Piney River Brewing Company

Missouri’s Craft Brewers Oppose Big Beer Bill in Missouri Legislature

In The Beer on May 1, 2016 at 10:03 am

Members of the Missouri Small Brewers Guild have fought against “big beer” successfully throughout the spring legislative session only to see Anheuser Busch-In Bev (ABI) successfully amend their legislation to a wine-related bill on Thursday afternoon.
Originally proposed as SB 919, ABI sought legislation allowing them to lease coolers to convenience stores and grocery stores across the state. Missouri Brewers Guild members testified and spoke out against SB 919, and the bill passed the Senate after much debate and with only one vote.

With just two weeks remaining on the legislative calendar and SB 919 not scheduled to be heard on the House floor, ABI made a last-ditch effort by putting an amendment with the same legislation on SB 994 which passed in the House. With the new amendments, the bill is slated to go back to the Senate for debate and a vote.

“SB 919 and the cooler amendment on SB 994 are bad for Missouri’s craft brewers and the 4,300 people that we employee across our state,” Jeff Schrag, Missouri Small Brewers Guild president and owner of Mother’s Brewing Company in Springfield, MO said.

Schrag explained that in Missouri’s three-tier distribution system a company like ABI has never been allowed to provide refrigeration to retailers. “This is a move to erode the three-tier system in our state,” Schrag said.

“Allowing ABI to lease coolers creates an unlevel playing field, and pushes us out of the market,” Schrag said. “When was the last time you saw Pepsi products in a Coca-Cola cooler?”
Representative Keith English, I-Florrisant, spoke against the amendment and is a supporter of Missouri’s craft beer industry.

“The reason why Anheuser Busch-In Bev had this bill is because they are losing market share, and the only way they can get back in is to buy these coolers,” English said. “This is a horrible bill. It is not for any small business; the only reason why we had this is so that the big business here in downtown St. Louis can get a little more of their market share.”

“Ironically, the original sponsor of this cooler legislation and many people that have voted for this legislation are heavily supported by ABI in their upcoming election and re-election bids,” Brian Durham, Missouri Small Brewers Guild member and owner, head brewer and co-founder of Piney River Brewing Company in Bucyrus, MO, said.

Durham asserts that he has placed all of his available capital in growing a small business in rural Missouri, and he doesn’t have the funding to purchase coolers to lease to retailers. Piney River Brewing just completed a $1.3 million expansion in South Central Missouri. 

“Missouri’s craft breweries are rapidly growing small businesses in our state. Collectively, we employ more Missourians than ABI,” Durham said. “If our legislators vote in favor of SB 994 they are voting against Missouri’s entrepreneurs, against Missouri’s small business leaders.” 

ABI coolers are allowed in retail locations in some states such as Colorado and Wisconsin, but Schrag has heard personally from the brewers’ guilds in those states that the ABI coolers are a detriment to craft beer growth in the states where they are allowed.

“This is truly a case of ‘David and Goliath’ in Missouri,” Schrag said. “Since January Missouri’s independent craft brewery owners and brewers have been fighting against a giant, multinational behemoth with dozens of paid lobbyists and slick public relations campaigns to retailers and legislators.”

Shrag and members of the guild are hopeful that with two weeks left in the legislative session SB 994 and the cooler amendment will not find its way back to the Senate floor.

“We are asking all of Missouri’s craft breweries and anyone that enjoys partaking of Missouri craft beer to contact their Senator and tell them to vote ‘no’ on SB 994,” Schrag said. “This bill is bad for Missouri craft beer.”

How the Piney River Seventh Trumpet Came to Be

In The Beer on April 1, 2016 at 10:48 pm

At the 5th Aleiversary we were able to share our first Imperial Stout with you–Seventh Trumpet. This isn’t just any stout; this stout has a story that you really need to know.

In late 2014, The Home Brewery in Ozark, MO contacted us regarding the annual Zymurgists of the Ozarks homebrew  competition. They asked is we would be willing to judge the winning beers of the competition and choose a favorite to brew with the winning homebrewer.  

Brian and I started out as home brewers, and we have great respect for some of the homebrewers that we know that brew great beers.  We agreed to participate.

The winter weather was not in our favor in 2015, but finally the “winter warmer” competition made its way to the BARn where we gathered in late February with our brewing staff to try beers and declare a #1. 

Michael Wells of Kansas City was the winner. Michael calls his homebrewing adventures Eye for an Eye, and let me tell you, if you’re ever offered a bottle of homebrew with one of these on the top, do not turn it down. 

 Michael’s winning brew was a Russian Imperial Stout called Seventh Trumpet, and the winning version was brewed with coffee beans and vanilla beans.  It was the unanimous winner amongst us and our staff trying all of the top finishing beers.  Not only is Michael a solid homebrewer, he’s a really nice guy, too.  And that’s a good thing because by the time Michael’s beer won the competition, we were deep into a excavating, concrete pouring and a construction project that consumed our life for most of 2015.  

Finally, after the holidays, after we had our new brew house up and going, but before we were wrapped up in 2016 beer events, we were able to bring Michael to the Farm for a Saturday in January. Michael met us at the tap room on Friday evening. We were lucky enough to share more of his delicious homebrews that evening and spend a little time chatting mostly about beer and family.  It was fun.  

  

 Saturday morning Brian and Michael met bright and early for a 15 bbl brew of his beer. Brian followed Michael’s recipe, scaling it up for our needs.  The plan was that if the beer turned out well,we would serve it at the Aleiversary. (So you already know how that part of the story ends.)  We tried our best to roll out the red carpet, and honestly, Michael volunteered to empty the mashtun. The brewed beer was sent to one of our 15 bbl tanks in the BARn brewery, and within 24 hours, it was doing this amazing and somewhat messy fermentation (luckily that slowed down after a few hours).  

Something like 200 fresh vanilla bean pods were split by our brewing staff after fermentation was complete. Then, Brick and Mortar Coffee in Springfield made us a special dark roast blend that we put on the beer for a short time.  Almost two months after Seventh Trumpet was brewed on the Piney River Farm, we kegged the beer to serve at the 5th Aleiversary. Where it turned out to be a big hit! 

There is a limited amount of Piney River’s Seventh Trumpet available at the BARn tap room.  We have pints, and we are filling Crowlers with the beer if you want to take some to go.  We were able to send a keg up to Michael to enjoy, too.  If you are joining us at Taps and Tastes at Boulevardia this year, we will be pouring up samples of Seventh Trumpet there, too.

Who knows if ther will be another Seventh Trumpet brewed at Piney River. We will definitely be adding an imperial stout to our lineup since we now have the tank space to give such a beer the time it needs.  A huge thanks to the Homebrewery for giving us the opportunity to meet Michel and brew his beer.  And an even bigger thanks to Michels for patiently waiting for us to brew the beer with him.  Michael’s goal is to win a homebrew competition in every state. There’s no doubt, Eye for an Eye is going to do that!   

While you have a chance, don’t miss out on the opportunity to enjoy Seventh Trumpet with us at the BARn before it’s gone. Cheers Michael, and cheers to all of you making homebrews!

 

How We Celebrated 5 Years on the Piney River Farm

In Beer Events on March 22, 2016 at 9:13 pm

Five years.

Five years?!

FIVE YEARS!!!

In February, during our grand opening weekend for the new brewery, I told people that five years ago, if you would have told me that there would be a new 12,000 square foot barn on our farm with a new brewhouse, new cold storage, new canning line, etc., I would have laughed and said, “You’ve obviously been drinking.”

And here we are, five years later with all of those things and celebrating our 5th Aleiversary to boot.

For the first time at an Aleiversary, Brian and I did not spend a crazy portion of the day working—i.e. parking cars, changing out trash, etc. Instead, we were able to divvy up employees to cover all the non-stop tasks, and we jumped in every once in awhile to pour a few beers, make change, give an employee a break, etc. We were able to spend some time with some of our retail and distributor partners, and best of all, we were able to talk to many of you!IMG_0119IMG_0118

IMG_0123Also for the first time, we were open on Friday and Sunday of the Aleiversary Weekend, too. Friday we spent most of the day into the evening in the tap room. There were some people that came out at those times because they wanted a four-pack of Mule Team or they wanted to drink some of the small batch beers, but they didn’t want to face the Aleiversary crowd. (If you came out on Sunday and hoped to see us…sorry…we were recovering from the Aleiversary after party with our staff.)

IMG_0126IMG_0124Saturday started out with brilliant sun and a light wind that got colder as the sun disappeared behind clouds. Several folks camped out in the lawn using the deck as a windbreak, and everyone else pretty much piled into the tap room where they somehow still found room for dancing to Casey Lynne and the Dealbreakers and Deep Fried Squirrel.

Aleiversary 2The 2016 Mule Team IPA and the Seventh Trumpet Imperial Stout were enjoyed by many as part of the Aleiversary festivities. Cases of Mule Team four-packs found their way out the door. Paw Paw French Saison came back again this year, with plenty to go around (instead of one little keg). Aux Arcs (French, pronounced “Ozarks”) a dry-hopped French saison made its debut, and more than one person claimed it to be a new favorite. All of those beers are small batches, but they will be available for awhile in the tap room, and they will make their way into the retail market in very limited numbers of kegs. Hopefully, you’ll get your chance to try them, too.

IMG_0127Twisted Mike’s Food Truck and Mike and Julie’s Smoked Meats stayed busy with their food fare. Did you try the fries from Twisted Mike’s? I think they were called “crack fries”, and they were craaazy good. Can we get a show of hands from those than enjoyed Mike and Julie’s nearly famous nachos? Yes, that was quite a few of you. Suffice it to say, in Brewcyrus, we like our beer with potatoes.

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We are still pinching ourselves that five years are in the books here on the Piney River Farm. We wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for all of you, the great beer drinking folks that have supported us in so many ways over the past 5 years.

You know who you are.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Who knows what we’ll be saying and writing about for the next five?

Cheers!IMG_0581

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