Southwest Brewing News February/March 2015 : Page 1
By Erik Adams By Bev Blackwood II B ILLUSTRATIONS: HANS GRANHEIM Brewer Adam Schmeichel (L) and owner Steve McFate of Fate Brewing Co. PHOTO BY ERIK ADAMS. ubbles are great for beer, but not so much so for the craft brewing business. Is the current surge in craft brewery openings going to keep rising or go flat? That’s a concern among g brewers all across the region. n n. You need only look at SWBN’s directory section to see new breweries popping up all across the Southwest in every edition. “The numbers of breweries and brewpubs have more than doubled in San Diego County since 2011,” the San n ts s Diego Brewers Guild reports al sales in its fact sheet. “Total annual have grown from $680.9 million in 2011 to $781.5 million in 2013.” That translates into over 100 breweries and brewpubs in the area, with nearly 50 more in the planning stages. The growth has made San Diego a beer tourism destination, and the region’s distinctive hop-forward reputation for style is now being expanded with different interpretations adding diversity to their offerings. All this growth begs the question whether an oversupply of wheth hth her there’s t craft beer in the marketplace cra aft b and just how much further a the industry can grow before fatigue sets in on be the part of consumers, or th market forces limit the m ability of new entrants ab to survive in an already crowded market. Amy cro Cartwright of Independence Car Brewing Br rewi Company in Austin, Texas lo Texa looks at the problem philosophica philosophically, “The introduction of new beers to the market, and new local breweries makes you take stock of where you are in your progression.” She continues, hat do you call it when a man, who happens to be named McFate, leaves his career to realize his dream of opening his own brewery? Now imagine that brewery becoming a prime example of quality, success and growth in the industry, so much so that a second location is being built. Arizona craft beer enthusiasts call it fate, and Steve McFate has embraced his. Now, Fate Brewing Company in Scottsdale is an established premiere beer destination, a place where locals and out-of-towners visit to sample their solid, innovative brews. It has been a major player in the development of the Arizona craft beer scene, adding well-deserved credibility and respect to the local culture. McFate has accomplished all of this in just a little over two years. It Was Meant to Be A Scottsdale native, McFate was familiar with the area, which would one day house his See Fate p. 4 See Growing p. 3 From the Editor ...................................3 Homebrew Beer Stylist .........................5 Event Calendar ....................................8 Directories & Maps ........................ 10-13 New Mexico ...................6 Oklahoma ......................7 Nevada ..........................8 Arkansas .......................9 S/C/E Texas ................. 14 Austin ..........................15 N/W Texas ................... 16 Northern Arizona ........ 18 Southern Arizona ........ 18 Central Arizona ........... 18 Southern California ..... 19 San Diego .................... 19
Growing, Growing, Gone?
Bev Blackwood II
Bubbles are great for beer, but not so much so for the craft brewing business. Is the current surge in craft brewery openings going to keep rising or go flat? That’s a concern among brewers all across the region. You need only look at SWBN’s directory section to see new breweries popping up all across the Southwest in every edition. “The numbers of breweries and brewpubs have more than doubled in San Diego County since 2011,” the San Diego Brewers Guild reports in its fact sheet. “Total annual sales have grown from $680.9 million in 2011 to $781.5 million in 2013.” That translates into over 100 breweries and brewpubs in the area, with nearly 50 more in the planning stages. The growth has made San Diego a beer tourism destination, and the region’s distinctive hop-forward reputation for style is now being expanded with different interpretations adding diversity to their offerings.
All this growth begs the question whether there’s an oversupply of craft beer in the marketplace and just how much further the industry can grow before fatigue sets in on the part of consumers, or market forces limit the ability of new entrants to survive in an already crowded market. Amy Cartwright of Independence Brewing Company in Austin, Texas looks at the problem philosophically, “The introduction of new beers to the market, and new local breweries makes you take stock of where you are in your progression.” She continues, “The advent of new breweries on the scene makes the questions more nuanced, [i.e.,] What are we going to brew next? How do we make sure we are brewing the very best beer we can? How do we ensure people are getting the very best beer whether at bars or at stores?” Brock Wagner of Saint Arnold in Houston, Texas notes that not every entrant is good for the market. “The worst thing for us is a brewery that opens and puts out inferior beer. That reflects poorly on all craft brewers.”
As long as the quality is there, the market seems prepared to accept new offerings, although the realities of a mature craft beer market can stifle ambitions of the newest entrants. Mike Sardina, vice president of the San Diego Brewers Guild and assistant executive officer at Societe Brewing Company observes, “Is “New Brewery ABC” trying to become the next Sierra Nevada Brewing Company with national distribution and large sales volumes? Is this brewery maxing out its equipment and stressing its workforce all for the sake of volume? Or is “New Brewery XYZ” more focused on brewing beer within its limits - with a smaller distribution footprint, locally focused, growing at a natural and cautioned rate?”
This notion that not every brewery can be a Sierra Nevada, a Stone or a Lagunitas has a lot of traction. “With the rise of so many breweries, breweries are getting more focused and specific.You have a rise of new business models,” notes Cartwright, “The most interesting indicator of this is the rise of growler shops. It’s been really interesting to see the rise of these special retailers where people can sample, enjoy a pint and take some home.” Dennis Arnold, founder of Barrio Brewing in Tucson, Arizona concurs, “Nanos and pubs have a huge growth potential as they are competing with craft bars and such for the [consumer’s] dollar.”
Drinking local is becoming a watchword and small towns present a different challenge than cities where the neighborhood brewery can thrive. The Faust in New Braunfels, Texas is a hotel that features a brewpub that has seen the arrival of several new local breweries. Head Brewer Ray Mitteldorf notes, “We continue to sell more beer every year in part because people come to town to go to other brewery open houses and come to The Faust also.” The concentration of breweries “pushes people to make road trips to visit several breweries.” Despite a 17.63% growth rate in 2013, Texas is still playing catchup to the rest of the Southwest when it comes to craft beer. Charles Vallhonrat, executive director for the Texas Craft Brewers Guild says, “Though Texas is second in overall craft brewery economic impact at a state level, we are 42nd in breweries per capita. We have a long way to go before we are saturating the market.” Part of that is due to the size of the state, but even the largest cities - Houston, San Antonio and Dallas - have less than a dozen breweries within their city limits, leaving a lot of room for growth locally as well. (San Diego, with over 100 breweries falls between San Antonio and Dallas in terms of population.) Brewers Association data from 2013 noted that Texas breweries Austin Beerworks and Karbach Brewing in Houston had a 394% and 1,112% year over year increase in production, respectively (Karbach’s rate was in part due to partial year data for 2011), and Texas as a whole had five of the top 50 fastest growing craft breweries.
Ultimately the sustainability of craft brewing comes down to the people buying the beer. “Once you go craft, you never go back,” states Arnold. “Breweries will try to distinguish themselves with esoteric offerings that may or may not attract drinkers. You still have to have the core beers that make up 90% of what craft drinkers want.” It’s not just up to the producers though, Sardina observes. “The consumer needs to vote with their wallet and with their minds and with their word-of-mouth: support the local breweries, yes, but support the local breweries that are brewing quality beer that you enjoy.” A taste for craft beer, diverse offerings and local favorites are the key to keeping craft beer’s heady rush upward from disappearing like the bubbles in a day old pint of ale and keeping the taps flowing with exciting new offerings from your local breweries.
Read the full article at http://swbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Growing%2C+Growing%2C+Gone%3F/1926527/245587/article.html.
Meets Its Destiny
What do you call it when a man, who happens to be named McFate, leaves his career to realize his dream of opening his own brewery? Now imagine that brewery becoming a prime example of quality, success and growth in the industry, so much so that a second location is being built. Arizona craft beer enthusiasts call it fate, and Steve McFate has embraced his.
Now, Fate Brewing Company in Scottsdale is an established premiere beer destination, a place where locals and out-oftowners visit to sample their solid, innovative brews. It has been a major player in the development of the Arizona craft beer scene, adding well-deserved credibility and respect to the local culture. McFate has accomplished all of this in just a little over two years.
It Was Meant to Be
A Scottsdale native, McFate was familiar with the area, which would one day house his brewpub. An avid homebrewer for about 10 years, McFate worked as a partner in a mortgage company until he had to take a sabbatical. “It just wasn’t fun anymore,” he realized. During his time away he met Tom Hennessy, the owner of the Colorado Boy Brewpub based in Ridgway, Colorado. Hennessy offered him a job as assistant brewer, which McFate accepted and held for a year.
When he accepted the position at Colorado Boy, McFate had been uncertain if working in the industry was a viable career for him. However, it did not take long to make up his mind. “Working at Colorado Boy convinced me that this was what I wanted to do with my life,” he observed. McFate returned to Arizona with plans to open his own brewpub, and began his search for a brewer.
McFate first met Adam Schmeichel through an industry website. Schmeichel had been working at Adirondack Brewing in Lake George, New York. Schmeichel, a Michigan native, grew up with plans of becoming a chef. He graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York and became the chef/brewer at Round Barn Brewery, Winery, and Distillery in Broda, Michigan. However, he soured on the idea of working as a chef. “Bad hours and low pay. So I became a brewer - better hours,” he joked. This led to him taking the brewing position at Adirondack.
After numerous conversations via the telephone, McFate and Schmeichel realized that they were like-minded in vision and brewing philosophy. Schmeichel joined McFate in Arizona, and in November of 2012 Fate Brewing opened its doors.
Meet Your Fate Beers
Since opening, Fate has released consistently clean, flavorful brews. They dedicate eight taps to their house beers, of which four are their core brands that include American Pale Ale (6% ABV), Irish Red Ale (5.4% ABV), Cream Ale (4.8% ABV) and Double Oatmeal IPA (9% ABV). McFate mentioned that the pale ale remains their most popular, although the Double Oatmeal IPA is a close second.
Their seven-bbl system cranks out seasonals regularly to fill the remaining taps. Unfortunately, popularity brings with it a price - many of their beers run out quickly. Of course, the new system at their second location should alleviate this issue of availability - [more on that below].
When speaking of Fate’s beers, one would be remiss not to mention the fabled Candy Bar Milk Stout (6% ABV), easily their most popular seasonal. This seductive beer, brewed with roasted peanuts, cocoa nibs, vanilla beans and a touch of sea salt, has already earned a silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival. When word spreads of its release, the lines form for a sample of this delicious beverage. Fate has released imperial and barrel-aged versions of Candy Bar Milk Stout also, which are even more coveted.
Fate has brewed other amazing seasonals as well, including El Ultimo, a Mexican stout brewed with chiles and cocoa, which balances the heat and sweetness perfectly. Another spoton seasonal is Breakfast 4 Dinner (7.8% ABV), a smoked porter aged in Heaven Hill and Jack Daniel’s barrels with glazed donuts. No, that was not a misprint - Schmeichel added actual glazed donuts to the brewing process. Fate’s brewing portfolio runs the gamut from creative barrel-aged options to solid IPAs to refreshing sessionable ales, offering something for every craft beer aficionado.
The Future is Kismet
Having broken ground at 1312 North Scottsdale Road in south Scottsdale, McFate plans to open his second location in late spring. This 10,000 square foot brewpub will boast a beautiful 15-bbl system customized by Metalcraft Fabrication of Portland, 12 Fate beers on tap, a spacious beer garden and a barrel cellar. McFate intends to host an “open house preview” of the new location during Arizona Beer Week, which will include tours of the facility.
Once operational, the new brewpub will brew the majority of the beer for both locations. This should mostly alleviate the issue of running out of the core beers. The original “Fate North” brewpub’s system will be allocated to brew smaller batch experimental beers and, given Schmeichel’s affinity for the style, sours.
The near future holds many exciting beers for Fate. The Arizona Strong Beer Festival is the premiere platform for local brewers to showcase their creations. Not to be outdone, Schmeichel expects to bring several imaginative beers to the fest, which will keep to a certain theme. “I wanted to bring some pink beers, since it’s on Valentine’s Day,” he informed. “I hope to have a theme of chocolate and pink.” Consequently, attendees can look for his Strawberry Rhubarb Berliner weisse, a Cartel collaboration saison brewed with beets, and his cherished Barrel- Aged Double Stout, of which Schmeichel is most proud.
Looking back, it seems as no surprise that Fate has enjoyed as much success as it has. After all, world class beers, tasty pizzas, and great customer service are a winning combination anywhere. Just be thankful, those of the Valley of the Sun, that Fate was destined to open in McFate‘s hometown. In this case, destiny is a good thing for local craft beer lovers.
Read the full article at http://swbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Meets+Its+Destiny/1926528/245587/article.html.