Rocky Mountain Brewing News June/July 2014 : Page 1
J UNE /J ULY 2014 V OL . 12 / N O . 3 I T ' S A F AMILY T RADITION By John Campbell almon River Brewery (SRB) began operation in McCall, Idaho, in 2008. However, the inspiration for co-found-er Matt Ganz to venture into brewing beer goes as far back as the 1800s in Germany, where his great-great-great grand-father, John Hemrich, grew up, worked for a brewery, and then immigrated to America in 1848. John first settled in Rochester, New York, and then later moved to Keokuk, Iowa, and established his first brewery in 1854. Laws changed and Iowa became a dry state in 1855, so he moved to Alma, Wisconsin, and built a log brewery, Alma’s first indus-try. It operated as the John Hemrich Brewing Co. In 1876 he built a stone malt house, and used only locally grown barley. Four years later he constructed a stone ice house in order to store beer above S By Amy Moses “If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” – James Michener their business instead of visiting just another chain or drinking another macro. In addition, traveling connects us – we can meet people from other countries and cultures that we may have never crossed paths with were it not for our shared interest. We may also be in a foreign land and encounter folks from own backyard, linked by our love of quality suds. Tom Hennessy, owner of Colorado Boy Pub & Brewery, provides an example of the coveted chance to meet people he wouldn’t have on the normal tour-ist trail. Hennessy shares, “My wife and I went on a trek in 1995 to Sikkim, India, in the Himalayas. There was a brewery there (Yuksom Brewery), a pretty large regional brewery, so we stopped by to see if B ook airline tickets. Check! Reserve rental car. Check! Pack suitcase. Check! Research local craft beer, breweries, and beer bars. Check! For many of us, spending time investigating craft beer offered in the area we’re traveling to, is as important as packing our suitcase. Seeking local beer offers a chance to experience the culture of the area, support locally-owned businesses, and meet and dialogue with the people in the neighborhood. And we can feel good that we’re giving our money to entrepreneurs who put their heart and soul into ground. There is a lot more to this story, but let’s get back to John’s great-great-great-grandson. Matt knew a little of his ancestral heritage, but a visit from his mother and grandmother shed light on a rich history of brewing that roused his curiosity. He started searching the internet and found details about his family’s brewing history that even the afore-mentioned women in his family didn’t even know. See SRB continued p.4 See Local continued p.3 Colorado Calendar.................... 2 Homebrew....................5 Beer Directory.......10-12 Idaho...............6 Utah.................7 Montana..........8 Wyoming.........9 Upper Front Range.........13 Central Peaks..................14 Western Slope.................15 Denver..............................16 Lower Front Range.........17 Four Corners...................18
Unlocking The Key To The Local Culture
“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” – James Michener
Book airline tickets. Check! Reserve rental car. Check! Pack suitcase. Check!Research local craft beer, breweries, and beer bars. Check!
For many of us, spending time investigating craft beer offered in the area we’re traveling to, is as important as packing our suitcase. Seeking local beer offers a chance to experience the culture of the area, support locally-owned businesses, and meet and dialogue with the people in the neighborhood.And we can feel good that we’re giving our money to entrepreneurs who put their heart and soul into their business instead of visiting just another chain or drinking another macro.
In addition, traveling connects us – we can meet people from other countries and cultures that we may have never crossed paths with were it not for our shared interest. We may also be in a foreign land and encounter folks from own backyard, linked by our love of quality suds.
Tom Hennessy, owner of Colorado Boy Pub & Brewery, provides an example of the coveted chance to meet people he wouldn’t have on the normal tourist trail. Hennessy shares, “My wife and I went on a trek in 1995 to Sikkim, India, in the Himalayas. There was a brewery there (Yuksom Brewery), a pretty large regional brewery, so we stopped by to see if We could get a tour. They had armed guards and we were told basically to go away.”
“I mentioned that I also had a brewery (my small brewery in Salida, Colorado, at the time), and the guard got on the phone and told us to wait. In about a minute the head brewer showed up with his lab guy, and took us on an extensive tour of their operation, and we ended up in the lab drinking beer out of beakers. They sent us away with cases of beer and posters, coasters, and other swag.”
If You Build It, They Will Come
Many breweries have marketing strategies geared toward the craft-beer loving traveler. Katie Hill, Marketing Manager at Upslope Brewing in Boulder, explains, “We spend a lot of time trying to get our beer on tap and on shelves in the mountains and in ski resorts to appeal to both locals and tourists who travel to Colorado for the skiing.” “We also work with the Holiday Inn in North Boulder to market our Lee Hill brewery to folks visiting Boulder.”
Chad Melis at Oskar Blues shares, “Our national summer and winter promotional programs typically have a travel component included. This year, we’ve partnered with DRAFT Magazine for our summer program based off the Oskar Blues Ordeal. We’re giving away three trips to Colorado during the week of the Great American Beer Festival which include airfare, lodging, tickets to the GABF and seats on the Oskar Blues Ordeal, a VIP behind-the-scenes experience of our Colorado brewery, our Hops & Heifers Farm and our local restaurants.”
Kannah Creek Brewing in Grand Junction also strives to attract tourists.Katlin Lubeley explains, “We work with the Grand Junction Visitors Convention Bureau to promote our two restaurant locations and our brewery tours.”
They also utilize the Hotel Dining Guide, brochures placed in 15 Grand Junction hotels that include information about the brewpub, sample menu items, and an offer for a free pint glass with the purchase of a beer. Lubeley explains, “During the summer months we see a large increase in the number of people visiting our brewpub because of the brochure.”
Last summer a couple from the Netherlands visited Kannah Creek and purchased a pint glass.When the travelers returned home, they posted a photo of the glass with their homebrew in it, along with a message of thanks. Once a person visits a place, the connection runs deep, which is why breweries invest time and money luring people to their locations.
Getting Out the Good Word
In addition to the creative and dedicated marketing efforts of individual breweries, there is a concentrated effort on behalf of states and cities to attract thirsty visitors to their area. Steve Kurowski, Marketing Manager for The Colorado Brewers Guild (CBG) explains, “The CBG is working very closely with the Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) to help spread the word of the Colorado craft beer scene.” Kurowski sits on the Agri-Tourism Committee at CTO and shares, “This committee focuses on a variety of activities such as farm visits, farm to table, brewery, distillery and winery tours, wildlife watching, dude ranches, etc. In the last year, I have traveled with CTO to Berlin, Iceland and Chicago to showcase Colorado craft beer to travel writers, food writers and tour operators from around the world. The response has been incredible. These visits have gained media coverage all over Europe, Scandinavia and the United States.”
Combining the “B” Passions
It seems to be common that those who love craft beer love the outdoors, and in particular biking. Thus, it only makes sense that when people go on vacation they’d combine their two passions.
Beer & Bike Tours, based in Fort Collins, offers excursions in Colorado and throughout the world for those who want to quaff a cold one after a day on the bike.
Owner Bob Williams explains, “We have all sorts of groups - families getting together on holiday, couples on their honeymoon, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and some singles as well.”
The trips range from a half day tour around Fort Collins to a 10-day adventure in Maine. When I met Bob one Sunday afternoon while he was answering questions from a couple who are soon engaging on the Copenhagen to Berlin trip, he aptly described the reason people take these kinds of trips: “You won’t see the usual type of tourists.”
Instead of being crowded in with throngs of sightseers at a popular guidebook attraction, you’re Pedaling at your own pace along a bike trail, stopping at beer gardens for a Helles or a Weizenbock, and soaking up the European culture via the people you meet in those establishments and along the way.
Bob shares, “We get a lot of people who say our bike trips were the highlight of their trip to Colorado. It really is a complement to all of the great breweries we have and how accessible they are.”
Building a Tour Business
Bob Oliffee, owner of Boulder Brew Tours, states that he attracts people to his walking and driving tours who want to learn more about the brewing side of things or more about the breweries they visit on the tours. About half of the folks are tourists from out of state and the other half are from Colorado. Of course, most people elect to join the tour because of their passion for craft beer, but he said others participate because it’s a great way to meet people and it’s a fun social activity.
Dylan Shultz, who for the past four years has been a river guide for Lewis & Clark Trail Adventures in Missoula, Montana, received a lot of questions on the job about what else to do around town. He explains, “My first suggestion was always to check out the breweries, but tourists often don't know of any of the breweries.” Thus, Schultz set about to change that by creating Montana Brew Tours. He explains, “States are often known for the great things they produce, and Montana should be known for its great craft beer.”
He embarked on his business adventure last fall and says, “I have received great support from every single brewery or organization I’ve approached about Brewery Tours. We’ll be starting with brewery tours in Missoula and the Bitterroot Valley with hopes to expand to the Flathead Valley.” Schultz also has intentions to offer specialty tours soon as well, with ideas including whitewater beer tastings and beer and cheese pairings. Entrepreneurship in the brewing industry abounds and Schultz, Oliffee, and Williams are examples of that…striving to make people happy through beer – both at home and on the road.
Planning It Yourself
Of course many people plan their own beercation, combining craft beer with other passions, such as running or hiking, or planning it around a special occasion, such as a honeymoon, anniversary, or birthday. Combining multiple interests is also an easy way to appease both people in a relationship or many people in a group! And of course, integrating a local race and local beer really has you feeling like well…a local!
Risking It All
Some of us plan to visit breweries while we’re on vacation and then some of us practically mortgage the house! Melis of Oskar Blues provides this story of a dedicated fan. “Since we’re only a stone’s throw from Denver, we get a lot of visitors during GABF week each year,” he explains.
“Last year, shortly after someone claimed the last seat on the last Ordeal bus, we got a couple of awesome emails from a pair of friends from New York. One of the friends had snagged the last seat, and he sent in a great email begging to get his friend on the Ordeal since they both had dipped into their kids’ college funds to afford this trip to Colorado for the GABF and for a chance to drink a Dale’s Pale Ale at the Oskar Blues Brewery. The email even came with a solid list of references for his friend and included both of their signatures promising they’d be on their best behavior.”
Melis asks, “How do you say no to that?”
Is It Just a Good Time?
When I asked Bob Williams, why, ultimately, he thinks people spend so much money and time on a tour involving craft beer, he responded, “… because it’s fun. I think people are starting to travel in the States for beer in the same way people travel to France for wine or Scotland for whisky.”
Is it just for fun or is it more than that? American historian and archivist Miriam Beard said, “Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”
I hope that you are fortunate enough to be changed by the people you meet on your journey for great beer, the places the quest leads you to, or the beer itself. Happy trails…to you!
It's A Family Tradition
Salmon River Brewery (SRB) began operation in McCall, Idaho, in 2008.However, the inspiration for co-founder Matt Ganz to venture into brewing beer goes as far back as the 1800s in Germany, where his great-great-great grandfather, John Hemrich, grew up, worked for a brewery, and then immigrated to America in 1848. John first settled in Rochester, New York, and then later moved to Keokuk, Iowa, and established his first brewery in 1854. Laws changed and Iowa became a dry state in 1855, so he moved to Alma, Wisconsin, and built a log brewery, Alma’s first industry.It operated as the John Hemrich Brewing Co.In 1876 he built a stone malt house, and used only locally grown barley. Four years later he constructed a stone ice house in order to store beer above ground. There is a lot more to this story, but let’s get back to John’s great-great-great-grandson.
Matt knew a little of his ancestral heritage, but a visit from his mother and grandmother shed light on a rich history of brewing that roused his curiosity.He started searching the internet and found details about his family’s brewing history that even the aforementioned women in his family didn’t even know.
Over the years, the Hemrichs established a number of breweries, one of which became known as the Rainier Brewery in Seattle.
“Raaaaaneeeeerbeeeeer!” My wife and I used to listen to this commercial played over and over. A motorcycle revved its engine, changing through the gears, and sounding out “Raaaaaneeeeebeeeer” as we watched football on our old 13-inch black and white TV drinking quart bombers of cheap beer and eating cream cheese and chive potato chips.
Again, back to Matt. His background as a wildland firefighter (Alaskan Hot Shot and McCall Smokejumper), and part owner of a spray insulation company, contributed nothing to his decision to start a brewery. He had never brewed beer before. The more he learned of his family’s history in brewing, the more he began to think that brewing was in his genes, and maybe he should consider following in the footsteps of his ancestors and keep the family brewing tradition alive. The idea stuck.
How It All Got Started
Matt explains, “Within a week I contacted the Hurlbutts, from which we knew through Ellen's (his wife’s) real estate business. I asked the Hurlbutts, who were in construction work, if their commercially zoned house was available for rent. Matt Hurlbutt inquired about what I was looking to do, and I told him I wanted to open a micro-brewery. The Hurlbutts had been home brewing off and on for seven years, and though they had a successful construction business, they had often dreamed of the same thing.”
Continuing, Matt says, “They asked if I would be interested in a partnership, and I said for sure.Within six months we had a working business plan for a pub brewery. We were funded with the assistance of a United States Department of Agriculture loan guaranteed through its rural development program.Seven months later we had transformed the house into a seven-barrel pub brewery.”
The brewery and pub was established in 2008, by the two couples, Matt and Ellen Ganz and Matt and Jennifer Hurlbutt. The Matts share brewing duties and brewery management. Jennifer is the company’s financial manager, live music manager and direct owner liaison to the pub management team. Ellen is no longer an operator but did it all, as she even helped brew a few batches of beer for the first couple years.
A Legendary Family Joins the Team
In 2012, SRB celebrated the addition of Adolphus A. Busch IV as a minority owner on the company. His older half-brother, August Busch III, operated Anhueser-Busch after he took over from their father, August (Gussie) Busch II. Adolphus has been visiting Idaho for over 25 years rafting and kayaking the Salmon and Snake rivers and discovered SRB’s golden ale, Udaho Gold, on tap at a local McCall restaurant. He sought out the brewery and said he would love to help their fledgling beer company in any way he could, so they whipped up a business plan, and lo and behold, he invested.Last summer, the Matts had the pleasure of bringing Adolphus Busch IV's son, Adolphus V, in the brewery as a summer assistant.
More Draft Beer on the Way
Matt Ganz disclosed, “The new brewery will begin construction this summer. The brewing space is connected to our current pub and will include major enhancements for our customers to experience.From a beer production standpoint, the space will allow for a projected capacity of 3,500 barrels a year.The space will also allow the addition of a barrel aging and a sour beer program. No canning or bottling is planned at this facility.”
He continues, “We currently plan to stick to draft only for distribution. Our Southern Idaho distributor, Craig Stein Beverage, projects that their network could fill 2,000 barrels of production. In 2013, we were Craig Stein’s number one Idaho craft brand in the draft category. We were number four overall in the draft category - in a group of over 20 respected and quality craft brands.”
Why They Brew
I asked Matt why he likes to brew and what he likes about this business, and he responded, “This business allows us to tap into our personal beliefs and artistic spirit, while living in a gem of a high mountain lake and ski resort town. I had never brewed, but I always had the family brewing history in the back reaches of my mind.”
From a colorful beginning centered on a rich family heritage in brewing, an entrepreneurial spirit, and the teamwork of two couples, Salmon River Brewery was born. The brick and mortar buildings have changed from a rented house transformed into a seven-barrel brewery and pub, to a new pub in an old railroad depot, to a production brewery that’s now needed to supply a huge change in demand. SRB is growing like “hogs in a corn patch.”
Read the full article at http://archive.brewingnews.com/article/It%27s+A+Family+Tradition/1731353/212825/article.html.