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Old 10-30-2007, 05:14 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTpilot
But our beers change from batch to batch, it may be a change in the recipe, or a change in the temperature of the strike water. They are not changes to make more money, they are changes to make the beer better.
Or, it's a change because a particular batch is going to a competition, and you want it to be better than the product you're actually selling.

I have no issue with changes made to compensate for varying ingredients or conditions. That's just proper, brewing technique, and probably quite necessary to maintain production of a reasonably consistent product. But if your brewery is intentionally altering batches specifically for the sake of competition (as you've already stated) and has any intention of using awards for marketing purposes, it absolutely is deceptive and misleading to your customers.

Is it unethical....well, yeah! It doesn't quite rank up there with Enron's shenanigans, but it's unethical. All's fair in homebrewing, but once you start selling to the public there has to be some level of accountability.
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Old 10-30-2007, 01:57 PM   #12
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I think doing small batches as 'handmade' could have a niche.
You'll have to take measures to stand out though...

some ideas:

-Bottle with 22 oz or champagne bottles
-use your label to tell a story. Make batches for local events and indicate it on the label, clearly date it, brewed on, aged X, bottled etc.
-perhaps wax seal your extra special batches
-cycle styles thoroughout the seasons
-try to encourage consumer feedback and involve the public
-get local artists to do label work

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Old 10-30-2007, 02:28 PM   #13
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First off, to the OP: In theory, without the ever-present evil hand of the government on your shoulder, your idea might be economically viable. Might. That would depend on the local market for craft brew. But unfortunately, that evil hand is on your shoulder...telling you how much beer you need to make, and demanding extortio...er, tariffs in exchange for the "right" to sell your product. It's a cruel, cruel f*cking world for the guy who just wants to start a small business...and this is especially true when it comes to certain "evils" like booze. The government regulates and taxes the hell out of alcoholic beverages, because this country still has yet to break free from its puritanical roots. It's a sad reality that you will indeed face if you attempt such an undertaking. The biggest obstacles right off the bat would be the licensing and registration fees, but more importantly, the production minimums. I don't know where you live, but most state liquor boards require tens of thousands of gallons per year of production just to maintain a beer business. Why do they do this? I'm sure they have some kind of logic-bending "it's for the children" justification for it, but the truth is that the larger companies have money to "lobby" (read: bribe) officials to protect their market share by keeping smaller companies from being viable. It's dirty, it's underhanded, and it's the reality of our government. You'll notice it in other industries too...for instance, there's a local goat farm that produces great goat cheese. But he got "shut down" because "big dairy" lobbied the government to bolster the laws and regulations in the industry, and increase their reach to the smallest of small guys. Now, of course, the gubmint will say that it's just protecting the consumer from evil tainted goat cheese, but everyone knows the truth.

Anyway, /soapbox.


And as for MTpilot's issues, I believe that, as long as they are above board with their "additions" and tell the customers everything, it's completely ethical. But the minute they hang a competition medal from the menu board and call it an "award-winning brew", but don't offer up that exact same recipe to the customer, it becomes an egregious case of ethical spoilage. I mean, let's say a brewery has 4 beers, all of them mid-to-low OG brews and nothing out of the ordinary. One day, they brew a high-og Old Ale and age it in oak, then send it off to competitions. They win a medal. Hey, they hang that medal in their brewpub. Cool. But they don't offer that beer to the public. No worries...until you make the inference that some of your regular beers are award-winners. This isn't really any different, but it's all about how you communicate with your customers.

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Old 10-30-2007, 03:30 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan!
First off, to the OP: In theory, without the ever-present evil hand of the government on your shoulder, your idea might be economically viable. Might. That would depend on the local market for craft brew. But unfortunately, that evil hand is on your shoulder...telling you how much beer you need to make, and demanding extortio...er, tariffs in exchange for the "right" to sell your product. It's a cruel, cruel f*cking world for the guy who just wants to start a small business...and this is especially true when it comes to certain "evils" like booze. The government regulates and taxes the hell out of alcoholic beverages, because this country still has yet to break free from its puritanical roots. It's a sad reality that you will indeed face if you attempt such an undertaking. The biggest obstacles right off the bat would be the licensing and registration fees, but more importantly, the production minimums. I don't know where you live, but most state liquor boards require tens of thousands of gallons per year of production just to maintain a beer business. Why do they do this? I'm sure they have some kind of logic-bending "it's for the children" justification for it, but the truth is that the larger companies have money to "lobby" (read: bribe) officials to protect their market share by keeping smaller companies from being viable. It's dirty, it's underhanded, and it's the reality of our government. You'll notice it in other industries too...for instance, there's a local goat farm that produces great goat cheese. But he got "shut down" because "big dairy" lobbied the government to bolster the laws and regulations in the industry, and increase their reach to the smallest of small guys. Now, of course, the gubmint will say that it's just protecting the consumer from evil tainted goat cheese, but everyone knows the truth.

Anyway, /soapbox.


And as for MTpilot's issues, I believe that, as long as they are above board with their "additions" and tell the customers everything, it's completely ethical. But the minute they hang a competition medal from the menu board and call it an "award-winning brew", but don't offer up that exact same recipe to the customer, it becomes an egregious case of ethical spoilage. I mean, let's say a brewery has 4 beers, all of them mid-to-low OG brews and nothing out of the ordinary. One day, they brew a high-og Old Ale and age it in oak, then send it off to competitions. They win a medal. Hey, they hang that medal in their brewpub. Cool. But they don't offer that beer to the public. No worries...until you make the inference that some of your regular beers are award-winners. This isn't really any different, but it's all about how you communicate with your customers.
Good info!

Do you have more information on licensing, registration, tariffs, limits, etc? I'm just looking to get educated, but nothing online gives me any real answers. I called my local fascists for alcohol (forget their official name), left a message no return calls..
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Old 10-30-2007, 03:49 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan!
And as for MTpilot's issues, I believe that, as long as they are above board with their "additions" and tell the customers everything, it's completely ethical. But the minute they hang a competition medal from the menu board and call it an "award-winning brew", but don't offer up that exact same recipe to the customer, it becomes an egregious case of ethical spoilage. I mean, let's say a brewery has 4 beers, all of them mid-to-low OG brews and nothing out of the ordinary. One day, they brew a high-og Old Ale and age it in oak, then send it off to competitions. They win a medal. Hey, they hang that medal in their brewpub. Cool. But they don't offer that beer to the public. No worries...until you make the inference that some of your regular beers are award-winners. This isn't really any different, but it's all about how you communicate with your customers.
I agree here. After thinking about this overnight, this might have been the first time we made it like that. If the beer had won a medal, I can't imagine any way that we would have gone back to less hops (and we are still talking about dry hopping, not even changing the IBUs)

And once again, we're brewing the same beer, not sending an old ale to competition and selling a mild under the same name. I think this got blown out of proportion some how.
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Old 10-30-2007, 03:55 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El_Borracho
Good info!

Do you have more information on licensing, registration, tariffs, limits, etc? I'm just looking to get educated, but nothing online gives me any real answers. I called my local fascists for alcohol (forget their official name), left a message no return calls..
Depends on where you live. It's different in every state. I'd just keep calling those local booze fascists.
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.planned:
•Scottish 80/- •Sweet Stout •Roggenbier
.primary | bright:
98: Moss Hollow Soured '09 72: Oude Kriek 99: B-Weisse 102: Brett'd BDSA 104: Feat of Strength Helles Bock 105: Merkin Brown
.on tap | kegged:
XX: Moss Hollow Springs Sparkling Water 95: Gott Mit Uns German Pils 91b: Brown Willie's Oaked Abbey Ale 103: Merkin Stout
98: Yorkshire Special 100: Maple Porter 89: Cidre Saison 101: Steffiweizen '09 (#3)
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Old 10-30-2007, 04:08 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan!
The government regulates and taxes the hell out of alcoholic beverages, because this country still has yet to break free from its puritanical roots.
I'm not a conspiracy theorist, I believe the evil-doers of the world have enough power to be quite open about it.

There are three things in this country taxed excessivly:

1.) Oil
2.) Alcohol
3.) Tobacco

I find it no co-incidence that two of the three are physically addictive and that the first is culturally addictive. (How many environmentalists would complain about Wal-Mart prices if the trucking industry stopped burning oil today?)

I don't think it's so much that alcohol is "evil" but that alcohol is a tax-based cash cow.
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Old 10-30-2007, 10:45 PM   #18
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I want to open a brewery. Not a large micobrewery with all the bells and whistles, but a brewery with a soul. A brewery that when people that have tried its products hear the name, it puts a smile on their' faces, atleast on the inside. Just like with scotches, I want a brewery the makes each batch by hand with out the use of computers and fancy machines. A brewery that advertises its products as different and unique in there own right. Where the beer they had last month is the same recipe this month, but because its done by hand, and we as humans aren't perfect, it has those slight nuances that are very subtle, that the person with the refined palate such as the wine drinker will appreciate in each bottle they have and enjoy the little differences. Could a brewery such as this survive with the proper marketing tools and reaching the right audience? I think it could, but I want to know what all of you think.

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Old 10-30-2007, 10:48 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davefleck
I think doing small batches as 'handmade' could have a niche.
You'll have to take measures to stand out though...

some ideas:

-Bottle with 22 oz or champagne bottles
-use your label to tell a story. Make batches for local events and indicate it on the label, clearly date it, brewed on, aged X, bottled etc.
-perhaps wax seal your extra special batches
-cycle styles thoroughout the seasons
-try to encourage consumer feedback and involve the public
-get local artists to do label work
I thought of the champagne bottles and stories on the bottles and cyle through seasons and the public. I want to bring out the artisan side of brewing beer. I want to brew and still be able to keep the "dreamy" part of brewing in tact. That's half of what makes it fun to do.
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Old 10-31-2007, 01:40 AM   #20
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State and federal licenses alone(not counting state and fed tax by the oz.) are a few grand a year. I did some rough research and determined that there was no fricking way i could make it without going too big,which defeated the whole mini-micro brew thing.Instead i was thinking trading growlers(bartering) for things.I sooooo want to sell my great suds but it won't work on a small scale legally.If i can have guests pitching yeast for me i theoretically am not gonna have the 200 gal limit.Anyways,these are some of my skewed ideas on the subject .
Cheers

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