A Good Problem to Have Wrapup

Release Line 12/12/2015

It’s 9:30 on a Tuesday morning and I’m just staring to get my sea legs back from what was arguably the craziest weekend we’ve ever had at Neshaminy Creek Brewing. Between the A Good Problem to Have DIPA can release this past Saturday and The Menzingers collaboration beer release party that same night we most certainly tried to jam as much beer fun into one day as we humanly could. Now that we’ve had a few days to reflect on this past weekend’s events, let’s do a lil’ recap and discuss some plans for the future.

First off, thank you to everyone that came out for the A Good Problem to Have DIPA can release. In total, we ripped through 178 cases in just under 44 minutes. Wow, honestly we never thought that would happen. Based on bottle releases we’ve had in the past, while we’ve had lines before, we’ve never, EVER, had a line stretch from our front door all the way down Ray Avenue, nor have we sold out of a release in less than an hour. That’s absolutely wild, and nothing we would have ever thought would happen. We’ve never thought of ourselves as a brewery that people would wait in line hours for a beer release, but I guess that’s where we are now; both pretty cool, yet very daunting because we work hard brewing great beer and at trying to make our beer available to as many people as possible. We certainly don’t think beer, regardless of the style, should be brewed for a pretentious or esoteric clique; it’s something to be enjoyed by all and if you feel this way, our beer isn’t for you. This is why our motto is “Brew Anything,” and why you see Cream Ales, Lagers, and Saisions right next to over the top hoppy IPAs. By and large, we ship a lot of beer to Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and while we get a lot of feedback about our beer not being available in the market, it’s not because we aren’t shipping a lot of beer to those markets, you’re all just simply buying it up, very, very quickly, usually faster than we can actually make the liquid in the first place.

So, why did we do such a small batch of a beer that we were only going to make available at the brewery?

For starters, it’s our ultimate goal to have you come and visit our brewery. Besides being able to drink our core and seasonal beers right at the source, within eyeshot of were they’re brewed and fermented, we also have a lot of beers on tap in our ever evolving Tap Room that we do not distribute off-premise, or do so only in a very limited capacity (we’re talking less than 5 kegs in market). Case in point is the new beer releases coming up over the next two weeks, The Baltic Prince, our 9% ABV Baltic Porter, and Ecomis DIPA, our hugely Simcoe forward Double India Pale Ale that’ll be ready just in time for Christmas. But, I digress. The main point is, “come and visit the brewery.”

Second, while we are currently on pace to brew about 13,000 BBLs this year, we are still a very small brewery (roughly 150 times smaller than a brewery like Victory). Our current production plans mainly focus on brewing our core year round offerings and small amounts of our seasonal beers. Because of this, when we do brew a beer like A Good Problem to Have in any amount larger than our small batch 1.5 BBL system, the amount of cases and kegs we can actually get in packaging is very small; not nearly enough to be able to send any amount to our distribution partners. While we’d love to do more, we simply can’t without interrupting production of our year round regulars in a serious way. At the moment the largest batch of A Good Problem to Have DIPA we can make would be in one of our new 60 BBL fermenters, and after all is said and done we’d be lucky to get 340 to 360 cases and some draft kegs each batch. Our ability to do this hinges largely on tank availability and our production schedule. For the next batch of A Good Problem to Have we are going to try to do a larger run, but this may delay the next release, which we hope will be in early to mid-February based on our current production schedule and the holidays.

“With such a long line, why didn’t you change the case limit on release day?” Good question. Simple answer is, we set the limit and that’s what we were sticking with. We gave ample notice about how many cases we expected to have available. Since we’ve never had a line of Saturday’s magnitude, we did not foresee this two case limit as a problem. Since many people started lining up two hours before we opened the doors it wouldn’t be fair to them to change the limit day of as much as it’s not fair to those at the back of the line to walk away empty handed. Now that we’ve seen how much interest there is in this beer, we will be changing the limit to a one case limit for the next release, and will re-evaluate that again just like we did for this first release. Also, for those that like to stand on their soapbox and say silly things like “by not changing the limit the day of the release all we’re really concerned about is making a profit,” you simply don’t understand math and are an entitled whiny child. If all we cared about was taking your money we would have set or changed the limit to a two six-pack per person limit, thus making an extra $13 per case ($2300+ more for the entire day). By keeping at least a case limit in the future we’re still ensuring we make less money than if we changed it to a two or three six-pack limit. In any business or industry, who in their right mind purposely limits how much money they can make?

“But why do we set a three four-pack limit for Shape of Hops to Come.” Pretty simple. Ninety percent of all Shape of Hops to Come cases go to distribution. We save an even smaller, limited amount of those cases for direct brewery purchases, usually no more than 30 or 40 cases each run, hence the limit that we’ve had in place since day one in regards to all brewery sales of The Shape of Hops to Come. Since A Good Problem to Have can cases are never going into distribution, we set a higher case limit in comparison to The Shape of Hops to Come.

Lastly, in regards to people bringing friends or family members to ‘abuse’ the limit restriction and how we’re somehow responsible for policing this. What is there to police? We’re not going to go down the line and take IDs and if people have the same last name refuse to sell them the case limit we’ve set. If you stand in line and are able to purchase the limit, you will be allowed to purchase the limit. I’m not sure how many, if any, times we had one person paying for more than two cases on Saturday, but moving forward it will stand as a one case limit per customer, and each transaction must be paid for individually so we can remove any doubt about the beer hawks and traders out there gobbling up multiple cases to be used as bounty on the Internet trading sites.

Now that we have that out of the way, moving forward, here’s were we are; next A Good Problem to Have DIPA release early to mid-February, one case per customer per transaction limit, and we’ll have no less than 175+ cases available, quite possibly over 300 if we can fit a 60 BBL batch into production.

Also, keep in mind that while the cans of this beer are very limited, we do keep some kegs around for draft in our Tap Room as well as limited off-premise draft. Case in point would be this Friday’s tap event at The Churchville Inn where we’ll have a sixtel of A Good Problem to Have available for anyone that hasn’t had a chance to try this beer yet!  In total, only three sixtels of this beer and this batch will be sold off-premise this go round.

Again, thank you so much for your continued support of this brewery. Be on the lookout for the official release announcement for the next batch of A Good Problem to Have DIPA as well as the upcoming distribution release of Blitzkrieg Hops and another brewery only limited DIPA can release. Happy Holidays!

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