Copper State of the Brewery Address: 2021
And then we were four. Wow, guys--our third year, much like the “even worse threes after the supposed terrible twos” of child rearing, was pretty volatile, and we’re still shaking our heads and sighing heavily when we have spare moments to breathe at all. But we are hopeful; age four was my absolute favorite with my own kids, with the dawn of reason and the ability to have a conversation and such, and since the brewery is really like another child (albeit a needy and slightly drunk one), we expect that age four will be great.
Last June we weren’t sure what the summer would bring; we had just opened our doors again, didn’t know how much staff we would need, had no idea if people would come inside or would come at all. But come they did. Summer was busy, and the biergarten was hopping. And just when we got that figured out and we were staffing up, the fall…fell. Another wave had hit, and Wisconsin returned underground. It was a tough stretch, as we struggled to keep people employed and healthy and hopeful. But we held on, and since about December, it has been blissfully busy and seems almost…dare I say, normal?
We feel so blessed by the support we have received. We are humbled and honored that you all helped us to make it through the terrible twos and thorrific threes. It takes a village, so they say, to raise a brewery.
Looking back on the past year, here are some of the things we accomplished:
· Stayed open. Never thought that would be such an accomplishment, but there you have it. You know, they say the first three years are the hardest…but no one gives you any advice what to do in the face of a global pandemic.
· Expanded our sour beer program, cooking up such delicious brews as the Tart Torte, Sour Patch Ale, Upset Apple-cot, and the popular Cupid Schmupid. We also decided to venture into the wild overly fruited world of slusheee beers (the more “e”s, the better) and start what we call the SlushBucket series—we brewed some delicious pulpy beers including the Sparkler Slusheee, Stone Cold Slusheee, and the Frazzle Berry Slusheee.
· Beautified the biergarten by adding more flowers and mulch and, most importantly, extra taplines on the beer trailer. However, I’ve still gotten nowhere with my dumbwaiter/food slide idea from our second story kitchen down to the biergarten servers.
· Geeked out over new yeast strains and hop varieties, and collaborated with other Green Bay brewers to further the geekiness to the east side of town.
· Released some delicious barrel aged beers, including Preach, Ursa Major, and Gary (named after our peevish ghost that roams our cellars and wreaks a mild form of havoc).
· Made good use of our Frankenstein-esque nitro doser addition to our canning line—this last year we canned our Platinum Blonde Coffee Stout and our Sun-Soaked Sour, along with a whole heck of a lot of Chocolate Coffee Peanut Butter Porter on nitro.
· Added another brewer to our staff—Simon comes to us from Central Waters, where he has more experience than Jon and Alex combined…so we’re watching closely to make sure he doesn’t usurp the system and take over the unsuspecting city of Green Bay with his vast beer knowledge and quiet ways.
This coming year, here are a few things we are hoping to overpromise and perhaps deliver:
· Expand our barrel aging program—with Simon’s expertise and background dealing with a hugely successful barrel aging program in his previous employment, we’d like to experiment and grow our own. This also means we will need to rent some warehouse space in short order, because as much as we like playing Tetris, that gets a bit old when every move you make in the basement requires a pallet jack and a prayer.
· Grow our distribution into more of Southern and Western Wisconsin…and eventually take over the world, one delicious beer at a time.
· Continue to have the brewmaster with best hair of all the brewmasters in the land.
· Hire and keep the best staff in all the land (and that is no small feat these days—on a related note, do you know any cooks?).
· Put some new and some not-so-new beers into cans, starting with our properly umlauted Kölsch style beer and a Key Lime Gose (which we’ll be calling “Sublimeinal Messages”). This year we will also be putting our Oktoberfest into cans, so look for that in August, of course. Securing cans in this crazy can shortage is a good goal in and of itself, but then we’ll fill them on top of it, because that’s how much we love you.
· Teach Copper State how to read, because everyone likes to say that they learned to read at age four.
· Release 21 new beers in 2021—so far we are on track to complete this goal, as our anniversary beer (Double oaked ale aged in Cognac and Port Wine barrels) will be the eleventh release and we’re not quite half-way through 2021.
· Expand our biergarten, with more standing/drinking tables or cozy sit-down areas—heck, let’s go big or go home—how about a double decker biergarten, building a second story on top of the existing structure and including a slide or fireman’s pole, retractable rooftop, and maybe a pool. On a related note, can we borrow a few bucks?
· World peace. I think if anyone is going to be able to accomplish world peace, it would be a brewery, solving one problem at a time over a delicious pint or seven.
· Clothe the city of Green Bay by finally donating four years’ worth of lost and found items.
· Figure out how to control the trains, so people stay for one more beer, but also somehow so our employees won’t be a half hour late while only one hundred yards from our building.
· Keep on living our mission:
Connecting people. Creating experiences. Crafting great beer.
Thanks for sticking with us and supporting us, Green Bay. We love serving you.