Piney River Brewing Company

Posts Tagged ‘Wild Goose Canning’

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.

Cheers!

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A Grand Opening & You’re Invited

In Beer Events on January 7, 2016 at 11:14 pm

piney river farm with signPiney River Brewing is planning a grand opening weekend for their new brewing facility on February 5, 6, and 7, 2016. The weekend event will begin with ribbon cutting at 2 p.m. that Friday on the Piney River Farm in Bucyrus.

Piney River Brewing recently completed the largest expansion in the history of the brewery. The expansion includes a 12,000 square foot barn located near the current “BARn” production facility and tap room.

The new building houses 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.

The new brew house and cellar will give Piney River the capacity to brew up to 10,000 barrels of beer, with plenty of room for additional growth.  In 2015, Piney River produced just over 2,000 barrels of beer.

“Everyone that regularly visits the BARn has watched the construction progress at our brewery over the past year,” Brian Durham, head brewer and owner, said. “We are excited to have a weekend to celebrate with our friends, family and everyone that loves Piney River beer.”

The ribbon cutting is open to the public at 2 p.m. on Friday, February 5th. Joleen and Brian Durham will give tours of the new brewing facility all weekend long at the top of every hour beginning at 3 p.m. on Friday until 8 p.m. that night. Tours will be available from 2 to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 12 to 4 p.m. on Sunday. There is no charge for a tour of the brewery.

In addition to the opportunity to tour the brewery throughout the weekend, Mike and Julie’s Smoked Meats will be available for purchase on Friday and Saturday.

“None of this growth would have been possible without the great support from our local community, the craft beer lovers throughout Missouri and Arkansas that have been drinking our beer for the past four years, and our distribution partners,” Durham said. “We hope that everyone that is able will join us during the grand opening weekend. We are proud to share this beautiful addition on our farm with them.”

Currently the brewery is distributed in most of 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; NH Scheppers in Jefferson City and Columbia; and Summit Distributing in Saint Louis. Glidewell Distributing in Fort Smith distributes Piney River beer throughout the state of Arkansas.image

 

Brewcyrus Does Portland, A CBC 2015 Recap

In Beer Events on April 20, 2015 at 10:13 pm

“This is insane,” the cab driver said to Brian and I.

He was talking about the 11,000+ people in attendance at the Craft Brewer’s Conference in Portland last week.

“We aren’t able to handle groups like this,” the cab driver said. “We had a big coffee convention here, but those people didn’t go out to big events every night and need rides everywhere.”  (Which leads me to believe that the coffee folks just don’t have nearly as much fun as the beer folks.)

This was our 5th time to attend a Craft Brewer’s Conference, our first time to visit Portland, and the first time we were able to take our brewers—Amber and Lucas—to the conference, too. I’m sure we can all do much more damage to the Portland experience in the future, but while we were there we went hard and jammed as much fun as we could into the hours our feet were on Oregon soil.

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Left Bucyrus about 4:15 a.m. (CST) on Tuesday morning. Our plane landed in Portland about 2 p.m. (PST), and we were at Breakside Brewery drinking their GABF Gold Medal winning IPA and Pale Ale within two hours. Special thanks to the staff at Breakside for showing us around and for incredible hospitality.

A barrel full of tasty pours at Breakside.

A barrel full of tasty pours at Breakside.

And if it isn’t a small world—while at Breakside, we met Breakside brewmaster Ben Edmunds, and he asked, “Piney River? Do you make a porter?”

Of course we make a porter. Our Old Tom Porter had been part of the “Best of Craft Beer Awards” held in Oregon in January (where we bagged a gold award for our Masked Bandit IPA), and Ben was one of the judges. He liked the porter enough that he snagged the extra can of Old Tom Porter to take home and enjoy.

Checking out the barrel room at Breakside.

Breakside brewer, Nao, showing us the barrel room at Breakside.

We went from the brewery to the circus-themed opening ceremony where we started catching up with our craft beer friends and family while noshing on piles of oysters and Voodoo Donuts, all paired with Oregon-brewed craft beer. And that was followed by a fun little party in our hotel hosted by Lagunitas Brewing. No naps needed, it was an hour or two into Wednesday morning before we closed our eyes.  Time change and jet lag?  Take that!

Opening Reception at CBC 2015

Darth Vader on Bagpipes, Opening Reception at CBC 2015

Fire hoops at the Opening Reception, CBC 2015.

Fire hoops at the Opening Reception, CBC 2015.

We ran into David, Kathy, Keith and Alex from Bluff City Beer and Logan and Rodney from Grellner Sales.  It's one big happy craft beer family!

We ran into David, Kathy, Keith and Alex from Bluff City Beer and Logan and Rodney from Grellner Sales. It’s one big happy craft beer family!

On the bazillion square foot trade show floor at the conference we all fought off ADD trying to keep track of where we had been, who we talked to, where we wanted to go, who we needed to talk to all while being distracted by things we had never seen. Shortly after the trade show opened, we were all aware that our new Wild Goose Canning Machine was part of their floor display. How exciting is that?

Wild Goose Canning!  Piney River Brewing!  We CAN! Part 2...coming soon!

Wild Goose Canning! Piney River Brewing! We CAN! Part 2…coming soon!

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There were educational seminars every day on very exciting beer topics like “Yeast Management”, “Dry Hopping” and “Operating in Confined Spaces” that Lucas, Amber and Brian went to. Making high quality beer is numero uno at Piney River, but I attended classes that helped me stay in the know on the marketing and selling of craft beer in classes like “DIY Kick Ass Beer Festivals”.

We went to sweet parties at night hosted by Lagunitas, Oskar Blues and industry suppliers. We had the most fun on Thursday night at “We Can Jam” a canned craft beer party at the Wonder Ballroom hosted by Wild Goose, Crown and others supplying the canned craft beer industry. The event featured canned craft beer, music by Scott Pemberton Trio and The Supersuckers, and a photo booth.

Hey!  It's our West Coast craft beer family--Mike & Linda Hess and brewer, Frank.  We first met Mike & Linda in San Francisco at CBC 2015, and last CBC we both won World Beer Cup Gold Awards in Denver at CBC 2014.

Hey! It’s our West Coast craft beer family–Mike & Linda Hess and brewer, Frank Butler, from Mike Hess Brewing in San Diego. We first met Mike & Linda in San Francisco at CBC 2011.  Last CBC we both won World Beer Cup Gold Awards in Denver at CBC 2014.

This is called: How Many Brewers Can We Fit in a Photo Booth?

This is called: How Many Brewers Can We Fit in a Photo Booth?

The Supersuckers at Wonder Ballroom

The Supersuckers at Wonder Ballroom

A little Piney River fun in the We Can Jam photo booth.

A little Piney River fun in the We Can Jam photo booth.

(It was in the photo booth we determined that Brian lost his CBC badge. Have you seen The Hangover…everybody is having fun that they can’t remember the next morning, so they look at the photos. That was us. On Friday morning, when Brian couldn’t find his conference badge, we had to look back through photos from the night before. Brian was last seen wearing his badge in the We Can Jam photo booth. He must have accidentally removed it when he took off the feather boa he was posing with.)

It was at We Can Jam that we with the help of the Wild Goose employees dreamed up the idea of the best canning machine install ever—Canapalooza at Piney River Farm. We decided that it would take the entire Wild Goose crew to help install our new machine…and a bonfire…and beer…and Lucas delivering firewood…and beer…and a float trip…and beer…and music…and beer….all in the beautiful Ozark hills of Brewcyrus. No word on when the bus from Boulder will arrive….

We did not put our politics aside while in Oregon. Everyone from Piney River stopped at the Brewer’s Association booth and sent an emails to US Representative Jason Smith and US Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt asking them to co-sponsor the Small BREW Act because excise tax reform for small breweries is an important thing to all of us craft brewers and it will help create jobs and provide funds to reinvest back into our local breweries. And I stepped up into a board role for Missouri Small Brewer’s Guild.

The Brewer’s Association puts on an excellent conference every year. Not only is it fun, but it’s an opportunity for breweries of all sizes to come together and network and learn together. The commitment to high quality craft beer is unwavering, and the industry suppliers know that we want the tools to help us achieve that. We can see a lot of those tools first hand. We also were able to take part in a full slate of classes with excellent guest lecturers. Brewing is not always glamorous or high paying, but it is awesome to be able to connect with others in the industry in this way once a year.

Before 12 a.m., we were on the Friday night red-eye flight out of Portland.  Saw the sun come up in Detroit.  Found ourselves back in Bucyrus by 1:30.  Three time zones stops in 9 hours.  #howweroll

Next year’s conference is in Philadelphia. Brian and I are going back to the scene of the crime—that’s where we first met in September 1992 at small liberal arts college on the Main Line. And that’s when the next World Beer Cup Awards will be held, too.  We imagine that it may just be another good time.

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 http://www.pineyriverbrewing.com.

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

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

The Behind the Scenes Peek at Our First World Beer Cup Win

In The Beer on April 15, 2014 at 9:36 pm

I need to preface this blog post by saying that I feel like anything I write here is going to seem much less dramatic than Piney River’s first big win at the Great American Beer Festival.  Even in those moments after we won Gold at GABF last October, I remember thinking, “There will never be another moment like this one.”  There’s only one first time.

Shortly after the 2013 Great American Beer Festival, we were contacted to participate in the largest beer competition in the world–the World Beer Cup.  Also put on by the Brewer’s Association, the World Beer Cup is an international stage for the winning beers.  Gold, silver and bronze “cup” awards are given based on blind taste judging from a panel of judges–mostly from around the world.  A World Beer Cup is held for two years because the competition is only held every other year,  and this year, the World Beer Cup was scheduled to be held in Denver on Friday night following the Craft Brewer’s Conference.

Again, we entered the maximum number of beers–this time it was four styles.  In February, Brian and I sat at the dining room table with four packs of freshly canned beer around us.  We made our selections and sent our beers to Denver about a month ahead of the competition.

I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that Brian and I had more than one conversation about the possible “huge year” that we could have with a GABF gold followed by a World Beer Cup win.  Was it possible?

We arrived in Denver last Monday evening.  We attended our first Craft Brewer’s Conference (CBC) in San Francisco in 2011.  Over the past four years, we’ve watched the conference more than double in size.  The trade show floor has grown too large to leisurely walk through.  But the quality of the programs and the access to industry tools and information is unparallelled.  Although we get up early and stay up way too late every night, Brian and I really enjoy taking a vacation from our day jobs to attend the CBC.

Most importantly, we get to be with “our people“.  The longer we are in the industry, the more people we know.  Sometimes we only see these people once a year, so it’s sort of like a mini-family reunion–with lots of beer!

cbc 2014 denvercbc 2014 mile highcbc 2014 stringdusters

Some highlights of the week–Great meal and craft beer at Euclid Hall.  CBC opening reception at Mile High Stadium.  Canarchy at Star BarThe Infamous Stringdusters in concert at the Ogden Theatre hosted by Oskar Blues Brewery.  Interesting seminars on everything from dissolved oxygen in your beer (yes, this is something we do worry about) to forecasting sales of seasonal beers.  We even got to see Andy  featured on the trade show hall floor in the You Tube I made of our labeling machine in action labeling cold, wet cans coming off our Wild Goose canning line.

Friday night and the World Beer Cup Gala rolled around really quickly.  This time there were no dreams of winning gold while sleeping the night before.  No “signs” on the trip to Denver.  Again, we found ourselves sitting amongst a bunch of folks from California.  Charlie Papazian had his tuxedo on.  The lights dimmed.  The awards ceremony began.

cbc 2014 wbc gala 2cbc 2014 wbc gala 1

Four-thousand seven hundred fifty-four beers from 1,403 breweries representing 58 countries were included in the competition.  (This was a 21 percent increase over the 2012 World Beer Cup.)  Stiff competition.

I’ve always teased Brian about being an immediate gratification kind of guy, and that’s exactly what we got on Friday night.  American-style wheat beer was the first category.  Bronze and silver were announced and popped up on the large screens in the ballroom.  “And the gold goes to…”

“Float” was all that Chris Swersey was able to say before Brian was whooping and jumping up out of his chair beside me.

Things were moving in slow motion for me.  I remember hearing Brian start getting rowdy, but I sat and watched our name fill the screen.

There it was “Float Trip Ale” in large print with “Gold” right next to it.

High fives.  Hugs.  And then we were standing next to Paul Gatza getting ready to walk on stage for a photo with Charlie Papazian.  AGAIN!

world beer cup award by hess

As we left the stage, there were arrows pointing us back behind some curtain where our actual award engraved with our name was given to us.  Andy Sparhawk, the craft beer coordinator at the Brewer’s Association, came running over to us, eyes as big as saucers.  Andy was the one that asked back in October last year, “What will you do if you win?”, referring to the possibility of a GABF award.

Andy, Brian, and I had an “Oh my god, how is this possible?!” moment together.  More high fives and yelling.  This is the stuff dreams are made of !

This time, Brian had the shakes.  He went to get us celebratory beers, and he couldn’t hold the glasses still.  As we weaved our way through the crowd to get back into the ballroom, our friends from The Public House Brewery in Rolla were on a back row with high fives and hugs.

Hey Brian--It's a World Beer Cup GOLD!

Hey Brian–It’s a World Beer Cup GOLD!

When we got back to our seats, one of the ladies from the California group, said, “You freaked us out.”  Then she wanted to know exactly who we were.

That was the only award for Piney River that night.  But as we know, one is all you need.

Two hundred twenty-six breweries went home with one award that night.  Twenty-six breweries won two awards, and one brewery won three.  Twenty-eight percent of the awards went to breweries outside the US.  We saw World Beer Cup awards go to breweries from all over Europe, and also to breweries in Asia, Australia, South and Central America.

We were there to witness our friends from Mike Hess Brewing in San Diego as they received their first major award–a World Cup Gold for Rye beer.  Mike Hess Brewery started out as a nanobrewery, and we first met the Hess family in 2011 at the San Francisco CBC.  Mike Hess recently put in a larger brewhouse and canning line.  I got to yell, “Gold, baby!”  Brian ran up and high fived the whole crew on their way to the stage.  After the ceremony we all went to the top of the hotel and celebrated with a bottle of champagne.

Cloud 9--it's somewhere near the top of the Hyatt Regency in Denver

Cloud 9? It’s somewhere near the top of the Hyatt Regency in Denver.

The Hess crew celebrating GOLD!

The Hess crew celebrating GOLD!

Once again, we are fortunate to receive a huge honor for an extremely Ozark-centric beer.  Float Trip.  A “float trip” is a quintessential Ozark experience.  We’ve made a world class beer that celebrates something that we all love to do in the Ozarks.  Even better–this beer is a great beer to drink when you’re on a float trip!

Yeah, it’s still insane here at Piney River, but the time of our lives just keeps getting better and better.

cbc 2014 wbc award

Piney River Brewing received their gold award at the 2014 World Beer Cup held in Denver on Friday night.  Shown here, left to right:  Brian Durham, head brewer and co-founder; Joleen Durham, co-founder, and Charlie Papazian, president of the Brewer’s Association.

Piney River Brewing received their gold award at the 2014 World Beer Cup held in Denver.  Shown here, left to right: Brian Durham, head brewer and co-founder; Joleen Durham, co-founder, and Charlie Papazian, president of the Brewer’s Association.