04 May Pilot Brews? Packaging? I Am The Walrus?
Since we first announced our intentions to open Call to Arms Brewing Company, we’ve faced countless questions about the project, ranging from the fairly obvious: “Are you going to package?,” (sorta), “Are you going to focus on a specific niche, i.e., Belgian beers, high-ABV beers?” (no), to the relatively obscure: “How about brewing a beer named after our high school mascot?” (Play your cards right, Willy). Above all else, however, the most common questions revolve around our beer lineup, and if we’re brewing small batches of our planned recipes in anticipation of our opening. In short, we’ve designed a number of our recipes, but we’re not homebrewing any pilot batches – and to be honest, the actual beer lineup generally takes a backseat to the realities of the everyday. Without any hop contracts, we’re remiss to create a Citra-based IPA, and without any true understanding of how often we’ll bring grain in-house, or how many fermies we’ll actually buy, or how many yeast strains we can truly afford to have on hand (or however many more ands, ors, ifs, and whathaveyous), we can’t do anything more than dream of the unexpected while partaking in its prevalence.
In hindsight, I remember asking similar questions when friends of mine decided to launch their own breweries, and their responses were akin to ours: we’ve got something in mind, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. We certainly have an idea of what our core brands will be, and without going into too much detail, we’re excited at the prospect of having a Vienna lager, a low-ABV pale ale, an oatmeal porter, and a dunkelweizen on tap at all times – but right now, we’re focusing on the more thrilling parts of opening a brewery: scouting locations and raising money. This isn’t to take away from the importance of what our tap lineup will consist of so much as it is the simple fact that craft beer is – at it’s very core – a business, and whatever romanticized beers we end up brewing will only exist because of the very-unromantic legwork that goes into talking to everyone from the inconversant real estate brokers that only care about “how much skin” we have in the game, to the incredibly gracious folks who’ve reached out to us through the first few months of our existence.
The great thing is, every question brings about a different way of approaching the answer, and due to these inquiries, we’ve been able to modify – and one hopes, improve – the very framework of Call to Arms Brewing Company. The three of us have been a part of the beer industry, in one way or another, for 20+ years, but experience is only as important as the knowledge one hopes to gain through the constant quest for new information – and in our opinion, the easiest way to learn is through attentive listening. So please, keep the questions coming, and if you have an idea, question, comment, concern, (slogan, tee-shirt hookup, possible investor, extra bright tank, spare tire), give us a holler; we’ll gladly respond as promptly as googley possible.
As we’ve said before, thanks to every single person who’s Liked us, invested in us, talked about us, emailed and messaged us – without you, the fans and supporters, we’re just a logo and a name.
Cheers (and GO RANGERS!),
The Call to Arms Team