For those who were at the Big Pour and were wondering… No, we did not participate this year. This wasn’t out of some esoteric ideas about beer fests, protest, or that we are not doing well enough to be a part of this past weekend. We’ve loved Big Pour the past two years. In fact, we’ve enjoyed every beer fest we’ve ever done. Meeting people face to face and getting their feedback and input is invaluable and we try to incorporate every piece of information we get at these events. However, if you know us very well, we have our limitations. Some of these are self-imposed (trying to really nail a style before doing creative versions of it) and some are the fruits of our own success versus size (supply and demand).
Those who know us, know that we operate out of a two car garage sized, officially licensed brewery. We operate on a glorified home brew set up, 10 gallons at a time into 42 gallon fermenters with individual temperature control. We hand keg, hand clean, and hand deliver every drop of fermented beverage brew. We were founded on a simple passion and with individual investments of personal money from each of the brewers, zero debt. There is no board, no corporate control, and no approval process in our brewing. We do it the same way we did it when we opened 3 years ago, from the heart, by us, for us, while trying to keep it fun. We strive to continue these principals while balancing the need for growth.
We recognize the garage can only take us so far, and three years into this venture we are probably close to these limits. Three years ago we were able to keep beer on at two or three tap rooms around the city. Now we have far more demands than we can fill and are humbled by the stature of some of the restaurants and bars seeking us out. So let’s put this to rest right now… we are trying to grow and expand to where we can have a tap room and invite people into our brewery.
This brings us back to the Big Pour and beer fests in general. Typically an event like this requires at least 2 full weekends of brewing. Yes we can still only brew on Saturdays as we all maintain full time jobs outside of the brewery. That amounts to 12 sixtels. That’s half a month’s production and takes that beer away from loyal customers. These beer fests also expose us to a broader and passionate new audience. On the plus side, we get to share our craft with this audience and get even more feedback. Conversely, these folks most likely will never be able to find our brew again due to our limited size. From personal experience, there is nothing more frustrating than trying a great new brew and then never being able to find it. It’s a double edged sword.
So what’s our point? Good question…. There are two.
Firstly, please excuse our absence from every beer fest to take place in Pittsburgh. We’d love to be there, but if we did all of them, we’d probably be out of business next year. Please do search us out at a local tap room in Pittsburgh… there are about 20 now. We do our best to let you know what brew is on where when we can via social media. This has a ripple effect. First, you get to try our brews in an environment created to enjoy beer (clean tap lines, seated with friends, and a properly poured beer in the proper glass). Secondly, you support us financially and help us grow to the next step (It’s true, unfortunately we do not get paid for the beer served at most fests. This money supports other great causes around the city which we certainly support). We will attend the fests when we have the supply.
Secondly, we always said we would avoid the marketing circus that is crowd funding and we will never give up ownership of our passion just to expand. We want to remain brewer owned and operated. The crowd source marketing circus functions the same as the beer fests. We could have a lot of people turned on to the brewery, but then never find us. We want people to be a part of the CoStar growth for more than a t-shirt or free beer. Over the next few months, we may introduce a few ways in which you can support us and get your fair money’s worth. Keep an eye out on our website for an online store. Or just go to one of the local bars who are our partners and buy a beer. We hope it is enjoyable enough for you to buy two.
So in the end, beer fests. High-five, awesome, and we love to attend the right ones as consumers when we can. As for CoStar Brewing, we are a small nano-brewery who struggles to fill orders at the moment. We aspire to grow to a size where we can attend and grow from these events… but… We’re just not there. You can help us by supporting the larger local food and beverage industry. Go out, order a beer, and grab a bite. Tell your friends. The End.