Good question. Actually, I have learn a lot about the tour biz in these short four months. I've learned that people will not commit too early to an event, even if it sounds awesome. I've learned that Philly people want out of Philly! I talked to , many a folk from Philadelphia during our travels to breweries and festivals, and they all tell me the same thing. Get a Craft Beer Bus to come to Philly and take us out of Philly to breweries and beer events in other parts of the state of PA. I have also learned that August is not a good month to do a tour. People are too bust, gone on vacation, getting ready to get the kids back in school....but they don't have time to enjoy a beer tour.
I've also learned that craft beer lovers are kindred spirits. We start off every tour as strangers and by the end of the first stop, everyone on the tour are friends and have found a common bond with their fellow Craft Beer Bus tourists. Cheers, cheers ,c cheers for beers, beer, beers! I just knew this Craft Beer Bus idea was a good thing!
The Craft Beer Bus kicked off this past Saturday, May 21, 2011, with our first ever CBB tour. I think if you spoke with those who attended they would tell you that their expectations were met on this one of a kind type of tour in the eastern PA area.
Everything went well, no major problems and the beer was out standing! No one went home thirsty.
One surprise to me at least was that some home brewers on the tour actually brought home brew on the tour and shared with everyone. So the party began even before we reached our first destination at Rock Bottom Brewing Company.
The tour there was good but the beer makers on the tour thought our tour guide was little out of her element. If at all possible, the brew master should conduct our on-site tours. But they work a lot of hours already and it is not always possible for them to be there on a Saturday.
The beer at Rock Bottom was delicious! Several growlers were purchased after the tour and were then shared on the bus as we headed to Sly Fox Brewing.
Sly Fox conducts a very informative tour, given by Asst. Manager Craig Hoffman, a home brewer himself. He really knows his beer stuff. Sly Fox was actually brewing while we were there so everyone got a nose full of their fresh wort. YUM! The Sly Fox tour also included their packaging operation which of course, includes canning.
I felt a little bad for those on the tour who were not part of the Craft Beer Bus because CBB folks were enjoying lots of beer during the tour. The others were not. I hope that next time they'll book a seat on a CBB tour and drink up!
The last leg of our first tour took us to the newly opened Appalachian Brewing Company in Collegeville, PA. They are not brewing on site yet so this part of the tour was more about seeing the new facility and tasting a lot of their scrumptious beer. General Manager Brett Litton made us all feel very at home and made sure our glasses remained full of beer. ABC is hoping to be brewing on site in late July or August.
If you check out the pictures we took and placed here on the web site I think you'll see the fun streaming through them.
I give a big shout out to the breweries and everyone else who made our first tour so memorable. Now, on to more tours and more brew-memories!
Okay, part of the allure of good quality craft beer is that there are many styles, many different types of beer to keep everyone happy. Even folks who claim they aren't beer drinkers and prefer other beverage such as wine will, when being honest, admit that there is a beer style that they do like and will drink.
So in that same, "can't we all just get along", vein let's discuss a merger of the two best things to do when visiting the Limerick PA area. I'm talking about shopping at the Philadelphia Outlet Mall and the Craft Beer Bus tours.
Let's try to keep everyone happy. Some family members really enjoy shopping at the out door type mall area and they come from all over the northeast to do so. Some family members do not enjoy this shopping experience. But, if those that do not had another option, something they could do that they would enjoy while the shoppers shop, the family could stay together, travel to the Limerick area and have a great day, together. The non-shoppers could book a seat on the Craft Beer Bus and enjoy a 4 hour tour of local or Philly breweries while their family shops at the mall. The non-shoppers would enjoy an afternoon of different beer styles and learn a thing or two about the brewing process. Isn't this the best of both worlds?
So the next time your family decides to visit the Limerick/Philly Outlet Mall for an afternoon of spending, you go to craftbeerbus.com and book yourself a seat on a brewery tour. At the end of the day, everyone will be happy.
Joe Sixpack is reporting on a new and, most likely, first practical use of Twitter.
Follow this link to read his article. http://www.joesixpack.net/currentColumn.htm
My two cents worth.......
IT'S ABOUT TIME!
Today we have all this technology. We can communicate in real time with each other from around the world. We can purchase anything our heart desires over our phones from anywhere.
But finally someone has figured out how to use technology to order a beer. This should open the door for many other practical beer uses for smart phones, Twitter, FB and the like. How about someone develop an application for smart phones, other than iPhones, to help me brew beer? Technology is our friend. Beer is our friend. It's time we put the two together for the good of all mankind!
I just got another reason to hate, no loath, no become nauseous every time I hear something about this royal wedding crap that is taking place this week in England.
The royal family has banned beer at the wedding.
Their opinion is that beer is not an appropriate beverage to serve in the presence of the Queen so they will only serve champagne and wine. Are you kidding me? Do they know how many beers their royal subjects consume each day? If it wasn't for beer, England would have no economy! They wouldn't have the ability to spend billions of dollars on this royal travesty.
This is exactly why real Americans could care less about the royal union. The nuptial doesn't take place until Friday but I am already sick of hearing about it. Why in the world does the American press think this event is so important that they all need to be there reporting live? Especially local news operations. Why does local TV news think that Joe and Joan "Philly" are going to spend one second watching this extravaganza on their local news channel? My opinion, it just gives them all an excuse NOT to cover the important things they should be covering in our country.
So, the royal family is SO above the rest of us that they won't allow beer at the wedding. This means war! I join many other beer outlets including the Beer Advocate by supporting a boycott of this event in any and all ways. Don't watch it, don't speak about it and, most of all, drink lot's a good beer on Friday as a reminder of one of the many reasons we broke away from the tyranny of the English empire. http://beeradvocate.com/news/3723194
I hope our Founding Fathers are not turning in their graves this week.
BOYCOTT THE ROYAL (pain in the ass) WEDDING!
Well it is about time!
Finally one of our representatives in Washington is proposing some that actually makes since in today's economy. Finally, one of our members of congress is saying something that is smart and could help to spark growth in America.
PA. Representative Jim Gerlach is proposing to cut the federal tax on beer by half in his Small Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce Act (BREW).
The tax on barrels 60,000 through 2 million would drop $2 to $16 per barrel. A small brewery is defined as one that produces less than 6 million barrels of beer each year.
This tax drop would help to stimulate production and create jobs in a country that has seen new applications for jobless benefits at nearly a half million each month for the past year. How could you not vote for any bill that produces jobs right now?
According to Rep. Gerlach , "the legislation would be a major boost to some of Pennsylvania's most innovative small businesses. In addition to producing world-class products, small brewery owners provide paychecks to thousands of Pennsylvanians."
Amen brother Gerlach! Congress should be reducing, if not eliminating all tax on small businesses that prevent them from growing and being successful. The federal government has created the economic atmosphere that has caused American businesses to flee our country and take their jobs to other countries. It is time to reverse that mood and stimulate business and jobs at all costs. And this is a great place to start. Our Founding Fathers were home brewers and I'm sure, have been rolling over in their graves every time the feds grab the cash out of a micro-brewers hand.
Read more about this at the following link:
The craft beer community never ceases to amaze me. They are generous, compassionate people who, not only have a heart for their product, but have a heart for man kind.
Case in point, TODAY, April 15, starting at 5pm, Iron Hill Brewing is donating 100% of their sales of their popular Rising Sun IPA to the victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the Pacific.
According to their news release,
"The beer, brewed with a Japanese strain of hops known as Sorachi Ace, will be available on draught at all eight Iron Hill locations throughout the region beginning at 5 p.m., and 100% of sales will go directly to support American Red Cross disaster relief efforts. "
My hat is off to Iron Hill Brewery. Too bad I am working tonight or I'd be the first in line! Someone please step up to the bar for me and have a few tonight in Phoenixville!
Can you point to a sector of business in this country that is growing faster, no, even as fast, as the craft beer business? I'm no expert in US business but I would venture to say that the craft beer biz is the fastest growing, American produced, market today. Last year sales were up a whopping 12%, according to BA and this year is on pace to demolish that stat.
Per the Victory Beer Blog, “Fourteen of the top 40 U.S. craft breweries have reported sales increases of 30% or more for early 2011. Victory Brewing Company in Downingtown, PA started this year by brewing and selling at a pace of more than 40% over last year.” It is conceivable that the current group of regional craft brewers will grow 20% in 2011.
Now that is growth! This proves two things;1. If you create a product that the American people want, they will buy it. And 2. Americans love good beer and want it when the economy sucks and they will buy it when the economy is good.
This is interesting reading but in no way a complete list of the best breweries in the country.
Beer News states in this article that this top 50 list is all about production/volume not quality.
So as you read the list remember that these breweries are about quantity. Some are also about quality but there are a lot of our/my favorite micro-breweries missing from this top 50.
That's okay. We'll just develop our own "BEST OF" list and post it here on the blog! Oh yea!!
Top 50 Breweries link
One of my favorite quotes through out history is from Ben Franklin who said, "Beer is proof that God loves us!" I could not agree more with the founding father. I often imagine the faces of the first people who were brave enough to taste the first beer concoction made by mistake after placing bread in a barrel of water. I have read that sailors stored their bread in the barrels thinking it would somehow preserve this important staple of life.
What they discovered was the first brew made from a reaction between the yeast in the bread and the drinking water in the barrel. Who would of thunk it? I guess they liked the taste (or were just really thirsty) and after letting it ferment a while they liked the buzz during those long voyages to new lands.
I have to believe a greater power had a hand in this wonderful accident.
I am also a big fan of history, specifically American history, so I get jazzed up thinking about our founding fathers brewing beer just like I do on my front porch today. Isn't it awesome to think that I could make the same porter that George Washington made 200 years ago?
well, as you can tell, I like beer, no I love beer and everything surrounding it. Creating the Craft Beer Bus is a labor of love for me and a dream come true. I can be part of the growing craft beer scene just short of starting my own brewery. Who knows, but if CBB really takes off and is successful it could create the seed money needed to also open the CBB micro-brewery!
I'm excited to offer the tours because they will allow me to meet new craft beer fans and introduce new people to the delicious nectar and home brewing. My excitement also comes from the fact that CBB is providing business for local micro-breweries, pubs, home brew supply stores and other businesses needed to pull off the tours. This is consistent with the entire micro-brew beer culture of helping each other out while developing a quality product. This mind set is a big portion of our mission to you and to the facilities we tour. I look forward to seeing you as you "hop" on the Craft Beer Bus!