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Midwest Hops and Barley Co-op Brewers and Growers come together to launch five great tasting fresh hop beers using locally-grown ingredients, as well as local Wisconsin-based Brewing marketing to local craft beer consumers! A culmination of three years of collaborative effort from planting hop rhizomes back in 2009 on four different hop farms, irrigating, cultivating, harvesting, oasting, processing and packaging these locally-grown hops have provided the five Craft Brewer Members with the opportunity to realize the fruits of their combined labor! Although all the hops in all five of these beers have come from our Co-op's four hop farms, they all have unique tasty flavor profiles by brewing with the wet hops. Wet hop brewing takes the harvested hops direct from the field to the kettle to brew in the same day. Hops typically are dried at high temperatures so they are stable for the year, but this can cause the hops to loose flavor and aroma compounds which are found in these wet hop beers. We are pleased to announce the arrival of the following five unique, quality craft brews that will soon appear throughout the state: Bull Falls Brewery, Wausau, WI Hop Worthy Amber Ale Central Waters Brewery, Amherst, WI Harvest Wet Hop Ale Lakefront Brewery, Milwaukee, WI Local Acre Wet Hop Lager South Shore Brewery, Ashland, WI Bitter Blonde Wet Hopped Ale Sprecher Brewery, Glendale, WI Hopfuzion Fresh Hop Lager Get to your local retailer and ask for the 2012 Midwest Hops and Barley Craft Beers that will be available at all 5 Trig’s Store Locations in Central Wisconsin, plus Discount Liquors and Ray’s Liquors in Milwaukee, WI! Kudos go out to our local hop growers for producing high quality fresh hops that provide the unique taste profiles that today’s craft beer consumers are looking for: Stettin-Wokatsch Hop Farm, Wausau, WI Marathon County-Krautkramer Hop Farm, Marathon, WI Trzeb’s Back 40 Hop Farm, Amherst, WI Fine Bine Hop Farm, Rosholt, WI “He was a wise man who invented beer” - Plato ### Jon Reynolds, Managing Director Midwest Hops and Barley Co-op
Midwest Hops and Barley Co-op was founded by the five Wisconsin Craft Brewers and the Four Hops Growers listed above in April, 2009. The Co- op is self-funded and operates within the Guidelines of the State of Wisconsin Cooperative. It is based in Onalaska, WI and its founding mission is to provide local brewing of high quality craft beers that incorporate local ingredients, local selling and marketing campaigns, and local consumption by discerning craft beer aficionados.
Robin Shepard on Tuesday 10/09/2012 2:12 pm
Five breweries collaborate to release beers with co-op hops
It’s time for the release of this season’s fresh hop brews. The five Wisconsin breweries that make up the Midwest Hops and Barley Cooperative are simultaneously releasing five different beers, all made with this year’s crop of local hops. This is the first time members have attempted to directly coordinate the release of their beers, reaffirming what has become an outright fresh-hop beer season in Wisconsin.
The 2012 fresh hop brews from Central Water Brewing (Amherst), Sprecher Brewing (Glendale), Lakefront Brewery (Milwaukee), Bull Falls Brewery(Wausau) and South Shore Brewery (Ashland) should start appearing around the state within the next two weeks. All five breweries started the fresh hop beer-making process in late August. That’s when the brewers met on the Amherst farm of Ryan Trzebiatowski to witness the picking of the hops, which were collected and immediately put into batches of beer. Hop vines were harvested from three different Wisconsin farms and then brought to Trzebiatowski’s Back 40 Farm where a picking machine removed the hop cones — the part of the plant that is used to make beer.
Getting label approval for all five beers was more difficult than Co-op members had planned, so the release is actually a few weeks behind schedule. Regardless, each brewery used one or more of the hop varieties from this year’s Wisconsin harvest. The beers will be released in 22-ounce bottles featuring painted labels. The front of the bottles are unique to each beer and brewery on the front, while the reverse side is common to all with the names of the five Co-op members and the three farms where the hops were grown.
“This came out of our collaboration — that gave these farmers a little seed money to grow hops a couple of years ago,” says Anello Mollica of Central Waters Brewing. “We’re now at the point where we have some nice harvests coming in.” Wisconsin-grown Cascade or Nugget hops are the main varieties being used to make the beers.
Central Wisconsin Brewing has “redesigned” a pale ale called Hop Harvest it last made in 2010. Sprecher Brewing made a lager called Hopfuzion. Lakefront Brewery tweaked its popular Local Acre Lager. Bull Falls made Hop Worthy Amber Ale. And South Shore Brewery is releasing a pale ale with the name Bitter Blonde.
“This is about taking a common product, hops, and making five different beers,” says Sprecher Brewing’s Jeff Hamilton.
“It was a really fun thing to do and it shows how collaborative we can be,” says Mollica. He’s been going to Madison-area liquor stores over the past several weeks, not just to promoting Central Waters, but encouraging store managers to carry all five of the seasonal fresh hop brews.
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges of this collaboration has been coordinating a near simultaneous release of the beers. The design and federal approval of the labels as a group helped insure they would be on shelves at about the same time. However, each of the five breweries has different wholesale and distributor relationships, which makes seeing them all on shelves at the same time a challenge. Smaller breweries (Bull Falls and South Shore) also made less beer, so finding their bottles might be a little more difficult.
What’s more, federal trade rules prevent brewers from directly discussing pricing with each other. However, consumers can expect these 22-ounce bottles to sell for around $5/each. If you miss your chance at one of the limited-release fresh hop beers, Mollica says he and the brewers are already talking about doing it again: “I’m pretty sure this will go on every year now. It’s a pretty cool idea.”
Monday, August 15, 2011
The Daily Press
122 West Third Street
Ashland, WI 54806
While the Daily Press considers a response from Tim Roby, a spokesperson for the Wisconsin Beer Distributors Association as credible, I see those comments as just another public relations firm’s obligation to a client. The comments for some reason did not come from their President, nor from an actual distributor, it’s from a spokesperson.
First and foremost, I am directly involved in the industry. I own and operate a brewery. I am directly affected by legislation that was covertly conceived and cowardly inserted into the budget bill at the eleventh hour. So who has the proper platform on which to speak of the truth? Someone hired for PR or an actual player in the game? If this legislation was so great why did it have to get inserted into the budget? If this legislation is so good how come the WBDA did not involve the Wisconsin craft brewing industry in its drafting process?
Mr. Roby seems very proud to list as some of their accomplishments giving piece of mind to me that we still enjoy provisions of our liquor laws just as they were prior to the budget. Am I suppose to be grateful that these items were left alone because you could have attacked those as well? Four of the five bullet points list things that were not changed. Let’s talk about the things that were changed.
The day before the budget bill was signed, I could work with other brewers and breweries to distribute OUR collective products. Now I can not. That is what is known as stifling access to the market. There were 92 wholesalers in Wisconsin in 1994. In 2007, there were 67. Today there are 42, and the number continues to drop. Perhaps by the time this prints there will be 41, as Miller Beer of the Northwoods acquires H&H Distributing in Rhinelander, WI. At the same time, the number of brands carried by these wholesalers has more than doubled. The employee to brand ratio at the wholesalers has declined to the point that adequate sales representation is of concern to myself and other WI producers. Breweries must be allowed to band together to reverse this trend. These new brewery-owned distributors will also create new jobs that Wisconsin desperately needs, instead of eliminating jobs in the name of efficiency as wholesalers do as they consolidate.
The day before the budget bill was signed I had a municipal liquor license and a wholesaler’s license. Now I do not. Today I have a permit. There is a huge difference between a license and a permit. One is a portable asset, it has tangible value, the latter comes with no assurances , and it is unclear as to whether that permit is transferable and could be an asset that may provide some return on investment upon the sale of my business.
The day before the budget was passed contract brewers were also licensed by the state and federal government. They hired breweries, such as mine, to make their recipes. They took delivery and worked with a wholesaler to get their product to market. In order to accomplish this, the contract brewer needed a wholesaler’s license. Today, the dissolution of a brewer being able to hold a wholesaler’s license makes being a contract brewer quite different, if not impossible, unclear.
While Mr. Roby’s slight of hand to myself and the general public with a provision that raises a ceiling from 50,000 to 300,000 barrels, that should make any local, small town, “what do you know” brewer happy, he forgets to mention that the provision directly associated with that caveat was the prior need for a producer to acquire an off brewery site warehouse if production exceeded the 50,000 barrel threshold. A huge expense when the is no real reason for that requirement.
Ask Mr. Roby to explain why a wholesaler’s license fee went from $100.00 to $2500.00. Ask Mr. Roby why it’s necessary to have 25 established accounts before one is given a wholesaler’s license. Let him speak to the fact that since 1997 we have lost half of the beer wholesaler’s in WI. Ask him to speak of the “mom-n-pop” businesses that have been displaced by consolidation. Ask him to speak to the fact that while their distribution system continues to lose jobs the craft beer market is adding. The WBDA is in survival mode and willing to pull out all stops to get protectionist legislation from willing politicians.
Every small brewer uses their wholesale license today to sell to a few customers. Many brewers sell (with their wholesale license) to special events/festivals with permission from the wholesaler that has the assigned territory from the brewer because the wholesaler does not want to haul beer out to weekend festivals etc. This proposal requires 25 or more customers, making startup of self distribution nearly impossible. It would also not be possible for small brewery to get started by selling to a small local grocery store chain with 5-6 stores. This is often the only way to get started. It’s the way South Shore Brewery got started.
Mr. Roby is by no means being truthful. Using words such as “enhance” and “preserve”. The only enhancement and preservation the WBDA wants is total control of what products get to market. They have the lobbying dollars and granted power to do that. Perhaps that’s why the budgetary submission happened.
The legislative system is corrupted to the point that a defacto organization can draft, submit and get passed legislation without public input. That is the real truth. Can someone please tell me what makes the Wisconsin Beer Distributors Association so darn powerful? Mr. Roby may imply that because I’m just a local brewer, I don’t know what I speak of. Or that small town businesses just need to sit back and let the people who “know” rule. He forgets, I am the “mom-n-pop” business person and work damn hard to help each retailer and distributor, which carries our brands, see better profits. That takes a respectful and open relationship with wholesalers. What Mr. Roby doesn’t understand is that I have 16 years of experience with the manipulation the WBDA, and now Miller/Coors, have wrought on the craft brewing industry of Wisconsin. Not once in those 16 years has the WBDA reached out to craft brewers. Craft brewers are finally irritating enough to the executive portions of these corporations that they are compelled to spend resources to pay for legislated security.
Finally, if Mr. Roby is concerned that Representative Bewley and myself are wasting time and energy seeking a legislative resolution, it would be awesome if the craft brewers, other distributors and non-affiliated retailers all had input. It would be quite awesome if the solution truly enhanced all aspects of the burgeoning craft beer producers of Wisconsin, the distribution network, and provided a respectful working relationship for the future. The compliant politicians need to be aware that WI craft beer producers are here to stay. We are here to grow our businesses and compete for more market share. We have proven our grassroots capabilities and need to be allowed a voice in legislative drafting that impacts our industry.
To all my friends, acquaintances, consumers and employees in the retail and distribution network, the South Shore Brewery is grateful for your hard work and support. For some reason, decisions are being made that require me to become vocal and take action. Beer is suppose to be apolitical in the Great Beer State of Wisconsin.
Head Brewer/ Owner
Disclaimer. The craft beer industry is represented, in part, by the Wisconsin Brewer’s Guild. (An organization which readily lists their members on their website. Along with all affiliate members). This same organization represents the craft brewers who are owned and operated by real WI residents and produce, by estimates, 95% of the craft beer produced in WI. The South Shore Brewery is a member of the WBG and I personally am a member of the Board of Directors, and chairperson of the Marketing & Fundraising Committee.