Friday, August 9, 2013

Bureaucratic Purgatory and Short Batch Beers

For those of you following along at home, we've got a few Short Batch releases coming up over the next few months: Straw-Barb Short Weiss and "TBD."  Both of these beers have been delayed due to registration and approval processes at the Tax and Trade Bureau.  Here's the deal:

If a brewery makes a beer with ingredients and processes that are outside the accepted lists, that brewery has to file a "statement of process," explaining what other ingredients were used and how they've used them.  Once that's approved, the said brewery must then apply to register the label for the brand, which they have to do with all new beers.

In and of itself, this is nothing new; we've been following this procedure for years, but two changes outside of our control are really putting the brakes on the paperwork flow.

1) There are now over 2500 breweries in the country and lots of them are making beers with atypical ingredients and processes, so that means paper work queues and quoted wait times of 45 business days.

2) The federal budget situation has led to staff cuts and retirements at the TTB.

So with more work and less people to do it, these two beers (see below) are sitting in limbo.  Going forward, we'll adjust our schedule to accommodate the uncertainty.  We're sorry for the delays; we're really excited about these beers.

Beer #1: Straw-Barb Short Weiss;  Light, tart, refreshing, brewed with real lactobacilus, strawberries and rhubarb.  We expect this to be the first release and we've pledged to send this to the Great American Beer Festival, so our fingers are crossed.

Beer #2: A still-unnamed collaboration with Chef Jamie Bissonette (of Boston's Coppa and Toro) , which would have been the first "TBD" on the schedule.  A riff on a Belgian witbier, Chef brought up spruce tips, kaffir lime leaves and 25 pounds of grapefruit zest to add to a traditional grain bill and yeast situation.  You should have smelled the brewhouse that day...

So we'll keep you posted on the release dates as the evolve.  In the meantime, we're looking forward to Rhye IPA, which drops on August 19.