2012 Wrap Up
Here we are already a few days into 2013, so it makes perfect sense to wrap up 2012 with some ‘State of the Union’ type recap of all of the ups and downs from the last 12 months, right? It’s hard to believe that this time last year we were still talking about finishing up all the plumbing and drain work for the brewery, not to mention trying to get rid of 30 cubic yards of fill from digging the trench drains; we still hadn’t received our brew house let alone set it in place, or started all the work on the process piping, water connections, natural gas hook up, and electrical wiring. At times it felt like we’d never actually make it to our first brew day, but thankfully that happened May 6th, and to say the least, 2012 was a hectic year, and one that I’m sure we won’t soon forget. Thank you to everyone that has shown this brewery any words of encouragement, support, and kindness not only in 2012, but since this project started in March of 2010. Without you I wouldn’t be here typing this update, and we sincerely thank you for everything you’ve done.
Our last brew day of 2012 was Friday, December 28th. In total we brewed 1142 barrels in 2012. To be honest, we’re totally blown away by that number. We had what many would have considered an ‘ambitious’ goal of 500 barrels for 2012, and to have more than doubled that is crazy, especially considering we did in only seven months of brewing. If we were to stick to that pace and average we’ll get to 1800 barrels in our first full year of brewing, but if we’ve learned one thing in the past seven months its that the demand for our beer hasn’t been slowing down, only increasing. With that said, I think we have a legitimate shot of breaking 2000 barrels by our first anniversary, and maybe it’s not to ambitious to think 2500 isn’t out of the question either. How quickly our bottling line is up and operating could edge that number closer to the latter more so than the former. We shall see.
“So when are we going to be bottling beer,” you ask? We’re working hard to make that a reality very soon. We’re optimistic that this will happen before the end of February, but it could be sooner, and it may be later. We need a few things to go our way (like most things when starting a brewery), but trust me when I say that we’re working very hard at making this a reality as soon as humanly possible. We’re going start off bottling two of our year round offerings, Tribute Tripel, and County Line IPA, as well as all our seasonal Flood Water series offerings in 22 ounce bomber bottles. Our intention is to move to canning for our 12 ounce year round beers by mid-Summer, but lets not get to far ahead of ourselves, OK?
Right now the final label artwork for Tribute Tripel and County Line IPA are being completed, and slightly modified from their original 12 ounce label designs. We should have those in the next week, and as soon as we do we’ll send them off quickly to the TTB for approval. We’ll also have some sharp looking cases printed and soon enough you’ll see bottles and cases showing up at your favorite local bottle shop, and distributor throughout the Delaware Valley as well as fresh and direct at the brewery along with our expanded growler fill selection. We recently increased our growler offerings to seven total taps, as well as six in the tasting room for you to sample. Haven’t had a chance to check out the brewery yet? Whatcha waiting for?
With all this growth it’s easy to overlook some of the misses we’ve had over the past seven months, and if you’ve followed us online you probably noticed we’re pretty candid about them. No one’s perfect, right?
One in particular lately concerns our Belgian-styled offering, Tribute Tripel. Many people have noticed that we haven’t had Tribute available lately for growler fills at the brewery. This wasn’t an intentional lack of inventory, but rather a scientific one. One of the things that beer drinkers, and sometimes (and hopefully not often), brewers take for granted is the fact that we make ourselves out to be more important than our real boss: yeast. While we certainly put in our share of sweat equity into each brew, everything really comes down to a, dare I say, simple, single celled fungi. Lately we’ve been having a hard go of it with our Belgian yeast strain, and this is the main reason why you haven’t seen Tribute around lately. We think we have a solution to our recent troubles in hand and things will get back on track shortly. We appreciate your patience and hope you understand that we’re truly controlled by a simple fungi that serves only one master, itself.
Outside of our recent issues with our Belgian yeast strain we’re pretty happy that we’ve really dialed in our pitch rates for our other yeast strains along with our brew house efficiency, and water chemistry. We’d like to think that the proof is truly in the quality of the beer we’ve been making lately, and we hope you’ve noticed. Regardless, we’re still working hard to make each and every brew more consistent, and better than the last.
One person that has recognized the time and effort we’ve been putting in around 909 Ray Avenue is Don Russel, aka Joe Sixpack. I had intended to write this year end wrap up sometime over the holidays, but of course that didn’t happen because of a busy brew schedule throughout December and trying to fit in time with family and friends for the holidays and New Years. Earlier today we learned that Don was kind enough to recognize one of our flagship beers, Trauger Pilsner, as his Beer of the Year for 2012, so what better time to get to this year end wrap than now, right? To say we are completely blown away with this recognition would be an understatement. Don is someone everyone at this brewery looks up to and he’s been at the forefront of the Philly beer scene for many years now as one of its most visible and vocal proponents. To have one of our beers picked from a scene/market that includes some of our favorite brewers and breweries like Victory, Yards, Sly Fox, and Dogfish Head is truly an honor, and we can’t thank Don enough. I can’t even believe that after seven months as a brewery I just wrote those lines. Wow.
One of the things we’re most proud of is the support we’ve seen growing at each monthly Movie Night at the brewery. In the past five months we’ve raised over $1500 for several local and national charities, and we’re going to continue with our monthly Movie Night each second Friday of the month, and hope you’ll continue to support our charity efforts throughout 2013. This month’s Movie Night is Friday, January 11th, and we’ll be showing the movie Old School. If you haven’t had a chance to make it out to a Movie Night yet we hope you can sometime soon! Remember, all proceeds go to each month’s selected charity, so come on out and have a good time for a good cause.
If you haven’t had a chance to check out our Beers section on our website, please do so. We’ve added some more beer descriptions as well as when you can expect to find our seasonal offerings released throughout the year. Next up is our Mudbank Milk Stout, and we’re hoping to have the first batch of that ready and kegged by the middle of next week. Mudbank will be followed by Leon, our Russian Imperial Stout brewed with marshmallow fluff, graham crackers, and bittersweet graham crackers in late March. We’ll also be throwing some curve balls at you from time to time with some extremely limited offerings, and variations of our seasonal beers, so keep up to date with us on Facebook, and soon on Twitter.
Finally, I think it’s appropriate at this time to thank some individuals and businesses that made Neshaminy Creek Brewing a reality in 2012. Without their help we wouldn’t be here, literally, and we can’t thank them enough. In no particular order: Ed and Carl Pierce at Pierce Electric, Jonny Werner for all his help with just about anything and everything as well as being a human beer drinking machine, Colin, John, and John from Air Team, John Brenner and everyone from B-Tec, Tony, Lou, Chris, and Sally from Fulton Bank in Yardley for believing in this startup and small businesses, Pete Schweinhart, Jordan, Buddy, Paul, Adam, Jason, and everyone from Bella Vista for believing in this brewery since literally almost day one, Dave and Jeff from Hunterdon, Dave and Nate from The Beer Shak, State Senator Tommy Tomilson and his staff for all their help in Harrisburg, Jeff and everyone from The Hulmeville Inn, Andy and everyone at the Dog & Bull, Matt from Voodoo for helping us find one hell of a brew house, Leon for all his help with our trench drain concrete work and being the inspiration for the beer of the same name, Kelly at GW Kent, Don Russell and everyone at Philly Beer Week, Tim and The Rick at Yards, Natalie DeChico, everyone from the Aleiens Homebrew Club, Paul from Wine, Barely, & Hops, Jason from Keystone Homebrew, Mark, Carl, and Jeff from The Craft Beer Outlet, Chris Rakow at River Horse, everyone that held an event for us during our first Philly Beer Week, Charlie and family at Bob Shaw Signs, Craig Weizer, Gabe from Half Acre, the Capelli, Jahn, and Myers families for all their patience and support, all our loved ones that rarely see us and put up with our long hours spent away from home, and lastly, anyone that has bought a pint, a t-shirt, gotten a growler fill, stopped by for a tour or a tasting, or checked us out at any beer event over the past seven months…without all of you we wouldn’t have made it to 2013, and we can’t thank you enough. I’m sure we’re forgetting someone, so I apologize in advance. You know who you are and just know that we can’t thank you enough. Here’s to another fun year….Cheers!