Piney River Brewing Company

Posts Tagged ‘Piney River Brewing’

Honey, I Shrunk the Piney River Cans

In The Beer on October 12, 2016 at 10:11 pm

Today was a cloudy, rainy day on the Piney River Farm; not too different from the cloudy, rainy night in 2011 when Piney River first canned craft beer in the Ozarks. Today’s first–12 ounce Piney River cans.

Those of us that have been canning beer on the Farm are still trying to adjust to these smaller cans in our hands, but we’re doing what many of our consumers and our distributors have asked us to do by putting our beer in a smaller can.

Waaay back in 2011 when Piney River was the first microbrewery in the state to can beer at their brewery, we were following suit with the 16-ounce pint can like our craft beer brothers and sisters in the Midwest—Tallgrass, Surly, Sun King. We’re in the Show Me state, why not show our customer a true pint? Plus, it was perfect—the Piney Pint.

Back then, there wasn’t much canned craft beer on the shelves in 2011 and 2012 or even 2013, but now canned beer is growing by leaps and bounds, and breweries that were once only bottling their beer are now canning it, too. Twelve-ounce cans are easier to source, plus, if you were a brewery already packing 12-ounce beers, it only makes sense to continue that in a can form. And now, it’s easier to find 12-ounce cans on the shelf here in the Ozarks than it is possible to find 16-ounce cans on the shelf.

I even had a conversation with a fellow brewer that packaged beer in 16-ounce cans and started packaging certain beers in 12-ounce cans for grocery stores. He thinks that it will ultimately lead to the demise of his 16-ounce canned beers.

Our distributors were also asking for 12-ounce cans from Piney River. For those distributors that sold 12-ounce/6-packs and 16-ounce/4-packs, they felt like they could sell more cases of 6-packs than 4-packs. Truly, a case of 6-packs equals four purchases to be empty the case, and a case of 4-packs require six purchases to empty the case. Plus, we’re hearing about this issue that the consumer can’t generally do the math that even though a 4-pack usually costs less than a 6-pack, all the consumer sees is 6 beers versus 4 beers.

And while we love floating down the Big Piney with pint of Piney in our koozie, we have heard from some of you that your 16-ounce beer gets warm before you finish it. Can we suggest here that you drink just a wee bit faster, perhaps? Just an idea….But never fear, your warm beer concerns have also been heard!

So, raise those Piney pints high in the air (or save them for your beer collection); either way, they are going away.

Today, we canned Piney River’s Black Walnut Wheat in 12-ounce cans, and that will be followed up by 12-ounce versions of all of our core beers in the coming weeks. Depending upon your distribution market and the stock of 16-ounce beers your distributor has in place, you will see 12-ounce 6-packs of Piney River beer in your favorite drink-buying place very soon or shortly down the road.

In the upcoming months, you will also see us release “Raise a Ruckus” (an Imperial Stout) and 2017 Mule Team Imperial IPA in 12-ounce 4-packs. We thought 10% ABV might be a little more easy drinking in the smaller sized can, and we can keep it at a good price point, too.

Four brands will remain in 16-ounce cans until we run out of the blank pounders. Masked Bandit IPA and Old Tom Porter are two brands you already know well. Two new Piney River offerings in 16-ounce 4-packs will be River Access Ozarks Lager and Aux Arcs Dry-Hopped Saison.

Same delicious Piney River beer. Same commitment to quality. Same love of what we do…just in a smaller package and lots more of them.




Piney River Brewing Wins Two Medals at the US Beer Open Championship

In The Beer on August 8, 2016 at 10:18 pm

IMG_1235Piney River Brewing recently won two bronze medals at the US Open Beer Championship for their Black Walnut Wheat and Bronzeback Pale Ale beers.

The US Open Beer Championship is held annually in Oxford, OH. Over 5,000 beers from around the world were entered in 90 different beer style categories. The contest is open to professional brewers and home brewers. US Open judges hail from England, Canada and the US.

Black Walnut Wheat won in the “American Wheat Dark” category. This American-style wheat beer is dark in color and is brewed with hand harvested black walnuts.   The beer features an aroma of black walnuts and finishes with a black walnut flavor.

This is the second year in a row that Black Walnut Wheat has placed in the US Beer Open Championship. In 2015, Piney River took home a silver in the American Wheat Dark category for the beer.

According to Joleen Senter Durham, co-founder of Piney River Brewing, Black Walnut Wheat is the flagship beer of the Ozarks brewery. “No matter where it’s sold, Black Walnut Wheat is always our most popular beer,” Durham said. “It’s easy to drink, and the black walnuts in the beer provide an interesting aroma and flavor profile.”

Bronzeback Pale Ale won in the “International Pale Ale” category. This American-style pale ale is pale yellow in color and features a lot of flavor and aroma from multiple hop additions during brewing and after fermentation is complete. Galaxy and Citra are the featured hops in Bronzeback Pale Ale.

“Bronzeback is one of my favorite beers to brew and to drink,” Brian Durham, head brewer and co-founder of Piney River Brewing, said. “This beer is crisp in flavor and has great hop aroma.”

This is the first award for Bronzeback Pale Ale.

Amber Powell is lead brewer at Piney River Brewing. Powell oversaw the production and packaging of both beers that placed in the competition.

“It thrills Joleen and I to bring more recognition to craft beer being made right here in the Ozarks,” Brian Durham said. “Amber and the staff here are consistently turning out great beer.”

Piney River Brewing is located on Durham’s 80-acre farm, operating out of a restored 75-year old barn and a larger barn. The Durhams founded the brewery in 2010 with a 10-gallon brewing system. In 2015, Piney River Brewing produced over 2,200 barrels of beer, and completed a $1.2 million expansion on the farm, allowing the brewery to increase production with a new brew house, canning line and cold storage.

Piney River Brewing operates a tasting room that is open to the public every weekend. The brewery has distribution throughout most of Missouri and Arkansas.

A complete list of US Open Beer Championship winners can be found at


Piney River Brewing Wins Four Awards at US Open Beer Championship

In The Beer on July 7, 2015 at 10:56 pm
A line up of the four Piney River Beers that won awards at the US Beer Open Championship—Crankbait Cream Ale,  Black Walnut Wheat, McKinney Eddy Amber Ale and Hobby Farm Ale.

A line up of the four Piney River Beers that won awards at the US Beer Open Championship—Crankbait Cream Ale, Black Walnut Wheat, McKinney Eddy Amber Ale and Hobby Farm Ale.

Piney River Brewing won a gold and three silver awards at the US Beer Open Championships on July 4th. The competition featured over 4,000 beers from 90 different styles from breweries from around the world. An international panel of judges gave the awards based on blind taste tests.

Piney River’s Crankbait Cream Ale received a gold award in the “American Cream Ale” category. This beer is a spring seasonal for the brewery, so it is no longer in production until next spring.

Three silver awards were given to Piney River for McKinney Eddy Amber Ale, Black Walnut Wheat and Hobby Farm Ale.

McKinney Eddy Amber Ale received the silver in the “Irish Red Ale” category. This beer is made year round by the brewery. It was the first beer Piney River packaged for distribution at the brewery in 2011.

Black Walnut Wheat is the brewery’s flagship beer, and it took a silver in the “American Style Dark Wheat” category. This beer is made with locally sourced black walnuts.

Hobby Farm Ale is Piney River’s current seasonal beer, and it’s brewed with honey and fresh basil. Hobby Farm Ale’s silver was in the “Herb and Spice Beer” category.

“Once again, it’s a great honor for us to shine the spotlight on the Ozarks with these four awards,” Brian Durham, owner and head brewer at Piney River Brewing, said. “Our goal has always been to make high quality craft beer, and these awards show that the hard work of our brewing team is paying off.”

Piney River has also won gold awards at the World Beer Cup, the Great American Beer Festival and the Best of Craft Beer Awards.

All of Piney River’s beers are packaged in 16-ounce pint cans and kegs and sold for distribution throughout the Ozarks. Distribution is available in Missouri through Bluff City Beer in Cape Girardeau, Poplar Bluff and Herculaneum; Grellner Sales in Rolla, West Plains, Camdenton and Sedalia; Heart of America Beverage in Springfield and Joplin, and NH Scheppers in Jefferson City and Columbia. Glidewell Distributing in Fort Smith distributes Piney River beer throughout the state of Arkansas.

Currently a $1.2 million expansion is underway on the Bucyrus farm where the brewery is located. A larger brewhouse, fermentation and packaging line are part of the expansion in a 12,000 square foot building located next to the original barn where the brewery began.

Plans are currently underway for Piney River to expand distribution to St. Louis in the fall. Eventually, the brewery hopes to distribute beer throughout the entire state of Missouri.

Piney River Brewing Plans $1.2 Million Expansion at Bucyrus Farm

In The Beer on December 11, 2014 at 10:12 pm

Piney River Brewing will soon be available to more craft beer fans across the Ozarks with a $1.2 million expansion beginning this week at the Bucyrus, MO farm-based brewery.

The expansion includes a 12,000 square foot barn located near the current “BARn” production facility and tap room.

The new building will house a custom built 15-barrel three-vessel brew house from Criveller Company of Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada; four 60-barrel fermentation vessels and two 60-barrel bright beer tanks from Paul Mueller Company in Springfield, MO and a Series Three eight-head automatic canner from Wild Goose Canning in Boulder, CO.

This expansion is the third expansion since the company opened its doors in March 2011 as a nanobrewery, brewing 10 gallons of beer at a time. The brewery was also the first microbrewery in the state of Missouri to can beer on site in November 2011 with an MC100 two-head Wild Goose canning machine.

Piney River is on track to produce 1,800 barrels of beer in 2014, having produced 1,100 barrels in 2013 and 525 barrels in 2012. The new brew house and cellar will give Piney River the capacity to brew up to 9,000 barrels, with plenty of room for additional growth. The new equipment is slated to come on line by May 2015.

“Currently, the demand for Piney River beer is much greater than what we are able to supply,” Brian Durham, head brewer and owner, said.

Durham explained that retail shelves and distributor warehouses have been low and empty over the last few months because the brewery could not keep up with growing demand.

In October 2013 Piney River won a Great American Beer Festival gold for their Old Tom Porter, followed in April by a World Beer Cup gold for their Float Trip Ale. Both beers were seasonal brands until they claimed top accolades in their style.

“We are in a great situation for a small brewery, and with this expansion we are looking forward to being able to easily supply beer to all of our distributors,” Durham said. “We also hope to begin to distribute some Piney River in the major metropolitan markets in our state.”

Currently the brewery is distributed in all of central and southern Missouri and in Arkansas. Distribution is available in Missouri through Bluff City Beer in Cape Girardeau, Poplar Bluff and Herculaneum; Grellner Sales in Rolla, West Plains, Camdenton and Sedalia; Heart of America Beverage in Springfield and Joplin, and NH Scheppers in Jefferson City and Columbia. Glidewell Distributing in Fort Smith distributes Piney River beer throughout the state of Arkansas.

Durham noted that it was important to his distributors that the brewery would remain on the Durham family farm.

“We have a great Ozark spring water supply that helps us make excellent English-style ales, and a visit to the BARn tap room is truly an original Ozark experience,” Durham said.

The original brewery and the tap room are located in a 1940’s era restored barn located on the Piney River Farm.

Joleen Senter Durham, brewery co-founder, explained, “It’s an honor to share our little piece of heaven with the world.”

“Our goal has always been to produce high quality craft beer that celebrates the Ozarks,” Joleen Durham said, “We are fortunate to be living the American dream here in the Ozarks, too.”

When the new production facility is running, the Durham’s plan to re-purpose the brewing portion of the current BARn to produce small batch beer, including barrel-aging and sour beer production.

“We are looking forward to having space to tinker with new recipes and to create some special beer blends that will only be available on a very limited basis,” Brian Durham said.

For more information on Piney River Brewing visit their website at

Joleen, Brian, the BARn and award-winning beer.

Joleen, Brian, the BARn and award-winning beer.

Expanding the Piney River Beer Reach

In The Beer on March 19, 2014 at 10:36 pm

It’s taken a while, but finally we can say that we’re trying to quench the thirst for craft beer in Southeast Missouri!

Last Friday Bluff City Beer in Cape Girardeau sent a big old’ truck to Piney River to pick up a plethora of Piney Pints.

And the people of Southeast Missouri rejoice!

Let me take you back…a long way back. Brian and I have good friends in SEMO. They have wanted our beer since day #1. Then, Rodney Edwards at Grellner Sales (our first distributor) suggested we talk to his friends, the Bess family, in Cape when we were ready to expand our distribution. Meanwhile, our friends in SEMO were showing up at the brewery and bootlegging growlers and cases of Piney Pints back to their friends who were becoming Piney River fans. Piney River was expanding its reach, but so far no SEMO.

What you may not know is that if Brian didn’t live with me here in the heart of the Ozarks, he would probably live in SEMO. Why? Duck hunting. I will not pass up a wild duck breast and those rice fields are pretty, but I need trees and hills. So Brian dreams of skies filled with ducks and drives a little ways East to find it. And since we started the brewery Brian’s been pretty passionate about getting Piney Pints in all the blinds in SEMO.

Last May it was our great privilege to host Kathy Holloway and her husband, Keith, and David Bess from Bluff City Beer at the brewery. We talked hunting, fishing, raising boys (Kathy & Keith have two boys) and, of course, beer. Talking with them was like talking with friends. And as a small, family owned business, once again we had that great feeling about doing business with another longtime family owned business.

We wanted to get Piney Pints to SEMO last year, but then we had this little beer called Float Trip Ale come along, and we couldn’t make enough, but ALL YEAR LONG we were thinking about SEMO.

Finally this spring were were able to include Bluff City in our 2014 planning and brewing. We can’t send draft, but we have sent Piney Pints to the rice fields, duck blinds and Current River canoes and kayaks in SEMO. There is a great and growing love for craft beer in SEMO, and at Piney River we are all about growing the beer palates of our fellow rural Missourians in the Eastern part of our great state.

Drink up SEMO friends! We’ll make more! And raise a glass to the Bess family and Bluff City Beer for their support of locally brewed beer!


Prepared to be Overwhelmed–Our 3rd Aleiversary Tale

In Beer Events on March 17, 2014 at 9:36 pm

“If you would have told me a year ago that I would be standing here tonight making potato salad for ‘my staff’ for the Aleiversary After Party, I would have laughed.” That’s what I told Brian on Friday night about 9 p.m.

Install a bar in the upstairs tap room before the 1st Aleiversary? We did that in March 2012.

Put together tables and chairs for 100 before the 2nd Aleiversary? We did that in March of 2013.

Every year we’ve been building something until hours before our big event. This year, we had professional help from Tim Prater at the Wood Mill installing a new cherry rail and standing bar area and Randy Hendricks from Hendricks Home Builders in doing some bathroom work. My dad also went into the picnic table making business, adding another 10 tables to our collection of outdoor furniture. The township sent their grader that week and smoothed out the potholes and rough spots in our gravel road. Larry Booker hauled in chat for our drive and our expanded parking lot. Other than that, we just made sure the beer was ready, and oh yeah, we purchased compostable cups—no glassware washing this year!

“We are prepared to be overwhelmed,” I told everyone that asked “What are you doing?” to prepare for the Aleiversary.

An “All Hands on Deck” bulletin was given out to all the Piney River co-workers in November 2013…Our Christmas Party is on December 21, please attend if you can. Our Aleiversary is March 15th,we need you to work that day, all day.


Brian and I trekked out to the brewery on Saturday morning at 9 a.m., and the rest of our crew arrived between 10:30 and 11. At 10, Brian said, “I’m not sure we’re going to have everything set up by noon.” He was wrong, our staff knows what to do, and with all of us working together, we’re a mighty team. We were ready to pour beer and party at 11:45.

We extended the size of the parking lot…it was too small anyway. We moved the girlfriends out of their favorite pasture into the back and side pastures so more cars and trucks could park in the front field. Brian and Jamie parked vehicles at the beginning, and it wasn’t any time before the front lot was filled and the pasture and roadsides began being filled, too. My dad did an “unofficial count” of 147 cars sometime between 2 and 3 p.m.

Amber and Caleb ran the beer tent—Cream Ale, Black Walnut Wheat, Leo Brown Ale and Bronzeback Pale Ale were all that many people ever drank. They found a picnic table, brought a camp chair, got some food and never bothered to step inside the brewery.


The line to Mike and Julie’s Smoked Meats didn’t end until they ran out of food.

The bands—The Farethewells from Salem and Deep Fried Squirrel from Springfield—pumped their tunes outside so you could dance just about anywhere on the farm.


Debra, Lucas & Jonathan ran the tap room bar—a never ending sea of people clamored for drinks for at least seven hours straight. The tap room and the deck were full all day long.


We brewed and canned a special 3rd Aleiversary beer, Mule Team Imperial IPA. Mule Team was available on draft and four-packs were for sale. The Mule Team was a big hit, and we got to be the proud parents of our first big batch of Imperial IPA (there’s still some left–draft and four packs if you’re so inclined).

We had guests from neighboring states, towns throughout Missouri and locals. We had friends, neighbors and family. We prepared to be overwhelmed, and everything went extremely well. We ran out of almost all the special beers–yay! We ran out of paper towels–oops! Our co-workers were on their feet for 9 to 10 hours straight. They didn’t get planned breaks. They barely got to go to the bathroom. They were awesome! Luckily we asked Mike to smoke ribs and pork butt for us to go with the aforementioned potato salad along with baked beans and brownies. I don’t know what everyone was most grateful for at the end of the day–a seat at the fire pit or food.

After everyone went home, the food and beer were put away, the bonfire was coals, Brian and I couldn’t sleep we were so stoked about everything that happened in the day before. We didn’t sit, we had little time to talk with friends and family, we ran upstairs and down, we hooked and unhooked kegs, we worked, but what’s new. It was a GREAT day.

At some point during the day we ran into each other in the brewery. “We did it!” High five. Hug. Kiss. We are having some of the most fun of our lives.

As our Mule Team Imperial India Pale Ale label says:

Two people with a dream, an old barn, a love for the Ozarks and craft beer cannot succeed on their own. It takes a team–dedicated employees, partnerships with distributors, the support of friends, neighbors and craft beer lovers. Thank you for pulling with us over the past three years.

We’re still having the time of our lives! –Joleen & Brian Durham

Thank you so much! Cheers!