Archives For Mathew Sweezey

charlie p
Charlie Papazian is the grandfather and ring master of the craft beer industry. It’s under his direction, promotion, and experience craft beer has grown from 44 breweries in 1979 to over 3,400 today. His love for craft beer led to the founding of the American Home Brewers Association, The Brewers Association of America, Institute for Brewing StudiesBrewers Publications, the Great American Beer Festival, the World Beer Cup, and Zymurgy magazine. The movement he started has now reached what many believe to be a tipping point, or a point where it seems we have reached the end of our beginning.

A few basics ideas suggest we have reached such a point in time, the most imperative of which is the sheer size of the market. The market has reached an annual growth rate of 18% in 2014, which accounted for almost 1/5 of all beer sales by dollar amount. With a market this hot and rapidly expanding, we have to ask the question: “can the growth be sustained?” It seems the basic answer to this is yes. The market seems capable of sustaining many more years for growth due to the changed consumer demographics of our country. We’ve moved from a mass society to a craft society and not just with beer. In all things, look at the rise of Etsy, Pinterest, the DIY network, and urban farming. Many of these cultural factors, which align with craft consumption, spawned off of the environmental movement of the 1970’s and were revitalized with the “Global Warming” debate. With the momentum environmental support has, craft seems to be the new path forward and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. This is a major difference from the days when craft brewers had to fight for a single tap, convince people to drink better beer, and do it all on their own dime. We look to be entering a new era of craft brewing.

The idea of fast growth makes craft brewing an attractive market place from an economical stand point. This means it is an attractive investment opportunity for many people. Many of those people may not be beer fans, lovers, or brewers, but financiers and private investors looking for a high growth low risk opportunity. The attractive marketplace is allowing small breweries to start up with millions of dollars in capital without ever having produced a single drop of beer. These large treasure chests are providing them the ability to rely heavily on marketing to promote their brand and product. This is a stark contrast to the early days of craft brewing when brewery founders (like Sam Calagione at Dogfish Head, for example) had to mortgage their own houses, max out credit cards, and take small loans from any available source to fund their operations. This influx of money has brought more competition into the market, which has caused ripples in our perfect pond and are a sign that change is coming.

The first ripple is internal. With 3,400 breweries we are beginning to see the floor get crowded. Take beer names for example. Alastar Bland, in his article for National Public Radio, found numerous examples of breweries litigating over beer names, font types, and tap handle styling. To some, these are just numbers, but to the crowded beer market these are brands which must be protected to help stave off new competition. Jason Notte, in his article for MarketWatch, suggests the brewers association needs to step up to help fix this issue by compiling a database of all copyrighted content. This ripple is troubling to our industry, because when there is public unrest between breweries we begin to lose the cohesive, familial environment which has fostered in current era of craft brewing. Craft beer was founded on the premise that better beer could and should be made available to the people of the world, and for many years craft brewing held an all for one mentality against the establishment. Now, some of the larger breweries are becoming the thing they fought for so long, and it is causing strife.

The second ripple comes from the coagulation of smaller parts into larger ones. As breweries began they were on their own, fighting the good fight. As time has progressed we have began to see Mega Craft houses open up shop. These are large, publicly traded craft consortiums such as the Craft Brewers Alliance, and private ones such as Take Tenth and Blake, which is the MillerCoors consortium of breweries. There, also, is a brand new one called “Enjoy Beer” which was founded by Harpoon and Abita. This will allow the south’s oldest brewery to gain national reach, and make a move to become a Macro Craft brand. This move to become “Macro Craft” is a new play for our market, and one which nobody really knows the end result. Enjoy Beer says they, potentially, will launch an IPO by 2020, and, realistically, a buyout of this size is easy for a player the size of AB/InBev or any of the other majors to take on without blinking. So, what happens to craft when craft is no longer owned by innovative craftsmen, and is, instead, replaced by a bottom line focused bureaucratic collective? This is something we haven’t had to see much of in the previous years, but it is something we will have to face head on in our new era.

The third ripple is that even the smallest breweries are now acting like the biggest because they can afford it. When we first began Eventide I reached out to Adam Avery, of Avery brewing, to get his thoughts on marketing. He said, “Never give anything away, it cheapens the market and your product”. We’ve tried to stick to this, but it is very hard when everyone around you is handing out swag left and right. It seems at every beer festival it’s easy to go home with a full ensemble of free gear from vendors. There is no way we can afford to do this, but now people look at us as if we are cheap because we don’t give stuff away. It’s another signal when small breweries begin to mimic the marketing practices of the very businesses ti which they are opposed.

This fast growth is great, but it doesn’t have a check to the balance. This is the scary part of our new era. “Over the last couple of years, the number of new brewery openings has been at near unprecedented levels,” said Bart Watson, Ph.D., staff economist at Brewers Association, a craft beer industry group. “We’re seeing breweries open at about a rate of 1.2 per day.” Do the business math on this, and you’ll see the normal failure rate according to Bloomberg is 80% in 18 months. This means that we should have seen 350 breweries close their doors in 2014, yet we only saw the closure of 46. That is not a normal closure rate, and in an industry with such high capital costs this is way outside of normal. It seems the fast growth of the industry is able to support businesses which should fail under normal conditions, and to continue growth new and existing breweries should be mindful of this moving forward.

It seems our era began in a time and place where unbounded creativity, good times, and optimism were the spark which gave rise to the notion of crafting, yet it was the market’s appetite for craft which sustained the passion. Now, with the market in its fastest growth period, it is opening up a new era of business for us. No longer are all breweries best friends, but, rather, business competitors. No longer are we starving artists, but highly leveraged investments. No longer is this a playground for free spirits and good intentions, but a growing field for MBA’s and investment opportunities. Starting a successful brewery is not easy, and while it can be fun it also takes a great deal of work and devotion. It is a true craft, and it should remain as such without the entanglements which have hindered other craft focused pursuits in the past. Time will tell.

Here is a map of where you are likely to find our beers. Remember this is not a guarantee they will be there when you show up. Due to the high demand for our beers, they may or may not still be on tap when you arrive. If you are planning to travel for our beer please call ahead to ensure it is on tap. We’d hate to have you show up, only to find the guy at the other table drank the last of our beer!

We made over 2,000 kegs of beer in 2014, and had only one full time employee! That being the case we don’t have a lot of time to devote to endeavors outside of daily operations. Things like entering beer competition, for example. We haven’t had time to enter a single beer competition this past year,  and you can’t win if you don’t enter. However, we have received something of an award from the guys at Paste Magazine, which makes us very happy.

Paste Magazine

In Paste magazine’s latest “Craft Beer Guide” we are listed as one of just 3 stand out beers to try in Atlanta. We couldn’t be more thrilled to receive this honor, and we’re hoping it’s the first of many more to come. We love the Dry Irish Nitro Stout, and can’t wait for more people to try it. The issue with that has been it’s limited availability due to the fact it is dispensed on a Nitro faucet. You can find it at a few Atlanta mainstays, and will always find it in our tasting room. It’s one of our favorites, and, if you’re lucky enough to find a place pouring black and tans, we suggest trying it with our Pale Ale.

We would like say thank you to all of GA for your support. We’re so happy to be a local brewery, and glad to represent Atlanta as one of the three beers you must try.

Cheers!

Cellar Series
As we have grown  as a brewing operation over the past year, our list of beers has continued to expand with us. We released 6 beers in 2014, and have already released 2 new beers this year! Among those offerings are some higher gravity beers such as our Strong Scotch Ale (Highlander) and our Belgian Dark Strong Ale (Snowpocalypse). We are releasing our next high gravity beer into the market this week, which will be a Belgian Golden Ale called “Revivale”. The best part about all of these bigger styles is they can be aged in our cellar, and that is exactly what we plan to do.

We have held back a set number of each of our bigger beers and they are currently cellaring at the brewery. They will be released one at a time to allow you to see the progression of the beer as it ages. This will be a special part of our tasting room which is planned to open in April. Here’s a great video on our tasting room, and a link to our Kickstarter campaign supporting it. 

The cellared ales will change in flavor, complexity, and finish as they age. We have already tried our hand cellaring a few beers and the results have been amazing. Our strong scotch ale was allowed to cellar for up to three years, at which time it poured out with a rich smoothness and light carbonation. The color was a deep amber, and the beer had a silky, smooth mouth feel with tasty notes of malty sweetness, nuttiness, and a hint of fruit. It was truly a pleasure to drink, and something that we all hope to sample again soon. It’s easily one of the best scotch ales we’ve ever had (unbiased, we swear) and it has showed no signs of deterioration as it has aged.

The plan for the tasting room is to release a style once, every so often and allow you to keep up with them in your tasting journal. Then you can go back and see how the beer has changed in flavor and complexity over time. This is a unique experience which we want to be able to provide. Look for the first release of the cellar series to be coming out later in the summer, and more offerings will be added to the cellar as we progress.

 

 

We’ve collaborated with 33 Books out of Portland, OR to custom build tasting journals for Eventide brewing. The journals are amazing and made just for recording beer. The reason we are so excited to bring these tasting journals to you is because of the special beers we’ll be releasing in our tasting room. We’ll have lots of special beers on tap in the future, some aged and others will be collaborations with other brewers. We will be keeping a journal on all of our beers and sharing it with you, and we want you to feel like doing the same. Keep up with your tasting notes to see how your pallet changes over time. Here’s a bit more from 33 Books about the custom journals we are having made for the Eventide tasting room.

tasting-journal

If you want one please go ahead and pre order it here. 

Powerful, Yet Pocket-Sized

They say necessity is the mother of invention, but alcohol helps, too. Born from attending a few too many beer festivals, 33 Beers is a beer journal that provides an easy way to record tasting notes in a small, convenient notebook format. It’s designed for beer geeks, by beer geeks.

Designed for Speed

This beer journal is designed for ease of use. It’s tough to hold a notepad, pencil, and a beer and be able to jot down thoughts on the beer in hand. Taking notes with 33 Bottles of Beer is as simple as checking a few boxes and entering a few basic facts.

The flavor wheel in 33 Beers can be used to quickly recall a beer’s unique flavor long after consumption. For low values of the flavor, fill in dots near the wheel’s center. A Belgian dubbel is used in the example shown.

 

Secret Ingredient

A teeny, tiny amount of real beer is added to the ink in each new edition, which is cryptically noted on the back.

Eco-Friendly

33 Beers is made with 100% recycled papers sourced in the Pacific Northwest. Interior pages are 100% post-consumer recycled content and covers are 85% post-consumer recycled content and 15% recycled content. The booklets are printed using US-grown soy-based inks in sunny Portland, Oregon.

We’ve been making beer for a little over a year now, and it’s time for us to open the tasting room! We are working to create a place you want to come and stay awhile which has a focus on delicious beer. We have saved up almost enough money, but we still need some help to really make this place amazing. If everyone will go ahead and buy their souvenir glass up front we’ll be able to make this a place to be passionate about, and it may just become your new favorite spot.

You can pre buy your glass here using the Kickstarter campaign we launched on Monday. In one day we have raised over $5k and we are well on our way to the goal of $30k. THANK YOU SO MUCH! We love our fans, and it’s great to see you guys so excited to come visit us. Please remember to buy your tasting glass now, and you can pick it up whenever you visit. Cheers!

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Here is a map of where you are likely to find our beers. Remember this is not a guarantee they will be there when you show up. Due to the high demand for our beers, they may or may not still be on tap when you arrive. If you are planning to travel for our beer please call ahead to ensure it is on tap. We’d hate to have you show up, only to find the guy at the other table drank the last of our beer!

POWERED BY Maptive

We all know the beer laws in Georgia are antiquated, but how far are you willing to go to change them? Sure you’ve probably already signed the Beerjobs petition (17,000 people have) and you’ve probably been reading about SB 63 (the current bill we are trying to pass to reform Georgia beer laws) but are you willing to make a documentary about it?

Cameron Johnson is! Cameron is a senior at the University of Georgia in Athens studying mass media arts, and what started out as a simple class project has morphed into a film which may help turn the tide for Georgia drinkers and brewers. Johnson described the goal of the film to the Red&Black as: “My plan is just to show the difference. What they’re achieving with lightened laws, compared to what Georgia is achieving — kind of like what Georgia could be”.

So we reached out to Cameron to ask him a few questions of our own.

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 8.46.04 AMEventide: When did you start this project, and why?

CJ: Ever since I turned 21 I have had a passion for craft beer. After discovering more styles and breweries around the country I noticed that Georgia was behind. That’s when I discovered the laws and regulations stifling Georgia breweries I felt that more people should be made aware of it.

Eventide: You’re still a student, are you 21?

CJ: I am in my last semester at the University of Georgia and I am 22

Eventide: What is the timeline for the project?

CJ: Filming began in late January, and I plan to have a finished product to show by the end of April. 

Eventide: Are you going to be interviewing state Representatives?

CJ: I have interviewed State Representative Spencer Frye for this project who sponsored House Bill 314 two years ago. I will also be interviewing the south Carolina head of the craft brewers association and hopefully Nancy Palmer, she is just so busy haha.

Johnson has covered many of his bases and plans to make a solid case for his argument, and help spread the word about what craft beer means for Georgia. He will be doing a lot of traveling for his film and, because of this, he started an Indiegogo.com campaign to raise the funds. We are happy to report he has already surpassed his goal by 126% and will be able to complete the film. Here’s a short promo of what you can expect the film to cover.

Johnson’s documentary, (Beer)aucracy: “One Nation Under Hops” is set to air at Cine in Athens on April the 28th.

We love seeing the community coming together to help make Georgia a better place, and we are proud to help accomplish this goal through beer. We are excited to see this film finished, and are hopeful that it will aid in seeing our beer laws changed as well. Thanks for the fighting the good fight Cameron, we wish you the best.

 

 

 

We attended the State Senate Committee hearing on SB 63 and this is the long and the short of it.

If you are unaware of SB63, it is in favor of creating Georgia jobs by granting breweries and brew pubs the same rights which currently stand for both Georgia Wineries and Distilleries. It would give brewpubs legal ability to package their product, and give both breweries and brew pubs the ability to sell their product directly to the consumer. This will benefit Georgia by increasing the amount of products both made and sold in Georgia,  increasing tourism dollars across the state, and attracting more businesses to the state. These limiting laws have not only been holding back people from starting and/or successfully operating breweries, but have also been a key reason some big breweries are building production facilities in other states, and not Georgia.

The presentation of the bill:

Hunter Hill (http://www.senate.ga.gov/senators/en-US/Member.aspx?Member=803&Session=23) presented the bill, and is the sponsor of the bill. In short he presented how SB 63 will increase Georgia jobs and be a positive factor for all parties involved. These parties are the 1) Producers of beer, 2) Distributors of beer, and 3) Retailers of beer. If passed, the bill would allow on premise (up to 72 oz) and off premise (up to 144 oz) retail sales from a brewery and brewpub. This would allow the producers a much needed revenue stream which would be focused back into the brewery to increase production, improve processes and hire employees. The total amount sold would account for less than 1% of total beer sales in the state, so the affect on distributors and retailers would be completely offset by the amount of brand awareness this would create for the products they are already selling. Everybody wins.

After the bill was presented there were some comments made by the committee which made it clear these regulations are not well understood even by the people voting on them. This is understandable since they are very nonsensical, and haven’t garnered much attention up to this point. To make a point of how little the laws pertaining to this case are understood, even by the committee in charge of regulating this industry, one senator commented that “it’s economically bad to give away free beer” which is, of course, what the current law forces breweries to do.

In defense of the bill Nancy Palmer, Executive Director of the Craft Brewers Guild of Georgia, brought out some very key points in the antiquated nature of our current treatment of these issues. She stated Florida passed this same law, and to a greater extent than what we are asking for in 1963, and North Carolina in 1986. This is why both of them trounce us in number of breweries per state, and North Carolina has seen such a rise in Beer Tourism and investment in their state from breweries in the past decade.

5 Seasons brew pub also commented in favor of the bill. They have obtained over 26,000 signatures in favor of the bill. Currently 5 Seasons, by law, can sell you wine to go but cannot sell you the beer they make on site to go.

Bart Watson, chief economist at the Brewers Association, proposed the three reasons this bill will increase economic impact, rather than shifting it.

1) Tourism dollars we are not getting from beer tourism is net new impact.

2) Capital from the increase in sales from breweries will go back into local investment, and the investment in net new breweries will be a net new increase.

3) Georgia products created and consumed in Georgia are sold at a higher value creating a larger increase in gross revenue for the state, the vast majority of which remains in the state.

In opposition:

Nick Economos, President of Eagle Rock Distributing and acting President of the Beer Distributors Association. He stated the bill is unnecessary not because the brewing industry is growing and does not need additional help. He did, however, concede that passing this bill would not take away jobs or revenue from his business or others in the state.

Martin Smith, lobbyist for the beer wholesalers of Georgia, had a different story to tell. His comments were that, currently, Georgia is 18th in craft beer production (he is correct, but only because Sweetwater produced 170,000 bbls, and the next closest is Terrapin at 44,000 bbls) last year so there is no need for change to the system. In response to Nancy’s comment on other states passing beneficial beer laws well a head of us, he stated: “they should be asking themselves why are they not like Georgia”.

In further opposition there was a retailer from a package store that give his thoughts on how this will affect his business. The comment was that this would be “unfair for breweries to be able to sample and sell beer when they can not”. At which point the Department of Revenue stepped in and said they are allowed to sample beer as long as they don’t sell Liquor, but they cannot because they made the choice to sell spirits. Finally, the retail owner’s son stepped up and said “I would love to go to a brewery, and leave with beer I bought from them! But that would be a perfect world, and we don’t live in a perfect world”.

All in all this is very large fight which comes down to all breweries located in Georgia being in favor of this bill, the distributors saying it will not hurt their business, and the retailers stating they would like to participate in exactly what is being proposed. Regardless of the obvious nature of the bill, it will still be a closed door conversation and the best thing to be done is to email your state representatives and other pertinent government officials and let them know that you stand in favor of bettering GA through the passage of the SB 63 – The Beer Jobs Bill.

 

Want to hear something funny? We’ve been working to get everything in place to open our tasting room for months now, and it turns out that we’ve been able to do so all along. The powers that be were giving us incorrect information (they assumed we were a winery event though we kept telling them that we’re production brewery) and, after getting all of our ducks in a row, we were told that they were mistaken and we could have opened a tasting room as soon we were able to start operating as a brewery. A little frustrating but the good news is WE CAN OPEN A TASTING ROOM!

So lets run down three things you can expect and when you can expect them.

1) We plan to open the doors in April, and this is a firm deadline. We’ll have a soft opening to work out the kinks, and will have our grand opening a month or so later. Most of the required pieces are in place, and we are right on schedule. This is, however, a short timeline so we will be very busy between now and then. We will, most likely, be looking for volunteers to assist with pieces of this process, so be on the lookout for a call to action in the near future. If you haven’t signed up for our mailing list please go here and do so: http://eventidebrewing.com/stay-informed/

2) Demolition of the existing space starts this week. The space we plan to use was once the office space for the building we currently occupy. It’s got 20 ft ceilings made of wood, and a great deal of vintage 50’s charm. The building was built in 1952, and we are going to try to keep it looking that way. We should have all of the demo of the office done by next Monday, at which time we’ll share some photos of the space for you to see.

3) The space will be about 3k sq/ft so it’s a sizable tasting room. We are working on the decor now but the feel will be uniquely Georgia, as are all things built by us. We haven’t finalized 100% of the aesthetic, and it’s highly likely that we’ll be asking for input, so keep a lookout on our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts for surveys and questions.

We’ve got a lot of surprises which we’ll share with you over the coming weeks on what more you can expect from our tasting room, but the good news is we can now open the doors. So hold on, this ride is going to be a fast one with a boatload of fun to be had at the end. Thank you for all of your support!

Cheers,

The Eventide Team