When Coeur d'Alene Brewing Company shut it's doors in September 2010, we had three excellent full-time brewers. Laurie Kraus, who had brewed with Tom Fisher and started on day one with us, Greg Pillar, one of the brewer/owners at Holister Mountain Brewing, and Cody Ragan, who came to us years earlier with no brewing experience but who brought a great work ethic and thirst for knowledge (and beer).
As we had moved into that year, we knew that Laurie was approaching retirement and Cody had stepped up to begin sharing the head brewer duties, but we had not anticipated either losing our space nor a serious injury to Laurie during the moving process. Trying to hold up a piece of wall that was being removed but had fallen free, Laurie suffered a painful injury tearing muscles in his arm/bicep off of their connections on the bone. It is the kind of injury that hurts a lot and takes a long time to rehab at any age. As a result, though, Laurie was forced into retirement a bit earlier than expected.
As we searched for new space to re-open the brewery, Cody worked for a steel erection company, putting together the girders for multi-story buildings around the Northwest. Greg was hired by the new owners at the Steam Plant Grill to continue brewing beers there (you may have noticed that most of the line up of beers remained, albeit with new names, after the transfer of ownership).
Flash forward the two years and Laurie, a guy who never stopped moving during the ten plus years he was at the brewery, is rumored to have slowed down at least and is enjoying retirement. Cody was willing to give up his job welding steel framework together and we are pleased to have had him back on board as our Head Brewer for the last several months to help with the construction of the brewery. Thankfully for us, it's more fun to make beer than skyscrapers - at least for Cody. And, as of today, I am pleased to announce that we are also welcoming Greg back to the fold. Along with his considerable brewing experience, Greg also has an excellent mechanical sense and the ability to fix anything in the brewery, so we are glad to have him back with us.
Cody and Greg will be putting the last pieces in place and cleaning, cleaning, cleaning in anticipation of the new year and the new beers just around the corner. Hopefully we can lure Laurie back to help with some arduous tasting work as we develop recipes and to remind us how much better things are today than when HE had to do everything by himself.
I'm looking forward to sharing a pint and hearing a few stories as we get revved up with our new venture. And not too long from now, we will have an open house and y'all can come down to see the place, have a pint and hear a few of those stories too.