Increasing Focus

As always, it feels like getting Bucket Beer to market is just around the corner.  These days, though, that feeling is starting to show some strong signs of materializing.

On one front has been the ongoing hunt for the right distributor.  We’ve met with a lot of companies, ranging from large, regional companies with broad portfolios of beer and taps in almost every bar, to small one-man operations, and everything in between.  Each one brings to the table a set of strengths and weaknesses, as well as varying philosophies.  All of them are very interested in carrying us into the marketplace.  It’s been a tough choice to pick one with features that best match what we want and the way we work.  We have it narrowed down though, and will likely choose one within the next couple of weeks.  That is one key piece of the puzzle needed to get our beer out there.

Of course having some beer to distribute is key as well.  Fortunately that has been going well too.  The brewing process at the brewery is working well, and we have brewed on the past two weekends.  Beating the heat by going with the heat tolerant Saison style seems to be working, and early sampling of the fermenting beer tastes very promising!  The first batch will need another couple of weeks to be market ready, but once it is ready, there will be a steady supply following on a weekly basis.  We are brewing at 1/4 capacity at the moment which means we will probably debut at just one or two locations to start.  The steady brewing schedule and reliable process form the other key piece of the puzzle.  This is the first time both pieces have been in place, and I’m excited to finally start getting our beer out there!

Of course, while the Saison will be our first entry into the market, there are plenty of other beers that we have to put out there.  Once the temperatures are reliably moderate, we’ll start brewing some of those up.  While we wait, Erik and I have been busy doing small batches at home to refine the recipes and try out some new ones.  I took advantage of the long weekend to try a major revision to our IPA recipe.  We bought a big bag of Summit hops and wow, did they smell great!  I had to use them, so I replaced some of the other, more mild hops that I usually use with the Summit and expect an IPA with a great hoppy aroma.

At the same time I did my first experiment with a robust porter style. In November, Bucket is sponsoring the 6-Hour Ultra Marathon and Relay and race director Bob Jackman said that a porter would be the perfect beer for the occasion.  This brew was done with this in mind, but will no doubt make its way into general production as well.  This first batch smelled great in the brew pot, and I can’t wait to drink the finished product!

My last project of the weekend was more of a personal brew, but I’ll tell you a little about it anyway, just to inflict a little beer envy!  A few months ago I initially brewed up this Scottish export ale, and let it slowly ferment over three weeks in a nice, cool environment.  At the end of three weeks I moved it over to a used oak whiskey barrel I picked up.  I dropped the temperature to a chilly 35 degrees and let it age in the barrel and absorb lots of delicious, oak and whiskey flavor.  After a couple of months in the barrel, I finally put the thing into a keg and will start carbonating it.  I did pour a little bit into a glass to try and it is delicious!  I can’t wait for it to be on tap in my basement bar.  I’m not sure if Bucket will be able to reproduce this at a large scale any time soon, but the recipe will definitely go in our files for consideration down the line.

Thanks for checking in and enjoy the short work week!