Monday, May 24, 2010

Pint Glasses, Tap Handles and Growlers... Oh My!

Willi Becher.
As we come into the final stretch before our opening, much time has been spent working on getting the Hess Brewing glassware and tap handles figured out. Rather than go with the traditional 'pint' glass, and as fans of the Honest Pint movement Mike decided to go with a glass that would hold a full pour, called a Willi Becher - like the one above. The one we're likely to go with is 21.5 ounces to the top. We also like it because (to be perfectly honest with you) it has a silly name. Now the trouble is figuring out where to get it screen printed / sand blasted with our logo and a fill-mark line at a .5L that won't cost us an arm and a leg.

Although we won't have them on opening day, what do you think about having some Belgian tulips or snifters for our Ex Umbris or Amplus Acerba?

Terrible, Terrible Artwork.
For our tap handles we're probably going to go the custom route. Skubic has been working hard and spending many hours figuring out how to go about making them... right now he's thinking of using Wenge as the wooden base then screen printing / stencil spray painting on the logos / labels. The arm is the hangup now, on the one hand we can go with wood, on the other, Mike may try and hone his metalworking skills and make a wrought iron handle...TBD!

This is the growler we are going to be going with. Greg, Mike's brother bought him one of these for Christmas a few years back and it's been a favorite for bringing homebrew around to friend's houses. We love the big pour mouth and monster handle. It's from koch-usa. We think you'll love the look of this growler too, so bulky yet stylish too. It's going to look even better with our Hess Brew logo screened on the front!

Monday, May 3, 2010

We Fought The Law and We Won!

This is some crazy stuff. We had starting to feel like we had inadvertently shut down all of the tasting rooms in San Diego last week - and maybe we did... Here's the story: When Mike got the 23 license from the State, our ABC rep said, "now go talk to the Department of Health." How were we to know that none of the breweries in San Diego operating tasting rooms had filed a plan with the Department of Health?

Meeting Time.
On Monday, after we met with the DEH (as our Facebook, Twitter and Blog followers know) we left there feeling that we were being held to a higher standard than all the other breweries we've ever visited - for Hess Brewing, the DEH wanted us to install SEVEN SINKS, self-coving floor tiles, floor drains, 8-10 foot high ceilings above all sinks and taps... it seemed quite ridiculous...

The Waiting Room - SD DEH
Well apparently on Tuesday they realized "Hey, we are not regulating ANY of the breweries in San Diego" and decided to go to both The Lost Abbey and AleSmith to hit them with Cease and Desist Orders until they could file a plan and get up to "code" (which included some nice fees, too!) On Friday, we got the news of the raids when The Full Pint reported that they had been informed that The Lost Abbey was shut down. Soon after this Tomme posted an excellent rant, which was unknowingly probably directed at us (even though we did not report any breweries; the fact we WENT to the Department of Health had the unfortunate consequence of letting them know that other breweries were not getting their plans checked through them). As you can imagine... we were crushed when his post hit. Later on in the day, AleSmith's Facebook page said that they too had been served with a C&D Order.

So now, besides realizing that Mike just didn't have the capital to come up to code to meet these overstepping and egregious requirements and were likely going to forego the tasting room, we realized we may have hosed our fellow San Diego craft brewers and drinkers. Unintentionally I remind you!

But now, we have some GREAT NEWS!!!!

Today, Mike spoke with State Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher's office, 75th District, to talk to him about getting an exemption for beer tasting rooms, just like wineries apparently are. His office thought it was an excellent idea and wanted to explore further writing up legislation to introduce at the beginning of 2011.

Not an hour later, just about 2:50 this afternoon, Mike got the best call - and most unexpected - he could have hoped for from the Dept of Health. Our new bestie, Jackie at the Department of Health called to say that because of the ruckus that we raised over the past three months and last week's activities (the raids and push back from the craft community) that she took it to the State for ruling. Can you believe this? The result? The county no longer regulates or has jurisdiction over beer tasting rooms in the county! This means we do not need the floor sink, three-tiered ware washing sinks and all the other CRAZY stuff we would have had to install to open up as a tasting room.

So to quote one of my favorite movies of all time which I feel is completely appropriate: "Just when I think you couldn't possibly be any dumber, you go and do something like this... AND TOTALLY REDEEEM YOURSELF!"

What's it mean? As soon as we get the new brewery up and running, we'll be filling kegs - and as soon as the kegs are full, we'll be filling your glasses and growlers!