Saturday, December 14, 2013

Facebook Apocalypse

I have, at best, a Love/Hate relationship with Facebook.  There is so much drivel and ego to hate that it is almost overwhelming.  How people can be so self-absorbed as to think that the world needs to know of every meal, or every high-priced purchase, or every moment of their vacation is beyond me. Besides, does the world really need several hundred million more selfies? (And why can't girls clean up their rooms/bathroom counters if they are going to take several hundred pictures with reflections of these messy wastelands?  But I digress.)

On the other hand, there are, admittedly, many great stories floating around on Facebook.  Last week was a triumph of social media in the cycling world when Specialized realized they were traipsing on a lot of angry emotion by trying to enforce a trademark on one of the most storied words in bike racing - Roubaix - and one poor shop owner who dared to share it.  There are also many stories of kind deeds, heroic efforts, simple kindnesses and sometimes of heartbreak and loss that need to be shared.  I can forgive a lot of "Here I am sitting by the pool in Hotsy-totsy Land" posts when I run across one discussion of an illness that has struck a mutual friend and they need some love and support from their tribe.

On a similar vein, as part of a brewery (or any business actively trying to spread the word about a product or service), Facebook represents a huge, unavoidable, inarguable source of interaction and interest.  We have made a handful of great vendor connections, a bunch of fun bar/restaurant/pub connections and literally several hundred great customer connections.  When you look at any social media statistics, Facebook is the lumbering giant in the land.  Its total numbers dwarf the number of people actively participating in Twitter, Instagram or any other social media platform.  No matter how wonderful THESE words are on our blog, we have more people see ANY Facebook post than will see the blog on a given day.

So, that makes it all the more bothersome that Facebook has recently changed the algorithms that dictate what stories show up on your Facebook timeline.  They don't make this stuff clear, but it appears that businesses now have to pay Facebook to promote a post to get it show up in timelines, even when you have previously Liked a page and even if it would have showed up a week or two ago.

What's this mean?  First, I can't really begrudge Facebook.  They provide the platform free, right?  And after Zuckerberg got those first billions, you knew he would want a few more to keep them company, right?  So it's natural that they try to "monetize" the relationship and ask businesses to pay.  Newspapers and TV stations don't run free advertising for us, so we don't have a good case when Facebook does the same.  The problem, of course, is that instead of the interaction being more organic and "normal," the tendency quickly becomes that companies are more corporate and more manipulative because they have a budget and return expectation attached to each post AND it means that the big companies start to take over all of the interaction again.  The couple of behemoth beer companies can buy more advertising than every hand-crafted brewery combined, so their message carries the day and it gets harder for interested people to learn about the local companies making great beer in their communities.

My cynical side is resigned to this big-guy-wins process, but I do think we are turning a corner now that won't really be obvious for a few more years.  In the meantime, I would urge you to be thoughtful about interacting with the companies you care about so that they keep showing up on your timeline.  Make a click, Like a like, add a comment.  It takes an effort, but it will help you and your favorite locals fight back the tide of commercialism that will inevitably take over Facebook.

Me?  I'm going to have a Network moment or two and look for something to throw out a window (Kids, look it up) and then go back to looking at selfies.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Drink Local

If I say “Beer” to you, what do you think of? Maybe a 24-case of cheap beer in a cooler or maybe an advertising campaign inevitably featuring a fetching young thing promising that your life will be better if you drink his or her brand. But what if say “Drink Local” to you, or “Local Beer”? What do you think of then?

I hope you think about tasty glass of beer made by people who live in your community, but here are some other things you should think about – jobs, resources, community, and fun.

You see, the local part of Drink Local doesn’t just mean that the beer is made someplace you can get in the car and see. It also means that people who live in your community are getting paid to make the beer and put it in a keg or bottle. It also means that all of the people who provide other needed services to the brewery, from construction to refrigeration to bookkeeping to marketing to sales to whatever are also people who live in your community. That means the money you spend with a local brewery is not just going to them, but it gets multiplied many times as the brewery re-spends it on wages and services, but then all of the wages and services of those people and companies are in turn re-spent in your community.

The same thing is true of local restaurants.  Yes, it is true that all restaurants hire local people to serve your food, but the truth is that local restaurants do a LOT more to contribute to our communities with the same multiplier effect of ALL of the money being in our community instead of going back to the corporate coffers in Shitbucket, Texas or Officepark, Florida (it's a well-known fact that most chain restaurants are headquartered in one of these two places).

The bottom line is, actually, the bottom line.  Spend your money in our community and it will make our community more prosperous and, in turn, make you more prosperous.  To me, that just makes sense.  Who would think that raising a glass of local beer (or wine) at a local restaurant can actually make you and your community a better place, but it does.  And when that is the result of hoisting a glass of beer, that is good clean fun.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

You think you got skills?

As the temperature rises all the way up to the double digits, it's nice to think about being outside again someday and riding bikes.  It's also nice to think about just sitting on the saddle, actually pedaling a bike down the road - but just that.  I don't need to ride it backwards or across rock fields or do flips on my bike, but some people do and those people are freakishly amazing.  Take a look.

Oh sure, that looks like a weird combination of crazy and dangerous and cool. It also looks ALMOST like something you could do, right? Not really, but you can see how if you devoted some time to it you could get to the point you could do it. That would be in contrast to the next video which is astonishingly amazingly bat-shit crazy. Also, keep in mind how mild the first video is in comparison to the 3.44 mark in the second video - kinda same trick x 1,000.

Mind blown.

UPDATE: One of the guys on the River City Red Cycling Team (SJ) asked whether it was true that Martyn Ashton was now paralyzed.  Another (TC) responded that it was true.  I hadn't heard anything about it and found this story:   It is fair to say that the riding in the video is amazing, but it is clearly very, very dangerous.  A couple of times I was marveling at the danger, since it was clear that they were working with no safety equipment, no padding, no "outs", etc., but I am sad to hear that one of the riders has paid for these stunts with his lifelong mobility. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

WE ARE TWITTER FAMOUS! What? Oh. No we aren't.

So, funny story.  A couple of days ago I started following @will_ferrell on Twitter after someone else re-tweeted a few funny things from that account.  I randomly picked up my phone Sunday afternoon to see a tweet from "him" saying that twitter required him to follow at least 7 people so "he" would randomly be doing that, and then "he" said "he" would follow someone additional that also followed @depressedsanta.  Thinking something along the lines of "nothing ventured, nothing gained," I followed both and then proceeded to make a couple of smart-ass comments to "Will Ferrell."  Lo and behold, our account was rewarded a few minutes later with a follow from @will_ferrell!  Some moments of elation and entertainment followed as my household contemplated what it meant to have Will Ferrell's attention for a few minutes.  For instance, I was assuming he would want to stay in our guest bedroom over the holidays to get to know us and drink lots of free beer.

Well, after a few more twitter hi-jinks, along with texting several people that Will Ferrell was following us (and posting on Facebook that he was ) a total buzzkill (but accurate) tweet came through saying that it was relatively confirmed that the actual person Will Ferrell did not have an authorized account.  In my exuberance I thought that the follow was from a verified account, but upon sober reflection, it was not.  

So, where does that leave us?  Slightly embarrassed that we didn't use a thoughtful approach to understand that it was not actually Will Ferrell tweeting at that account.  On the other hand, it also leaves us one of only 8 followed accounts from @Will_Ferrell who does have many funny tweets and nearly 113,000 followers.  That means that a few more folks may see our account and a few may follow us or be inspired to drink local.  It also means that it much less likely that Ron Burgundy will be stopping by the Tap Room (not impossible, but unlikely).

Thank you for your attention, support and love at this time.  We will let you know if Will Ferrell or any Will Ferrell imposters show up on our doorstep and we will be more careful about trumpeting future famous follows.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tap Room - Tap Room - Tap Room - Tap Room

121 S. Cedar St / Carnegie Square

Come on in.  There's a seat and a pint waiting.
Getting the Tap Room open has been a huge job, relatively speaking.  Sure, not huge like the Hoover Dam or a government health care website, but still huge.  Okay, not huge.  But big.  Can we agree on big?  Nonetheless, it's been time-consuming.  Maybe all consuming for a period of time.  But now, the doors are open, the beer is flowing and all is good with the world.

The Tap Room is located at 121 S. Cedar Street in the Carnegie Square neighborhood.  We are in the same building as the Rocket Bakery and across the street from Andy's.  We are open Thursday to Saturday, 3 - 9 pm and Sunday to Wednesday, 3 - 8 pm.  We serve pints, half-pints and tasters, along with a pint of pretzels if you need a nosh.  We have draft root beer in the works and kids are welcome.  We also sell and fill growlers and have 1/6 barrel and 1/2 barrel kegs to go for all your party needs.  Give us a call at our new phone number - 509-413-2388 - for details on kegs out the door or anything else you need to know.

We will look forward to seeing you at the Tap Room.
9 Beers on Tap Today / Draft Root Beer added soon.

We even added tables for your sitting needs.

A bit of wit or whimsy with your pint?  Got ya' covered.

Oh look, my camera will take a useless panorama shot!

Friday, November 22, 2013

A photo essay

Here is some stuff we have been doing recently.  More pictures to follow.

And announcements.

First the Silo got decorated (due to weather).

Then the draft system went in.

We added a sign out front so you can find us.
We went on a bike ride.

We tested the functional operation of the tap handles (aka, tasted).

We got delivery of a giant sign.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Meet Moose

It's time to shed a bit of light on our newest member of the brewery team, Moose Sanders.  We don't know Moose real well* yet, but he seems like a pretty solid citizen and a great addition to the brewery.  (*"Real well" involves things like emergencies, fox holes and extensive drinking - none of which have happened yet.)  Moose himself helped come up with the Q & A, so I'm not sure it really gets to the Moose behind the Moose, but it's an excellent place to start.  So without further ado:

How did you get involved in brewing as a career instead of just a hobby?

My past is deeply rooted in brewing. As a teenager, I worked in the kitchens of Birkenbeiner Brewery as well as Boundary Bay. I began homebrewing in college because I was too young to buy beer. This sparked a passion for beer, which became an obsession.  I graduated from EWU with a BS in biology and decided to continue my education and earned a Brewmaster’s Certification at one of the world’s premier brewing schools; The VLB of Berlin, Germany.

Why did you choose to go to Germany instead of something more local?

I was doing a master’s at Oregon State and hated my program. I decided to withdraw from my program and researched brewing programs around the world.  I had been to Germany before and always wanted to go back.  The VLB of Berlin afforded me this opportunity and provided me with the best brewing science education available.

What is your favorite beer that you’ve made?

Oddly enough, a German pilsner.  I made it before I went to Germany and it was my first lager.  It is a lot harder to make lighter beers because the flavors are so much more delicate.  But when they are done right they are so delicious.

So what do you like to do when you are not at the brewery?

I just try to get outside as much as possible.  I have a HUGE garden that keeps me busy when it’s warmer and when things cool off, I head to the mountain to stay sane.

What is your favorite non-brewing aspect part of the job?

Definitely talking to people.  I could talk about beer all day.  It just helps when there is someone there to listen to you.

What else do you like about the beer business?

As much hard work as it is and as seriously as the government takes things, everyone in the industry tends to have a lot of fun.  I mean it’s beer, it’s supposed to be fun.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tap Room - SOON

Brewery Tap Room (Downtown Spokane)

River City Brewing is opening a Tap Room soon and we need one or two craft-beer loving, highly-responsible folks to join our team and tend bar. We are looking for people who will represent our beers to the world, so an outgoing, friendly personality is a plus to help others love our beer as much as we do. We will be open seven days a week, 3 -- 8 pm on Sun to Wed and 3 -- 9 pm Thur to Sat. No food service -- just beer and pretzels. Duties will mostly include serving beer, filling growlers, and talking about beer, but will also involve moving (but not lifting) kegs occasionally.

If you are interested, please e-mail your resume and a cover letter including a description of your favorite craft beer and why you want to work for River City Brewing.
  • Location: Downtown Spokane
  • Compensation: Hourly plus tips
  • This is a part-time job.
  • Send cover letter and resume to

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Peru Part Deux

It makes for a nice rhyme, don't you think?  Also, it looks like it makes for a nice trip.

Just focus on the jersey.  Ignore the guy peeing.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Mountain Biking In Peru

The winner of the River City Red Cycling Team "Big Dog" award was Travis Coleman.  Travis has a long, storied cycling history in cycling including stints as a professional downhill mtb racer and road racing with Floyd Landis (long before FL was on the "juice" (I'm assuming)), but before I get too far astray, here is the point: Travis is riding mountain bikes in Peru right now and he had sent along a couple of pictures to tantalize and entice us to all want to go to Peru to ride mountain bikes. 

Hopefully there will be more stories and more pics, but here is a start.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Updated List - Where to find the Beer!

River City Red
Greenbriar Foods
Imbibe Wine Shop
Italia Trattoria
Rocket Bakery
Shakeys Pizza Parlor
Syringa Japanese Restaurant
Total Wine & More
Vintage Vine
Waddells Neighborhood Pub
The Onion Downtown 
Famous Eds

Girlfriend Golden
A-1 Smokeshop
Pacific Avenue Pizza
Waddells Neighborhood Pub
Nyne Restaurant Bar
Total Wine & More

River City IPA
Shakeys Pizza Parlor
Fox Bear Public House
JJ’s Grill
Vintages 611
Spencers Steakhouse
Waddells Neighborhood Pub

The Moscow Alehouse
Jacksons Sports Bar-Yakima
Fox Bear Public House
Mid Columbia-kennewick

VB Stout
The Moscow Alehouse
Bardanay Restaurant- CdA
JB Foods
Red Robin-Valley
Roosters Landing
Seasons of CdA
The Viking Tavern
Total Wine & More
Jacksons Sports Bar-Yakima
Java on Sherman-CdA
JJ’s Grill
La Rosa Club
Mid Columbia-Kennewick
The Lions Lair
Waddells Neighborhood Pub
Zesta Cucina

Riverkeeper Red
Denny’s Restaurant-Geiger
Longhorn BBQ Spokane Valley
MacKenzie River Pizza-Downtown
The Basement-Cheney
Rocket Natural Market

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Beer Events Galore!

We have a bunch of beer events coming up on the next several weeks.  Come join us, drink some beer and support some great local causes.

October 5 - A Girl Scout's Fundraiser with Girl Scout Cookies and Beer:     

The inaugural Craft Beer and Cookie Fest scheduled on Saturday, October 5, 2013 at the Girl Scout Program Center, will pair great craft beer with the iconic Girl Scout Cookie to raise funds and awareness for the nearly 2,500 Girl Scouts in the Spokane area and the 8,200 Girl Scouts in their council.  There will be at least five breweries participating this year and a live band to play throughout the event. This is a 21 and older event that goes from 4pm-8pm Saturday. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. This includes a tasting mug, three 4oz pours and a brat.

You can purchase tickets through Brown Paper Tickets ( or through the Girl Scout office at 509-747-8091. This event will be held at 1404 N Ash St, Spokane.

October 5- “Crosstoberfest” Cyclocross Race:
Also on Saturday will be the first stop of the Inland Northwest Cyclocross Race Series being held in Sandpoint Idaho with the races starting at 9am, and the beer pouring at noon.  This is a great race to be a part of as well as a great spectator opportunity since it is a cyclocross bike race with a beerfest.  The event is in support of Team Autism 24/7, a non profit dedicated to helping families living with autism to have a better quality of life. They do this through programs that educate, create awareness and create a sense of community for families, professionals, and providers.  There will be four breweries (River City Brewing, Laughing Dog, 219er and MickDuff’s), two pubs (Eichardt’s and Pour Authority), and one winery (Pend Orielle Winery) participating in creating the BeerFest part of the Event.  There will also be live music, food, an announcer, and a raffle. 
The event will be held at the University of Idaho, N. Boyer Avenue, Sandpoint Idaho.  For more info: 
October 6 - Lands Council Brews Cruise:
This Sunday, the Lands Council is organizing their Third Annual Brews Cruise.  Unlike most "cruise", this one does not involve a boat, but involves pedaling around for your own people powered cruise.  The event will begin and end at the Saranac Public House and will include stops at our brewery (complete with behind the scenes look at our brewing facility) and Budge Brothers.  This 21+ event starts at 1 pm and includes live music at the finish line.

Saranac Public House is located at 21 W. Main Avenue in downtown Spokane.  For more info:

October 12 - EWU Library Roaring ‘20s Oktoberfest:
Eastern Washington University is simply jazzed about the Roaring '20s theme this year for the EWU Library Oktoberfest on October 12th. They are telling people “Don't be a flat tire, put on your Fedora or headdress and come join the rest of the guys and gals. This awesome “swanky” event helps raise some funds for the Collection Endowment Fund. All proceeds go to the EWU Libraries' Collection Endowment Fund to purchase books, journals, and electronic resources for students, faculty, staff and the EWU community at large. The event will include a swanky meal and dessert, spiffy beer and wine tastings.  This year they've got wine from the pros- Latah Creek Wineries and Walla Walla Vintners.  River City Brewing and  No-Li Brewhouse will be serving up some great (LOCAL!) beers to sample.  There will also be live rag-time music by some swinging cats- the Chris Grant Quartet!
This fun event will be Saturday October 12th from 5pm-10:30pm at the JFK Library on the Cheney Campus.  For more info: and 

October 12- March of Dimes Signature Chef Event:
One of the best events hosted by Red Lion Hotels Corporation is their annual March of Dimes Signature Chefs event held on Saturday October 12th from 6pm-10pm.  The March of Dimes annual Signature Chefs Auction returns with delectable tastings from Spokane's finest chefs and the opportunity to bid on unique and desirable auction packages, as well as tastings from local wineries and River City Brewing. All proceeds benefit the March of Dimes mission of improving the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. This years event marks the 75th anniversary of March of Dimes saving lives so it is an especially important event for them this year. 

This fundraiser will be held at Red Lion Hotel at the Park, 303 West North River Drive  For more info: 

October 19 - 18th Annual OctoBREWfest for MS
OctoBREWfest is a fun-filled evening of Brews & Bids that features tastings of a variety of microbrews from the most popular northwest microbreweries and both a silent and live auction will offer a variety of items for auction goers to bid on.  Every year, 100% of the money raised from the OctoBREWfest event goes to support the efforts of the Inland Northwest Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.  Sixty percent stays in the Inland Northwest to provide services to over 2500 local people who have MS and their families, and 40% goes to funding increasingly hopeful research. Admittance for the event, by ticket, is open to anyone over twenty-one years of age.
 The event will be held at the Spokane County Fair & Expo Center, from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. All proceeds benefit the Inland Northwest Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.  For more info: