Before Solemn Oath began, I sought to build a company where individuals could be unleashed in a creative atmosphere with a united goal. The work of our artist, Jourdon Gullett, is an excellent example of how this looks when it goes really, really well.
The person we sought for our brewery art was one who would understand our goals and make Solemn Oath Brewery a part of their home. Joe and I had an affinity for raw illustration and tattoo-inspired work and those dimensions defined the space we wanted Solemn Oath’s art to inhabit. Our world collided with Jourdon’s through a mutual friend, and he has since filled it with all things dark, dangerous, and unfathomable.
Your mother was wrong. The use of profanity, even in print, is not always inelegant. Nor apparently does it disqualify you from incredible and humbling honors. Last week SAVEUR Magazine announced Solemn Oath’s SOB Stories as a 2014 Best Food Blog finalist. Unbelievable.
We’re one of six finalists in the best wine and beer category, each of which have incredible sites. While we hope it is us, please take the time to vote for your favorite. Voting closes April 9 and we’d love to have your support. And dammit share with your friends.
Sometimes an idea sounds so good that you just have to look past its gratuitous extravagance, technical obstacles, logistical complexities, and uncertain outcomes and just fucking do it.
So it went when I started talking to Jay Cunningham at Intelligentsia. Jay is a fifteen-year coffee pro who loves beer but thinks putting the two together has not generally been a very inspired process and that the results are not generally all that good. The tilt of coffee beer is unfortunately towards that generic burnt-caramel roast character that flows by the thousands of gallons from donut shop Bunns every morning, everywhere. It smells like what people think of as coffee, but to someone like Jay who’s been around the world buying beans and selling the end product, that’s what stale coffee smells like.
There is a lot more to the success of a brewery than just making beer. When a beer is ready to leave our four walls, we rely on on a number of people from areas including operations, sales, marketing, beer buyers, bartenders, wait staff, and consumers.
We create strategies for new and old products and communicate with our sales team. We devise a plan and get after it, knowing that we’ll need to constantly adjust to ensure that the beer that reaches you is of the highest quality and as fresh as possible. It takes an army to do this. And in Chicago, Wes Phillips devises the plan for infiltration.
Let’s be real, safety isn’t the sexiest part of the beer world. There’s no Festival of Safely Brewed Beers or World Safety Cup awards ceremony, and for good reason. Yet safety is the single most important effort made in breweries every day, so here’s a little window into that seldom-seen world.
Read the beer news and you’ll notice some patterns. There’s a microbrewery doubling capacity. Here’s a nano releasing bottles. Every regional brewery is opening up an East Coast shop. With all this expansion, there are more people than ever working in the industry who don’t have experience in manufacturing plants. With all those green employees, there’s a heightened danger of someone getting hurt.
Okay so our favorite show came back on the air last night! You’re probably wondering what we did to celebrate.
Did we create a disease that turns people into the Walking Dead? Of course not. Did we plan out our escape route for when the zombies do show up? Again? Did we hone our ability to make delicious beer, or did we instead learn how to make vodka because beer won’t travel well during the apocalypse? No comment. Anyway, since you guys obviously can’t figure it out, we played the game, “Which Walking Dead Character are We?” Duh. First off, let’s cover the easy ones.
Beer Dinners. Tap Takeovers. Beer festivals. The list goes on. As more and more breweries pop up all over the country, the number of beer events skyrockets. What’s on the horizon? Where will the evolution of events and promotion take us? How will we differentiate?
When we first opened our doors in 2012, we tried to keep things as creative as possible on our end. It was hard. We wanted to get our name out there as much as we could, but we wanted to do it in true SOB style. We have done beer dinners, thrown tap takeovers, and participated in countless beer festivals. We have certainly done our share of standard beer events like these and will continue to participate in many of them.
Sure, we’ve all outgrown our “young and innocent” phase by now, but sometimes it’s just fun to pretend that we haven’t.
MOff and his wonderful wife Lise just had another baby. And as part of their adding another little SOB to the mix I asked our all of our taproom SOBs to bring in a few childhood photos. I chose the most embarrassing photo and had them recreate it in the brewery using only things that were “lying around.” This is what we ended up with.
Businesses can grow too quickly. Often, that rapid expansion is at the cost of culture and authenticity.
Since they began in 2009, Clay Robinson alongside Dave Colt and their colleagues at Sun King Brewing in Indianapolis have created one of the most genuine and respected breweries in craft beer. From just 509 barrels in 2009, Sun King kicked out 5,024 in 2010 and surpassed 21,000 barrels in 2013. More than anything, they’ve grown well–maintaining an incredible culture and having never wavered when it comes to their focus on quality.