AMA Official Pipeworks AMA

Discussion in 'TalkBeer AMA' started by Powzy, Feb 7, 2015.

  1. Powzy

    Powzy DisapPowzment

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    Oct 1, 2013
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    Gene keep a close eye on this one. You'll need to delete it every couple of weeks. CansIn2022 (Gerrit) is on here now.
     
  2. Treebs

    Treebs

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    Apr 12, 2013
    Location:
    Chicago Burbs
    CansIn2022, I have a some questions that hopefully you'll answer:

    1) Why has it taken so long to open up a separate taproom/bottle shop?

    2) I still have my screen print coupon from my FwB deal. Is that still going to be honored once the tap room opens?

    3)I've noticed that most of your beers, regardless of style, fall within the same ABV range. Is there a reason behind this? I've enjoyed the beers that don't fall into that 8%-11% range and would like to see more of them.

    4) How easy/difficult is it to deal with the constant criticism?

    5) Are you actually going to can or you just trolling Chicago?

    6) Can you talk about why the Ninja series name went away? I'm assuming you got hit with a C&D? From Westbrook maybe?

    7) Do you have any regrets so far since you've started the brewery and if so, what are they?
     
  3. LSMroz

    LSMroz

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    Oct 1, 2013
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    NW Burbs of Chicago
    How much R&D goes into each new beer? Do you make test batches first? Or just come up with a recipe you think will work and brew and bottle?
     
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  4. CansIn2022

    CansIn2022

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2015
    All good questions. And actually happy those were asked. I'll start responding tomorrow when I have some free time.
     
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  5. CansIn2022

    CansIn2022

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2015
    "1) Why has it taken so long to open up a separate taproom/bottle shop?"

    Here's the short answer: Our neighbor of our current location was a tenant next door for 8 years. He said he was moving to a different location and asked us if we'd like to take over his lease. We said yes and signed a new lease to that effect and expected to take possession in November of 2013. He had complications securing his new location and ended up staying for another year. We fully expected to take possession of the proposed bottle shop space or we wouldn't have said anything about it (I don't know if I would have done it any differently or not to be honest. It's hard to say...). We weren't able to get possession until October of 2014. By this time we were already several months into our permitting process at our production facility. Our #1 priority now is the larger production facility. We don't want to risk complicating things, permitting, or budget-wise, with trying to get the bottle shop up and running until we are fully licensed and operational at the production facility. If we had taken possession of the bottle shop in 2013 as expected, before we started the production facility project, we would have opened the bottle shop as announced.


    "2) I still have my screen print coupon from my FwB deal. Is that still going to be honored once the tap room opens?"

    Of course.

    Longer answer to follow for both questions.
     
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  6. tinypyramids

    tinypyramids

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    Oct 30, 2013
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    do you have any near-term (before the new production facility) plans to kick out more lower-abv, more-reasonably-priced draft options like you did with lizard king? i find that the reason i wind up buying your beer less than the initial set of batches is the bomber premium (though i did crush the shit out of nelson on tap at logan arcade). i know cans are coming, but more releases like lizard king (whether as heavily promoted or not) would be awesome in the meantime.
     
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  7. CansIn2022

    CansIn2022

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2015
    Absolutely. Very excited to be doing that. I can go into the reasoning behind this more later. But we have traditionally been less than 5% of our packaged volume in draft. We've been increasing that percentage over the past several months leading up to the launch of cans. Currently were around 15% or so I think. We'll be releasing our other new year-roud canned product next month in the same draft only preview format as Lizard King. It'll be a 4.5-5% Belgian-style session ale with an experimental German aroma hop called Hallertau Blanc (which is similar to Nelson Sauvin). And we'll probably be able to sneak another release of draft only Lizard King in before we're canning. We're knocking the ABV back on that guy to 6% from 6.5%. Close Encounter will be returning in cans at around 6% as well (previously 8.5%). NvU will be 8% (opposed to the original 8.5% and later 9%) in cans. Glaucus (our Belgian-IPA) and Blood of the Unicorn (8.0%) will also be in our year-round can lineup.

    Here's a little preview of Lizard King can artwork:

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. CansIn2022

    CansIn2022

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2015
    also, regarding price, NvU and Blood of the Unicorn will have an MSRP of $11.99 for a 4-pack of 16oz cans. I haven't priced/costed the other 4 mainstays but I'm guessing they'll be in the $9.99 range.
     
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  9. Unbreakabolt

    Unbreakabolt

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    Sep 6, 2014
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Lizard king artwork is rad, can't wait to see the cans in store and the return of Glaucus.

    Any plans to bring back flower child or the fruited berliners?
     
  10. CansIn2022

    CansIn2022

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2015
    Yes. We stopped with Berliners in the current space because we don't have the room (time) to do them without screwing up our current production schedule. They'll be back... hopefully in cans...
     
  11. CansIn2022

    CansIn2022

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2015
    "3)I've noticed that most of your beers, regardless of style, fall within the same ABV range. Is there a reason behind this? I've enjoyed the beers that don't fall into that 8%-11% range and would like to see more of them."

    The brewery has evolved behind the scenes considerably since we've started. There was a time, around mid-2013, where our average ABV started to creep upwards. The turnover on our higher ABV bombers was quicker than that of similar beers in our portfolio with slightly lower ABV's. I think it comes down to a value proposition thing. If someone wanted to buy a 6-7% beer they'd probably buy it in a six pack rather than a bomber. There are plenty of great sixers out there that have that covered. Given the limits of our current facility, we can't compete with that. The economies of scale at the new facility will benefit us, and fans of Pipeworks greatly. It's night and day.

    "4) How easy/difficult is it to deal with the constant criticism?"

    Constant criticism from who? A small group of vocal people on select internet gathering places? It's interesting when people make that comment because that's the narrative that they see. It's a narrow view. I think our three years of placing in the Top 100 brewers on RateBeer, having 30+ beers in the Top 100 from Illinois on BA, as well as 4 in the Top 250 overall, also on untappd our Brewery Score places us in the top 100 Brewers as well (that info isn't available but I compiled it myself) speaks for itself. The fact is our beer sells and people like it, regardless of the narrative some of you guys choose to purport. We've gone from 350 barrels sold in our first year of business (10 months really) to almost 2,000 barrels sold this year. Also, we like what we make and put into bottles. A brewery is never going to be all things to all people... often it seems the most vocal criticism is from people asking us to be something that we aren't.

    "5) Are you actually going to can or you just trolling Chicago?"

    I guess that's up to you to figure out... I can't tell if this is a serious question or are you trolling me?

    "6) Can you talk about why the Ninja series name went away? I'm assuming you got hit with a C&D? From Westbrook maybe?"

    Yes, and not from Westbrook. It was a very amicable dealing.

    USTPO - Trademark Search
     
  12. CansIn2022

    CansIn2022

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2015
    I think there's a difference between us canning and our bottle shop progress. The bottle shop we made an announcement about when we had some movement on it and then it's gone silent ever since. It might definitely may have behoved us to have said something about the bottle shop stalling out last summer. I think maybe I was just trying to subconsciously not draw attention to it... it's very deflating to think we've made progress somewhere to find yourself hitting a brick wall. And I was too busy with the production facility to give much thought about the head ache that is the bottle shop. The progress at our production/canning facility has been extremely transparent and steady ever since we started dropping hints about it publicly when I visited our canning line manufacturer, Wild Goose, in Boulder in January of 2014 and posted video on Facebook.

    The canning line is in these boxes just waiting:

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Unbreakabolt

    Unbreakabolt

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Thanks for the response and that would be awesome. I can't think of any other local brewers putting out a product like that, would be a go to summer brew no doubt.

    On the tap room, It's a rough go to get your balls busted for trying to communicate with consumers about something you're excited about as a business, be completely transparent about the delay and still take shit. I don't quite get that.
     
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  14. sacrelicio

    sacrelicio

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    May 3, 2013
    Location:
    MPLS
    As if a business owner would want things to not go as smoothly as possible just to piss people off or something. Weird entitled attitude.
     
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  15. Treebs

    Treebs

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2013
    Location:
    Chicago Burbs
    CansIn2022 thanks for answering my questions. I'll address some of the questions/points you brought up.

    My question about the cans was more of a joke question, but also semi-serious. We get a lot of updates about the production facility and we hear "there will be cans", but up until your picture I had no idea you even purchased canning equipment. If I missed it on some form of social media that's my bad.

    Either way, I am glad it's a reality. As you mentioned in my question regarding ABV I totally understand that you're doing what's best financially for your brewery. I'm glad that lower ABV beers will be making an appearance in cans at a price point that's better per oz compared to your bombers.

    In regards to the criticism I take Ratebeer's outdated algorithm and Untappd check-ins with a grain of salt. Not that both areas aren't good feedback overall for your beers, but I guess I've seen more criticism for your beers in areas where people voice their opinions a little more. I feel people today are too afraid to "ruffle the feathers" so to speak of local brewers. Everyone is trying to get on breweries good sides and no one wants to be that dissenting voice. Also, I've seen some of the responses that you've had to a select few people regarding criticism of your beers which prompted my question as well. I'm not doubting or questioning the success the of your brewery, my question was strictly about the criticism. Stone is one of the most successful breweries around, but gets criticized every day. You can make good beer and still get criticized so that's where my question was heading.

    I'm looking forward to seeing how the brewery progresses as I've been around since day 1 as a FWB member. Just be thankful you put out beers as quickly as you did after the Kickstarter and you haven't turned into a laughing stock like Wakefield Brewing.

    Another question that I have is now that the production facility will be a reality are you going to follow the same model of Half Acre? Where their current brewery space and taproom will be a small batch brewing facility and all the production of their flagships and seasonals will be at the larger production facility?

    Also, are you planning a taproom and bottle shop at the production facility or are you still planning on taking over the space next to your existing brewery?
     
  16. jeblikesbeer

    jeblikesbeer

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2013
    Location:
    Straight FIBin
    I loved how (at least in my memory, which is probably flawed) publicly you spun that where the ninja lost out to the unicorn or something. the scurvy vs marilime law thing was also hilarious to me(from the public view of things)

    congrats on getting that C+D from one of the big guys

    also Lizard(as i told strong mike) may be my favorite beer you guys have made and the thoughts of it in cans has me rather giddy and the pricepoint you're talking about is great.
     
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  17. The Coming of Gose

    The Coming of Gose

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2013
    Location:
    FIB
    This is the question I have, for the most part. Put another way:

    - Have any of your beer ideas flopped so badly you didn't even bother to release them?
     
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  18. jeblikesbeer

    jeblikesbeer

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    Serious question though, why the 16 Oz cans in a 4 pack rather than 12s in a sixer?
     
  19. SSTroller

    SSTroller

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Location:
    SW Burbs - Chicago
    Do you guys have any plans to keep increasing this percentage, and if not, is there a reason? Is kegging your beer more expensive than bottling it? I would think it's cheaper but I honestly don't know.

    Maybe this is related to kegging being more expensive, but after you get the cans rolled out into market, is there a chance we'll see a decrease in price on draft pours at all? I know it's ultimately up to the establishment pouring them, but the price of trying some of your beers on tap around town is approaching that $1/oz mark (mostly talking about the DIPAs being poured in small pours for $8-10). I was looking forward to going out to try Lizard King during the release, but then saw it was $7 for a 10-12oz pour at LP Binnys (which I think consistently prices their drafts pretty fairly). For some styles I don't balk at that price, but for a pale ale, it just made me "settle" for a Daisy Cutter or any of the other local pales at $5/pint.
    As you can see, I'm really looking forward to the cans coming out in 7 years. :p
    Seriously though, thanks for taking the time for this. I think the AMA section is one of the best parts of the site.
     
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  20. jeblikesbeer

    jeblikesbeer

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    as far as I know the brewery can suggest a price, but its up to the place pouring to determine the price you as a consumer pay.