One Year Anniversary Celebration!
It is hard to believe that one year ago, on February 26, 2011, we had our grand opening celebration. It was a cold, snowy day and with a hint of nervousness and a great deal of excitement we opened our doors. None of us were prepared for the crush of people who showed up. It was overwhelming.
Now, one year later, we are able to look back over our first year and be proud, and a little awed, by what we’ve been able to accomplish.
Our Master Brewer, Skip Madsen, had already created four styles of beer for our opening day. The American Blonde, Ed’s Red, Breakaway IPA. and Caboose Oatmeal Stout. Since that time, we’ve also released an Organic Pale Ale, a Pilsener, a seasonal Winter Ale. and a sour with the moniker of Big Pucker! As of this writing the next release will be a Scotch Ale with an Imperial Red not too far behind it.
Skip also collaborated with Warren Peterson, sou chef for Tom Douglas’s Brave Horse Tavern, to craft an American Style Brown Ale named Brave American. This ale went on to win a Bronze Medal at the 2011 Great American Beer Festival, the premier beer competition for the American Beer industry.
It wasn’t long after opening that it became apparent that more time and thought needed to be put into the branding of American Brewing Company. Seattle based Taphandles, Inc. worked closely with us to design a creative and distint master brand logo, tap handles, and labels for our 22 oz bottles. “It has been our honor to be able to work directly with a brewery in our own back yard, that not only has exciting visions of future growth, but also brews beer our Northwesterners can be proud to call local,” says Oceania Eagan, Creative Director for Taphandles. “It was a fun challenge to help American Brewing Company tell their story and develop marketing solutions that would grow with them.”
The resulting designs have received recognition and attention outside of the beer industry. Graphic Design USA presented the American Package Design Award to Taphandles for the American Brewing Company 22 oz Bottle Labels. In September 2011, The Die Line (the premier packaging show off site) featured our labels on their blog site. Other sites that picked up on our designs were Oh Beautiful Beer, Hoptions, and The Pour Curator.
In July, five months after our opening, we began to bottle three of our beers. The clinking of bottles as they rumbled down the conveyor belt was music to our ears. We were on our way to the next level.
Seattle Magazine’s October 2011 issue, “The Ultimate Beer Lover’s Guide” named us one of ten “buzz-worthy” up-and-coming breweries. Our Breakaway IPA was one of three suggested recommendations of that style (along with Boundary Bay IPA, another Skip Madsen creation). There was also an article that featured the Pioneers of brewing, all alumni from Pike Brewing Company, one of whom was Skip.
In November 2011, owner Neil Fallon went to Washington D.C. to pour our beer for over 500 members of Congress and their staff. American Brewing was one of 15 breweries chosen for this distinction and it was an honor to be a part of the Tenth Annual Autumn Capitol Hill Beer Tasting.
By December of 2011, we were being represented by three distributors, approved to sell our beer through eight major chain stores, were licensed to sell in two states, had eight paid employees, participated in over 17 festivals and events, and expanded our brewery…twice. The expansion has now aligned us to be able to produce in excess of 5,000 barrels. The blistering pace of our brewery production took our start up year numbers to an excess of 1,500 barrels.
It was also in December that a unique opportunity came our way to be one of the first breweries to join a new on-line craft beer store called Beerjobber.com. We are now shipping our beer to enthusiastic craft beer drinkers all over the United States!
On a more personal level, our tasting room has blossomed into a warm and inviting space that many locals and craft beer lovers enjoy visiting. We are proud of our knowledgeable, welcoming staff who can’t wait to talk to you about our beer. Our cask nights have become a favorite night among our customers who love to try out Skip’s newest experiment (remember tapping the pumpkin cask?) and it wouldn’t be a cask night without Big Mike’s hot dogs! We offer 2 TV screens, shuffle board, free WiFi, complimentary popcorn, plenty of take-out menus for you to order from (delivery right to your chair) and fresh, award winning beer!
During the summer months, we opened our bay door and created an outdoor space that encouraged our customers to wander outside, play some ladder golf and soak up some much needed sunshine. Our mug club membership sold out by December and we have a waiting list of eager beer drinkers who want their own numbered mug waiting for them when they visit!
We feature live music a couple weekends each month and have hosted countless birthday and anniversary parties, a few fundraising events, and are already booking high school reunion gatherings for next summer.
All in year one.
We want to extend a heartfelt “Thank You” to everyone who lent a helping hand, gave us much needed advice, spread the word about our beer, and in any way positively impacted our growth over the course of our first year. We are truly grateful to all of you.