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Northern California or Bust

When I was a younger brewer in training, my family spent our summer’s vacationing just South of Big Sur California each summer. It was usually August when we would load up my grandparents 5th wheel trailer and head out for a week of beach camping. We also spent time visiting Monterrey and San Francisco. I have very fond memories of each trip to Northern California.

Northern California Here We Come

As a brewer, I’ve lost track of how many times I have pointed my vehicle north on Interstate 5 or the 101 with the Bay Area (or beyond) as my final destination. It would seem that you cannot be a true lover of beer without making the pilgrimage to the birth place of Craft Brewing in this country. And, while I never found myself needing to hitch hike to get there, it was always a journey.

And so it is, that we’re about to celebrate our 4th Anniversary of brewing in San Marcos at Port Brewing (May of 2010), as we embark on another journey.

This Friday March 5th, Matt and I will head to Richmond, CA., home of Wine Warehouse North where we will introduce our beers to a sales force numbering about 90 people. This is very big news for us here at Port Brewing and The Lost Abbey.

We have patiently waited (some would say too long) to find a distributor for our beers in Northern California.

I for one, am very excited by this new partnership as it will allow us to focus on expanding our production and territorial reach. It’s no secret, we have been growing at a steady and manageable level since we opened our doors. Last year, we added no new territories as we sought to grow our brands with our new Microstar Keg Contract.

That was last year.

This is a “Go” year. I have been telling anyone who would listen to me for the past 6 months that this would be a “Go” year for us. I knew we would be focusing our energies on growing Port Brewing and The Lost Abbey closer to home. They call this sort of thing “Protecting your own Backyard.” Me, I call it simple math. California supports one of the largest economic opportunities for us and one that frankly we have neglected for too long.

I know this because yesterday, a truck backed up to our loading dock and pulled away 20 pallets of beer heavier. This may not seem like much beer for some brewers out there, but it’s a massive departure from our first few months when the Stone trucks would pickup 1-2 pallets worth of beer from us a week. Certainly, we don’t expect that each shipment will be 20 pallets large (although we can always dream). Yet, there was an air of accomplishment yesterday.

After work, we sat around and shared some beers. We remarked at the day that was Monday March 1, 2010. It’s not often a truckload of beer leaves our warehouse (as in exactly never before yesterday). Who knows, it may be another 4 years before this happens again (doubtful but possible). It was a great day on so many fronts.

So Northern California, here we come! It’s been a long time in the making and hopefully, we’ll live up to all the hype. 2010 promises to be a “Go” year.

And you know what? “Go” rhymes with “Grow”, which sounds pretty good to me.

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A 6-pack of Farmhouse Lager… and apparently 3 eggplants. Not quite sure what to do with those, but we have good beer, we’ll figure it out.

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