Wow. Looking back upon last year’s Copper State of the Brewery Address (see here), it seems quite fortuitous that I talked about our brewery entering the terrible twos, which are notoriously fraught with tantrums and unreasonable behavior. Little did I know how crazy the year was going to turn out to be, and what we would have to weather as a business and, frankly, as citizens of this world. What a year. It is hard to remember anything that came before these last couple of months; the microscopic virus has somehow dwarfed everything else from this past year. And just when we didn’t think it could get any wilder, the recent events around the injustice and violence in America have become more worrisome than the global pandemic. We foolishly asked, “Could this year get any harder?” And the world said, “Hold my craft beer.”
As hard as it is to believe, there was a whole lot of life and “business as usual” before COVID, and we are blessed to say that the future of Copper State is still bright. Here are some of the things we want to highlight over this last year of business, and some of our hopes and dreams for the coming year.
This past year, we:
Added full service in the outdoor biergarten (even after they rejected my dumbwaiter/food slide idea—with our kitchen on the second floor, I thought it was a no-brainer, but apparently not everyone thought so).
Donned our goggles and doffed our lab coats (well, Jon and Alex did) to experiment with crazy yeast strains and souring bacterium. We came out with six new kettle sours this last year, including the wildly popular Sugar Plum (Elder)berry and our new Sun-Soaked Sour.
Allowed beer to continue to age in rum barrels and bourbon barrels and cognac barrels. Okay, once we filled them, that was a pretty passive thing to do this year, but we had to be patient and not drink out of them, which is an accomplishment unto itself.
Got our Chocolate Coffee Peanut Butter Nitro Porter into cans. This was no small feat, as it requires a lot of sciencing and tomfoolery with the addition of a nitro doser Frankensteined onto our canning line.
Submitted our favorite beers to the World Beer Cup, which were to be judged in an epic battle at the Craft Brewers’ Conference in San Antonio this year. Instead, they canceled the competition, and our beer was turned into…award-winning hand sanitizer. That’s cool too, I guess.
Grew our distribution to Appleton, Neenah, Oshkosh, Sheboygan, and Fond du Lac, so that more people can taste and enjoy our award-winning hand sanitizer…I mean, beer.
Created the #toastpositive movement on social media during COVID-19, which connected people via the interwebs and created exbeeriences with their favorite people, during a time when they couldn’t be together. We even got to do a social distancing video toast with the mayor of Green Bay, hoisting beer up on broomsticks, which I’m pretty sure no one else can say.
This coming year, we hope to:
Continue to be adaptable and innovative as we navigate the new post-COVID landscape, and keep offering takeout and curbside as well as in-house dining. It is also great to stay flexible for epic games of Twister.
Tap and release some of our barrel aged beers—look for some imperial stouts aged in bourbon barrels, a funky sour coming out of a rum barrel, something yummy in a maple bourbon barrel, and since we didn’t really get to have an anniversary party this year, we’re going to let our “Triple Whammy”—old fashioned beer with cherries and sweet orange peel—keep aging another year in cognac barrels, so it will be even better next year (Quadruple Whammy?).
Continue to have the brewmaster with the best hair of all the brewmasters in the land.
Get more of our nitro beers into cans. Since we put all that work into sciencing (words are fun) the canning line, we might as well use it as often as we can. Ergo (another fun word), we plan to put our Sun-Soaked Sour Nitro--with mango and guava--into a can shortly, followed by our Platinum Coffee Blonde Stout. We might even bring back the pretty popular Nitro Hopshake (a milkshake IPA that we put on nitro) and put that in a can, just ‘cause we can can.
Potentially grow our distribution into the Milwaukee area, and perhaps even into the Madison market…and then we’ll take over the world, Pinky.
Keep living our mission:
Connecting people. Creating experiences. Crafting great beer.
Thank you for sticking with us through this volatile year, Green Bay. We love serving you, and we can’t wait to see what this next year throws at us…’cause it can’t be worse than this last year, am I right?