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The Angel’s Release Party

Over the weekend, we rolled out the 2007 Brandy Barrel Aged bottling of The Angel’s Share. Since we first released this beer in November of 2006, it has become a media darling, an online tradeable commodity and for some, a profit center. Some beers just have all the luck I suppose.

Many of our most passionate fans and locals have been eagerly awaiting the 2007 version as their 2006 stocks have been depleted. For this years batch, we extended the contact time on the oak by 2 months and we used the Brandy Barrels from the first batch a second time. These freshly emptied barrels will now be moving sideways into our Cuvee program where we hope to gain some more complexity from the newly emptied barrels and their spiritous remains. It’s good news for Cuvee fans as more barrels equals more bottles each year.

I’m going to keep this blog way shorter than most. Essentially, I am exhausted from the weekend and don’t feel too much like writing. Yet, I wanted to make a point to thank everyone (in print) who volunteered for the weekend to help us successfully release the 2007 bottling.

Here’s the most important details for consumers then:

The 2007 Brandy Barrrel Aged Angel’s Share yielded 173 cases of 12 x 750ml cork finished bottles. This years batch can be delineated from last years batch through the inclusion of Copper Foil on the labels. All of our barrel aged beers will now include Foiling enabling consumers to buy with confidence. Next year, in 2008, we will begin Vintage dating our specialty releases as well.

This past weekend we sold 15 case of beer to our Patron Saints locally. These were picked up on Friday. We also sold 16 cases to our non San Diego base Patron Saints through our e commerce on Friday as well. On Saturday, we sold 75 cases of The Angel’s Share to the general population. The doors opened at 10AM and by 2 PM. We were out of beer. We also have reserved 28 cases from our Barrel Aged Beer tasting that we did back in September. Each ticket holder from that night got to reserve their 6 bottles of The Angel’s Share without having to worry about standing in line.

All told we have 134 cases that have been spoken for. We also will be selling two cases each to some of the better specialty beer bars in San Diego. This will take us to about 150 cases for this release. The other 23 cases will be used for promotional work and beer dinners and our brewers cellar. It’s simply amazing to me that so much beer can disappear so quickly. But it did. And, it would not have done so without the help of our amazing volunteer(s) at the brewery.

I wanted to finish today by taking some time to thank all those people who helped us make Saturday a spirited and uneventful release. Prior to the release on Saturday Mary Jo and our Webmaster David compiled Excel files allowing us to categorize and supply Patron Saints with beer. David also executed the online sales flawlessly.

On Saturday morning, I was first met at the brewery by Damian and Lona. You should all know who Lona is, as she was the one who logged everyone in. Damian personally stacked all 75 cases in the lobby and then assisted in making like Santa on Christmas day.

Tim showed up next and made sure that we were ready to roll during the crush of the morning. He also alerted me to the ebay post on the bottles from this release. Mary Jo and Adam showed up a few minutes later and I walked them through the system I had prepped, hoping it would handle the long day ahead. They were soon joined on the front line by Terri and Sage. Many of you should thank the “beer fairy” and Angel who slung beers all day. Gina rolled in shortly thereafter and we had a crew in place to handle it all.

When we opened the doors at 10AM I didn’t know if we had enough staff to handle the eager consumers. After about 1/2 hour it was easy to see that our preparation was paying off. All told, it took most people less than an hour of standing in line to get their beer. We kept meticulous counts on who was buying, how many beers they were buying and throughout it all, our concern was always the people at the back of the line.

I’m proud of our system and the way it worked. It isn’t rocket science or FBI tight. But it’s a system that we now know works and we can improve on. Yet, the reason I wrote this post is that I’m frankly veryproud of everyone who busted their ass on Saturday to ensure a smooth operation. There were only three “true paid” employees working the release that day. But, everyone else working isn’t doing it for money. Nope, they love beer. And that’s exactly the kind of help any young company needs. So next time we release something special, take a look around and spend a moment to say thanks to the people helping you. We all need a little beer Karma from time to time. Even the elves at Christmas time.

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