Thursday, February 28, 2013

Girlfriend Golden





Girlfriend Golden – The hallmark of a great girlfriend is how well you get along.  This golden ale will easily pass that test.  Using pale malt and light hopping, this easy drinking beer will get along with almost everyone.  Whether you are new to the craft beer world, or a serious connoisseur, the straw color and crisp finish are inviting to all.  Very low on the IBU scale, this beer was described to us once as like a “biscuit with a touch of honey on it.”  After a glass of it yourself, you will definitely want to spend more time with your new Girlfriend.  O.G. – 11.0 / I.B.U. – 6 / A.B.V. - 5.0%



All of our beers are made with regional ingredients – water from the Spokane aquifer, grains from the region and malted just north of the border, hops from the Yakima Valley and yeast originated in Oregon.  Each one is hand-crafted in our downtown brewery and is the result of years of tasting, testing and experience.  We love making beer, talking about beer and, yes, drinking beer.  

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

River City Red




River City Red – The River City Red label says it all, “Wee Bit Malty – Crisp and Clean.”  That’s the short version, but if you want to know a bit more, we can do that too.  This beer is made from five different malted, two-row barley grains to give it just the right caramel red color, then we use two different hop varieties – Nugget Hops for flavor and Liberty Hops for aroma.  The beer is well balanced between the sweetness of the malted barley and the bite of the hops.  Clean on the palate, this beer goes well with almost any food or makes a great session beer.  We can debate about whether it fits into a red, amber or Scottish category, but we can’t debate its drinkability.  O.G. – 13.6 / I.B.U. – 16 / A.B.V. - 5.6%

All of our beers are made with regional ingredients – water from the Spokane aquifer, grains from the region and malted just north of the border, hops from the Yakima Valley and yeast originated in Oregon.  Each one is hand-crafted in our downtown brewery and is the result of years of tasting, testing and experience.  We love making beer, talking about beer and, yes, drinking beer. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Beer Descriptions

I like drinking beer.  A lot.  I also like making beer.  A lot.  And I like being involved in a brewery.  A lot.  That's all good, seeing as it is a major element of my life and has been for more than a decade.

Also, I like talking about beer when I drink it.  It's enjoyable to be around a table, look over a great draft list and pick something.  After it arrives, I like looking at it, smelling it, tasting it, thinking about it and usually discussing it with whoever is at the table.  If I'm doing that with a group of people, it tends to be something that happens at the beginning of each round, but it is also just a few moments out of a meal or b.s. session.  If you think about it, that discussion is a couple of minutes, maybe sharing some tastes and then, moving back to whatever earth-shattering, life-changing discussion was going on at the table already - like, did you see the last 30 Rock, or where are we riding bikes this weekend, or what time is your dentist appointment tomorrow, or did you see those meteor videos set to the Harlem Shake music, or whatever. 

It's a completely different thing, however, when tasting beer is the sole focus of a conversation.  When describing the beer can't just include a few descriptors and then going back to wondering whatever happened to the Chocolate Rain guy.  It somehow complicates the process when it becomes an essay, rather than a caption.  It can become pretentious or silly or overblown, because tasting a single beer is not a 30 minute discussion.

So why, you are now asking, did this become a subject for such rambling discussion and does it have the potential to become as long and silly as trying to describe a single beer for 30 minutes?  Okay, I'll tell you why.  Last week one of my jobs at the brewery was to write the descriptions of the beers.  The definitive, pass it out to several hundred people, print it on the interweb for all of mankind to consider, description of our beers.

When that is the job, it takes time and thought and commitment and insight.  It also takes some contemplation of all of the other descriptions of similar beers or how your beer fits into the categories of other beers.  And, you can't end up with anything too serious, or too silly, or too much marketing speak, or too a lot of other stuff.  Frankly, it's daunting.  And this is coming from a guy who will write several hundred words about almost anything.

So, the point is, we have beer descriptions.  I sat down one evening last week with several ounces of each of these beers and wrote descriptions of them.  I will be debuting a new description each day with it's own post and they will be accumulated under their own tab, "Beers," appearing near the top of this page.  Take a look, have a drink and let me know if you have a different way of describing these beers.  If your description is better than mine, I will change our official description and gladly buy you a beer or two for your efforts.  So, facebook us or leave it in the comment section or send me an e-mail to gage at inland nw brewing dot com.

Cheers!  Salud!  Prost!  Slainte!  Mazel Tov!  Skoal!  Feliz Navidad!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Thoughts during a bike ride

I went out for a bike ride.  Astonishing given my recent track record, but true.  I had some time to think.  Here is some of what I thought.

Why do my legs feel like this?  They feel heavy and sore and I have only been riding for 3 minutes.

How far over on the shoulder should I ride?  The law says to ride as far right as is safe.  With the amount of rock, gravel, broken glass and miscellaneous detritus, "as far right as is safe" puts me in the middle of traffic.

Next time a car driver complains about the government, someone should point out roads they drive on and the massive amount of work to keep them drivable and safe with de-icer and gravel all winter.  The next time a bike rider complains about the government, someone should point out that all that gravel gets cleaned up again every spring.  I'm really ready for that day.

Why is this hill so long?  Is it twice as long in February as July?  How would that work?

Did I enjoy all that food and alcohol enough to make it worthwhile to carry up this hill right now?  I'm not sure.  Maybe.  Yeah, upon further reflection, I did.

Has anyone noticed that the roads around Spokane are not great?  And by not great, I mean that third world countries would be sad about it if their roads were this bad.

What is the average time delay caused by having to slow the speed of your vehicle and then go around a bike?  It has to be less than 5 seconds in the worst of circumstances and might be just one or two seconds.  What is the average angry driver doing that makes those few seconds so precious?  What destination is so important that it's necessary to brush me with your side mirror to avoid having to slow down?  Really, the essence of this question is, why are you such an asshole?

For February, it's really nice out here.

I hope that riding in February will make it more fun to ride in June, July and August.

Should I just give up on the racing season now, before it starts, because of how slow I am today?

Should everyone be forced by law to stay off their bikes for several weeks each year to equal things up a bit for those of us who are lazy and don't ride when it is truly miserable?  How dumb is that last thought?  Very.

Lance Armstrong is, and always was, a liar and a pain in the ass. Also, Frankie Andreau is a better husband than I am.

Why do drivers who slow down to go around a cyclist feel the need to accelerate full throttle to gain back those few mph?

Hey, there is Budweiser Black Crown Lager whatever packaging by the roadside.  Pretty impressive since it's only be on the market for a couple of weeks.  Also, does having the packaging thrown out a car window mean that they hit their intended market with that beer, or completely missed it?  Because craft brew drinkers are not, broadly speaking, litterers.  

Wow, the time has flown by being outside on my bike.  On the other hand, the miles did not.

I'm looking forward to riding outside when it doesn't require 13 layers of clothing.

I'm tired. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Saturday Smart Alek

Saturday morning, I received this e-mail via our River City Red Cycling Team group,

According to the always-accurate iPhone weather forecast it looks like it’s supposed to start snowing at around 12 today.

If you’re interested, Quicksilver and I are going to meet on Aubrey White Drive to do the Riverside TT course that Ted Chauvin set up last year. There’s a Strava segment for this. Thought it might be good to get in one tough effort before next weekend...

Come join if you’d like. We’ll be there at around 10:15. It starts towards the top of the hill, just past the golf course. Total distance is just under 12 miles. Love, Mr. Millimeter.

Having other plans, for instance, avoiding a painful TT workout chief among them, I continued drinking espresso and reading the morning paper while those guys set out to hurt themselves.  As the day progressed, however, the weather got better and I got around to riding my bike.  Not being able to help pointing out that the day got nicer and the temperature warmer, and seeing from JS @ Cycling Spokane and PS from 26 Inch Slicks that I should stop and take more pictures during my rides, I sent the following along the course of my ride. 

Boy am I sorry I missed the TT ride. The snow is coming down so hard it's hurting my eyes.

Several miles later, I added this bon mot,
Now the snow is pelting my skin making it feel oddly warm. Oh how I wish I had gone earlier. 

And then, this final stop along my route, which took in Betts Road,
It is positively Shackletonian out here. I am looking for a Tonton to use as an entrail shelter. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

How do they do that on a bike?

I am completely and utterly mystified by some things. Margarine, for instance. Also, this video. How do people live through this? Or live through the other 10,000 rides involving jumping off stuff or riding down stuff that I can't bring myself to do once. Don't they hurt themselves and then think, "I shouldn't ride my bike at 75 mph through a Colombian village jumping off ramps and narrowly avoiding dogs?" Because that is the exact thought I had the last time I crashed my mountain bike.



And, yes, I do realize the video spills out of the column.  I can make it smaller, but then you can't get the full impact of the dancers at the beginning, not to mention the full scope of the idiocy.  I mean, action.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Stuff

The pace is accelerating of us doing stuff.  So here is the real quick re-cap.

Early last week we kegged Coeur d'Alene Brewing Company Huckleberry Ale for the first time in 2 1/2 years.  That was good.

At the end of the week we kegged River City IPA for the first time ever.  Dry hopped to make it a great IPA.  That was also good.


On Saturday, we went to the Moscow Alehouse and poured the Huckleberry Ale, Vandal Gold and River City Red.  Thanks to Wendy, Rick, Jake and the crew!  It was great fun and also good.

Why can't I offset pictures like normal people?
Got a question.  Cody has the answer.
Over the weekend, we created a Facebook page for River City Brewing - https://www.facebook.com/RiverCityBrewing and one for the Coeur d'Alene Brewing Company - https://www.facebook.com/CdABrewingCompany.  We have added pictures, comments and will be updating it with locations to buy and drink our beers.  Please do us the favor of "Like"ing those pages, as Facebook dictates how much information we get based on Likes, clicks, sharing and other interaction.  That will be good.

This week we are gearing up for Spokane Restaurant Week and will have news of a number of new places to drink our beers.  That should also be good.

And lastly, we are supporting one other public event this week, on Friday, we are supplying beer for a Spokane Bike Love event - here are some kind comments about us and the event from the Dean of Spokane Cycle Blogging - http://www.cyclingspokane.blogspot.com/2013/02/river-city-red-beer-and-bicycle.html - and here is the Facebook event page - http://www.facebook.com/events/339413576165393/.  And that is a good way to end your week.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Famous Ed's

They say that you always remember your first.  First "what" they don't usually say.  In this case, however, our first is Famous Ed's.  We are very pleased that they jumped on the train as it was just exiting the station and were the first bar/restaurant to have a tap handle of River City Red.

Dale and Mark - We raise a glass to you!  Now stop in and see them to raise your own glass of River City Red.  And don't forget that they have growler fills all the time, and for only $10 on Monday.  Hey!  That's today!  Gotta go.


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Dr. Spalm

Bikes and Beer.  That is the primary theme of this blog.  In a prior life, some of us responsible for this blog did a prior blog, of which we were reminded yesterday for a couple of reasons, which skewed towards bikes more, but a certain amount of beer.  During that time, we had a semi-regular contributor named Dr. Spalm.  There is a lot we don't know about Dr. Spalm, but here are a few things that we do: we had to pay him by the word to answer questions (this lead to wordy responses, but his rate was very low so it worked for us); he claimed to have medical credentials, although this claim originated about the time he is also known to have emerged from a Central American jungle after an extended disappearance; he suggests that he was born in Europe, although without really saying where and he is also suspected of feigning ignorance of the English language to suit his own purposes.

Why then, did he seem like a good person to answer questions in our blog?  I think we were drunk at the time.  Nonetheless, we have made the decision to bring back Dr. Spalm at least in re-run form.  We have started asking around to see if he is interested in answering more questions, so while we scour bus station bathrooms and flea bag hotels for evidence of his whereabouts, please enjoy this prior post.  And, if you have any questions for Dr. Spalm related to cycling or beer, please let us know.

Dr. Spalms Answers Your Questions

Having just returned from a tour of scientifically interesting sights throughout Eastern Europe seeking the latest and most unusual in medical techniques and off-label drug use, Dr. Spalm is now in need of replenishing his coffers by providing answers to the readers of our blog at his usual per-word recompense level. So now, without further ado.

Rider 1 recently described a phenomena of riding in very warm weather and not sweating until he stopped exercising. A reader describing himself as "Mark" (surely a pseudonym meant to disguise his real identity) asks "Why do I sweat? And, "Why do I smell burnt toast on White Road?" (Actually, Mark asked his questions in a less grammatically correct form, but Dr. Spalm has graciously corrected these minor errors to help the readers of this blog post be more comfortable with the actual question; recognizing, as Dr. Spalm does, that most readers of this blog are highly erudite and well-mannered.)

These two questions are in fact very different kinds of questions. The first, why do I sweat, is an easily explained pysiological response to certain stimulus. The second, why does the reader smell burnt toast on White Road, is much more interesting and layered.

To dispense with the first, you sweat because you have applied a physical stimulus to your body causing this reaction. In other words, if you apply heat to the organ known as "skin" or more clearly to your entire body, whether from external sources or from an internal workload, your body's response is to sweat. This means that the pores in your skin will dilate or open, and allow the tiny demons living in your soul to leave. These tiny demons are tricked into thinking that you have entered hell and they are assuming that they will be welcomed back home. As these demons exit your skin, the lack of the real heat from eternal damnation is not present in the atmosphere and they cannot survive such temperate conditions; therefore they oxidize immediately and the condensation from this process appears on your skin as water or sweat. As we all know, the tiny demons are inside you because we are all evil at our core.

Now, to the more interesting question of smelling burned toast. This is not a phenomena that is capable of such a clear and cogent explanation. In fact, there are multiple reasons that you might have the smell of burnt toast within your nostrils as you travel up White Road. For those of you not familiar with our local area, White Road in this question refers to the 3/4 of a mile section of said road that rises at a 10-15% pitch from Highway 195 up towards Cedar Road. In about 7/10's of a mile, the road gains 800 feet in elevation. As a result, a rather significant exertion is required to ride this portion of the road.

A number of potential reasons come to mind to explain this occurrence. First, I should note that it is odd that you paired these questions, because White Road is known to have a strong demonic presence. So the smell you may be picking up may not actually be burnt toast, but burnt souls that have been collected across the Palouse and brought to the White Road Demonic Processing Center. Many people have been known to confuse these smells, which is ironic because toast can be such a comfort, while having your soul demonically processed would be just the opposite. Very ironic, like a fly in your chardonnay.

Second, and continuing with our demonic theme, the smell may be because you sweat more than usual going up White Road and therefore there are more little demon oxidizations going on all around you. By the way, for proof of my theory, after a long ride take off your riding shorts, close the waist band opening to allow you to put your nose in and take a deep sniff. If that is not proof of demons, I don't know what would be.

The third explanation is that it is possible that you commonly ride up White Road during one of two times; either in the morning or during the mid-afternoon. Mrs. Magillicutty has four boys that she is raising in a rented duplex about half-way up White Road and she makes toast for them almost every morning for their breakfast and again in the afternoon for a snack. Because those four kids are a bit wild, ruffians if you will, it is not uncommon for Mrs. Magillicutty to burn the toast while she endeavors to re-direct the boys' energies. Be forewarned, however, Mr. Magillicutty was a cyclist and left the family to serve espresso to Euro-pros in Girona, so Mrs. Magillicutty's is not a good place to stop for water. Or toast.  She has reserved no goodwill for our cycling brethren. 

Fourth, there is a wives' tale that one smells burnt toast as a sign of stroke. There are two problems with this suggestion as a solution to your question. There is no scientific evidence that this "burnt toast" phenomena is actually attached to stroke; it would be considered an olfactory hallucination, but you are just as likely to smell figs or your grandmother's perfume as you are to smell toast if it is indeed a precursor to stroke. Next, the more likely medical condition from climbing White Road is tachycardia followed by myocardial infarction. Much more likely than stroke. Also, myocardial infarction is a lot more fun to say. Try it. BTW, rumor has it that Mrs. Magillicutty has a home defibrillator if you are really desperate. On the other side of the road, Satan is not rumored to have one, so be careful about where you seek help.

Fifth, in the list of possible reasons, is that you have entered a parallel universe in which you can literally smell analogies or similes. In this world, which is extrapolated from the quantum mechanics work of DeWitt, you are "toasted" or "burned like toast", and your olfactory senses can actually detect this in the air. This is not the same as an olfactory hallucination, in which you are sensing something that does not exist. Keep two things in mind if this is the case; a) Be glad you didn't enter the anthropomorphic alternative universe; and b) feel free to be "toasted", but don't tell your riding buddy that you feel like a piece of shit.

And the sixth explanation for you smelling toast is that you are pregnant.  You probably don't know this, which is why I am answering the questions, but the burnt toast phenomena is associated with early pregnancy symptoms. I think this is the mostly likely answer.

Thank you for asking.
Dr. Spalm

Friday, February 15, 2013

Growler Bike - Yeah, Really.

And now for something completely different.

My occasional beer-drinking, occasional bike-riding, always funny friend TW sent me a link a couple of days ago for, yes, the Growler Bike.  What is, exactly, a Growler Bike, you ask?  I suppose you ask that question because your eyes are so focused on these compelling words that you haven't noticed any pictures below this paragraph, so let me explain.

A Growler Bike is a combination of a bike AND a growler.  Well, I guess that would turn into a bike growler, so maybe it's more properly described as a growler AND a bike.

No, that isn't quite right either.  That makes it sound like you can ride a growler with handlebars and pedals, or even worse, that you can fill up your bike with beer and then drink it later.  Maybe it would be better if I just stopped distracting you with mesmerizing words and let you see the picture.


So, as you can now see, it is concept bike designed around the need to carry oneself to a local pub, tote along your growler, fill it and then return home.  And just in case you don't get the application of the growler within the frame, here is a close-up of said growler frame attachment system.


As Miley Cyrus on SNL would say, "pretty cool."

And sure, the haters out there are saying things like, "What, you don't own a backpack so you have to buy a new bike to carry a growler?"  Or, "Are you sure the pedals would clear the sides of the growler?"  Or, "Do you really need an I-beam through the middle of the bike to hold the growler - what are you drinking, Molten Lead Lambic?" Or, "What is up with that gonad threatening saddle placement?"

To the haters, I would respond, "Can you never let go of your practicality to enjoy a bit of whimsy?  Or to just experience a design project for what it is - an expensive way to get attention for the designer?"

And despite this, the dentists and orthopedic surgeons are saying, "Where can I get one of those and if I buy a $5,000 single purpose growler bike can I get a discount on the growler fill to prevent me from having to give an extra $1 to the local pub owner?"  But putting this aside, my real beef is with the triathletes saying something like this, "The Q-factor on that bike would be enormous and would totally screw with my Saturday bricks."

To which I would respond, "What the hell does any of that mean?" or even, "Why can't a meteor land here, in the good ol' US of A, but just on some people?"

No, this bike is about love, love of bikes and love of beer and imagining ways we can combine these loves.  And for that, I say to you, Mr. Designer, thank you for combining these things that I also love, which distracted you from your prior project of making motorcycles even less safe and less comfortable than they already are.




For the original post sent to me: http://blog.cyclr.com/the-growler-bike-pedal-power-for-beer-snobs/.

For more from this designer:  http://www.jruiter.com/.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Moscow Alehouse - Press Release



For Immediate Release - Dated: February 12, 2013
REUNITED AND IT TASTES SO GOOD
You may not remember the song reference, but hopefully you remember the beers as the Moscow Alehouse welcomes back Coeur d’Alene Brewing Company.
In late 2010, the Coeur d’Alene Brewing Company lost its leased space where the brewery had been located since 1987 and was forced to shut down brewing operations.  The Moscow Alehouse was able to pour the remaining inventory but by early 2011, the kegs had all run dry and the Alehouse was forced to part ways with some of their most cherished craft brews on tap.  Thankfully, 2013 is proving to be a year of new adventures for both the Moscow Alehouse and the Brewery.
At the start of the year, the long-time manager of the Moscow Alehouse, Wendy Smiley-Johnson, took over ownership of the popular restaurant and bar and is enjoying operating with their new identity and new logo.  Similarly, the Brewery has had new life breathed into it as it has re-started production of some of the most popular beers.  Available for the first time in two years, Coeur d’Alene Brewing Company will be able to pour Huckleberry Ale and Vandal Gold at the Moscow Alehouse on Saturday, February 16, followed by VB Stout about March 1st.  The Moscow Alehouse will also be pouring River City Red, a beer made by the newly established River City Brewing, which is now co-located with the Coeur d’Alene Brewing Company.
The Moscow Alehouse and Coeur d’Alene Brewing Company would like to invite everyone to the Moscow Alehouse, located at 226 West 6th, to welcome these brews and to meet the Head Brewer, Cody Ragan, and owner, Gage Stromberg.  Cody was previously the Co-Head Brewer in Coeur d’Alene, but with the retirement of Laurie Kraus, has taken up the lead.  The Alehouse and Brewery will be raffling prizes for customers during the event from 1 pm to 5 pm, with a grand prize of an overnight stay at the Hotel Lusso and tour of the brewery.
In addition to the return of these wonderful craft beers, you will find many of the long-time favorites on the menu, but also new twists and updates under Wendy’s ownership.  The Moscow Alehouse will also continue to feature a rotating line-up of great microbrew beers with many produced regionally, with regular brewery events.  For more detail, see the Moscow Alehouse Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Moscow-Alehouse/241031459267920.  

Contact information:
Moscow Alehouse, Wendy Smiley-Johnson, moscowalehouse@frontier.com, 208-882-BREW (2739)
Coeur d’Alene Brewing Company/River City Brewing, Gage Stromberg – gage@inlandnwbrewing.com.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Rolling out

Chances are, if you are reading this blog, you are not a polka fan.  Not a lot of cross-over in our audiences I suspect, but nonetheless, you may remember the Beer Barrel Polka, better known by the phrase "rrrrrrooooollll out the barrel . . ."  In the song, it's just the start of the party, but for us, it's the start of a whole lot and we are just starting to roll out the barrels of beer.

Today, Rick Bonino and the Spokesman Review cover the re-birth of our brewery here: CdA Brewing back as River City - http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2013/feb/13/cda-brewing-back-as-river-city/.  I think Rick does a nice job of touching on our history, but focusing on the future, along with some comments about the two beers we had ready for him to taste.  Rick has been following the beer scene in Spokane for as long as there has been a beer scene, so it was nice to get a nod of the hat from him in today's newspaper.

We are also rolling out the barrels of beer this weekend in North Idaho at the Moscow Alehouse, but this time focused on our history.  As mentioned in Rick's column, we will be pouring the venerable and much-loved Coeur d'Alene Brewing Company Huckleberry Ale, along with long-time staple of the Moscow Alehouse - Vandal Gold.  They are kind enough to include a keg of River City Red starting on Saturday, and we will be getting them the very first keg of Coeur d'Alene Brewing Company's VB Stout when it is finished conditioning in a couple more weeks.  We sent out a Press Release about the party we are having at the Moscow Alehouse, which I will include shortly.

And lastly, speaking of rolling out the barrels for the first time, we are happy to announce that our very first tap handle in Spokane for River City Red is at Famous Ed's.  This south hill establishment has quickly become an institution of beer and pizza and we are very happy to have our first public appearance there.  Stop in for a $10 growler fill on Mondays ($14 normally) or a pint anytime.  And please let them know that we sent you.  Well, not "sent" you, so much as kindly asked you to support the folks who are supporting our endeavors. 

We are hoping that the list of tap handles will grow mightily in the next couple of weeks, in part because of our sponsorship of Spokane Restaurant Week, but in the meantime, feel free to start asking the bartender at your favorite watering hole if they have River City Red.  They should any day now.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

10,000,000 Things

You would think that getting a brewery up and running would be about making beer - and it is.  We consistently talk about making quality beer as our number one job, so that everything else comes second.  We are really clear on that and it is the touchstone for all of our conversations about plans and priorities.  If we aren't proud of what we make and what ends up in your pint glass, there is no reason to do this. 

But even with quality beer as job number one, it leaves a lot of things competing to be job number two, not to mention numbers three through three hundred.  And even when the process of making beer seems to be in hand, it is amazing how time-consuming everything after job number one can be.  And, that is doubly true when you are doing a lot of things for the first time.  Our business cards are a nice microcosm of the million small things that take inordinate time and thought to do the first time, but which will be oddly easy every other time.

Designing a business card involves a few very specific items and some abstract ones.  Definitely chicken & egg stuff, since you simply can't finish the job without both.  On the abstract side, you have to decide what your business card is going to "look" like - it's overall design.  For something so small, it can say a lot about your company in a very small space.  I assume that no one is ever going to make a decision to buy our beer or not buy our beer solely based on our business card, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't have a role in communicating something about who we are and what we do.  For instance, if our business card featured hot rod cars, or pictures of cats, or a drawing of a hop vine done by a three-year old, you would think three very different things about our brewery - and probably none of them would communicate to you that we think making great beer is our number one job.  And even when you make a decision about the "look" of the card, then how that gets translated onto that little square of paper takes some thought.  A generation or more ago, the look of every card was pretty much in line with every other, but now all of those elements are up for discussion - what goes on the front versus the back, do you need a fax number or a physical address or is just the online and social media stuff enough since that can be used to find everything else, and for that matter, what social media stuff gets included - there are literally hundreds of little icons or "bugs" that can go along with your reminder to check out the Facebook page, the Twitter feed, the blog, the pinterest, the tumblr, the instagram, the fangwangle or whatever is hot this week.

And, even when all of this overall stuff gets decided, we still had challenges on a bunch of other stuff - like our address, phone number and e-mail addresses.  Seems simple, but not always.  In our case, our brewery is located in what used to be warehouse space for a construction company and it never had a separate physical address - which means going through a process with the city and post office to get an address.  We also needed a new phone number, which seems easy but in this day and age, that also means a decision about a land-line/cell phone, a IP phone system or some other system, and a decision about what company do you call to get your phone number - your cable company, a telephone company, an internet service or some other provider.  There are similar questions around e-mail addresses - a quick online address from gmail/hotmail/yahoo or whatever, or one connected to your domain (another process altogether) and how is it hosted or users connected. 

We have had questions, issues, discussions, price comparisons and process around everyone one of these things just because it all had to be decided on for the very first time.  It may not take 300 hours to be ready to order business cards for the first time, but then again, it might.  And, it's funny to think about the fact that re-ordering business cards could literally take less than 3 minutes, maybe ever more like 30 seconds, like an e-mail to the printer saying "hey, thanks for the business cards, but we need some more - we'll take another order just like the first." 

I will try to remember to celebrate that day with a pint and just a moment's thought of what it took to get to that place.