesn’t work, delaying the delivery of said package until I can flag her down to open it for me. But I digress…

Unfortunately, I have way more familiarity with Intellectual Property law than I ever cared for. I’ve been on the receiving end of C&Ds (even one from a brewery that to my knowledge STILL has never produced a single beer), none of which I’ve ever fought because I’ve never cared enough to. I’ve also been on the sending end of one C&D for the brand we are most known for, which we issued AFTER a number of conversations with the brewery in question and before they had ever produced a single drop of the potentially infringing beer.

An important characteristic of trademark law is that trademarks are very costly to protect because IP lawyers are really proud of themselves and charge commensurately. I have one of the nation’s best IP firms representing me, but I hope to never write them another check. My IP lawyer (who isn’t the one who advised me to draw the dinosaur, nor was he ever involved in this situation) is a nice guy, but I’m no Rockefeller or even Jay-Z… I need to save my pennies to make more beer. So even if you “win” a lawsuit, it could cost you tens of thousands of dollars. As small businesses, can we even really call this winning? The money I spent on my IP lawyer the one time we got involved in issuing and C&D and negotiating the actual cessation of the use could and should have been spent on something much more productive in the brewery.

A few clarifications, just because I’m anal like that…

1) Freetail has never made a beer called Hopasaurus Rex. We have a page for Hopasaurus Rex on our webpage, but is it meant to describe a process we occasionally used on IPAs (and actually, we’ve used it on non-IPAs too). Most people don’t know much about Hopasaurus Rex because we haven’t done it a lot and even when we have we haven’t always pointed out we’re doing it. Here is the official description for what we formerly called “Hopasaurus Rex”:

“Once thought to be extinct, the Hopasaurus Rex is occasionally sighted on the outskirts of San Antonio, gobbling up IPAs as they make their way to the taps and instead sending forth a transformed version of hop gloriousness. His belly full of whole leaf northwestern hops, this beast’s mark is often described with terms like pine, citrus and grapefruit. The Hopasaurus does not discriminate in his IPA diet, so long as the IBUs quench his thirst.”

What all that mumbo jumbo really says is: Hopasaurus Rex is an inline “hop filter” of sorts. We stick a 5 gallon corny keg of whole leaf hops between the serving tank and the tap, for some extra hop character. So really Sam and Dogfish Head owe us a C&D letter too. Sam, if you are reading this, I will buy you some beers and let you slug me 10 times in the arm for “borrowing” the idea of Randall.

2) I can’t believe this thread has gone on this long without someone making fun of our webpage. That was a gimme. Anyway, we have a new one coming soon. [Shameless plug!]

3) I’m fortunate to have one of the coolest jobs I can think of – running a brewery. Someone previously mentioned this was kind of childish, and I agree. I’m kind of childish & I like to joke around. I’m lucky that being childish isn’t a (complete) detriment to my job, but it frustrates the hell out of our local Brewers News writer because he can’t tell if my updates are serious or not.

4) [Soapbox Alert] I think a lot of our country’s problems could be solved if people (especially elected officials) would sit down over a beer and interact more with one another instead of immediately resorting to legal options. In an ideal world, disputes like this should be handled as follows:

Brewery A: “Hey, you have a beer the same name as our trademarked beer. Can you stop”
Brewery B: “Sure, sorry about that.”
Brewery A: “Cool, can we get this in writing just so we have a paper trail”
Brewery B: “Sure amigo, let’s meet up at the next GABF or CBC and share a beer”

5) As we approach (and maybe have passed by now) 2,000 operating breweries in the United States, these disputes are inevitable. Especially since there is a finite number of lame hop puns to be used. Sometimes I get sad when I don’t think of them first, but I move on.

I was going to keep this list going, but I’m out of stuff to say. Thanks to everyone in this thread for supporting craft beer!

Hugs not drugs & beers instead of tears,

Scott

PS: Texas rules.

I appreciate everyone’s words of support – but I want to stress that “The Letter” was just me having a little fun. Again, I really do have nothing against the other brewery and I hope it continues to get support from visitors and its local community.

Support your local brewery, no matter where it is!

Scott


Of Dinosaurs and Dealing With Lawyers

Okay, so I don’t have a whole lot to say on this topic, but I did want to address it.

Yes, I received a Cease and Desist (C&D) letter from an attorney representing another brewery over the name HOPASAURUS REX. Yes, I responded to that C&D like a child. Yes, I also had a lot of fun in acting like a child. Yes, I did include a drawing of a dinosaur waiving white flags in his little T-Rex arms. Yes, I had a lot of fun doing it.

But I didn’t do it with the intention of “going viral” or getting publicity for my brewery. I did it because that’s the kind of thing I do. I have no ill will towards the other brewery or the lawyer.

At the end of the day, I hope the main message are:

1) A lot can be solved if we just communicate with one another directly instead of always resorting to lawyers as the first option and

2) Please continue to support your local craft brewery, wherever you are!

That is all!

Scott

PS: A lot of you are asking about T-Rex with White Flags t-shirts… hmmmm… maybe. Lemme think about it.