Beer Birthday: Dann Paquette

pretty-things
Today is the 48th birthday of Dann Paquette, who along with his wife Martha Holley-Paquette, founded the Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project. It’s a fairly unique idea. They don’t own a brewery but they don’t contract brew either. They rent the brewery and Dann does all the work brewing the beer. Certainly other contract beers are similar, but I like that Pretty Things makes such a point of the distinction that it’s essentially beyond reproach. Oh, and did I mention he makes some of the best beers I’ve tasted? He does, or did. They recently decided to wind up the business and stop brewing while they decides what the next chapter of their lives will be. From the several philosophical discussions I’ve had with Dann, I consider him a kindred spirit, so hopefully it will be something amazing, and still in brewing. Join me in wishing Dann a very happy birthday.

pretty-things-2
Dann with Andy Couch and Todd Alström showing off Pretty Things’ Baby Tree at the Hungry Mother, in Boston.

Paquette-2
Dann doing his Snidely Whiplash impersonation.

Paquette-3
Tomme Arthur, Will Meyers, Dann, Patrick Rue and Rob Tod.

Paquette-1
Dann with his business partner and wife Martha at (I think) Beer Advocate’s Craft Beer Festival.

Note: Last three photos purloined from both Dann and Martha’s Facebook pages.

Beer Birthday: Aaron Mateychuk

watch-city
Today is also the birthday of Aaron Mateychuk, apparently former brewmaster of Watch City Brewing in Waltham, Massachusetts. A little over a year ago, the brewing equipment was sold at auction and the brewery closed, though there were rumors another brewery may be moving into the same space. I met Aaron during CBC week when the Craft Brewers Conference was in Boston in 2009, and we almost got together when he was in San Francisco a couple of years ago, but kept crossing paths instead. Hopefully, Aaron has landed on his feet and found another brewing gig, but I haven’t heard. Maybe somebody knows? Join me in wishing Aaron a very happy birthday.

IMG_1191
Giving a tour in 2009 during the Craft Brewers Conference in Boston.

Aaron-Mateychuk-1
Aaron with his wife Jennifer, in a Toronado t-shirt.

Aaron-Mateychuk-2
And at the Toronado.

Note: The last two photos purloined from Facebook.

Beer Birthday: Jim Koch

sam-adams-new
Jim Koch, the founder of Boston Beer Co., known primarily for their Samuel Adams beers, is celebrating his 67th birthday today. Jim was instrumental, of course, in spreading the word about craft beer, especially in the early days when Samuel Adams was often the first one to be available in many pockets of the country. Join me in wishing Jim a very happy birthday.

sambrunch-3
Daniel Bradford and Amy Dalton, both with All About Beer, sandwiching Jim Koch, and flanked by drinks writer Rick Lyke, who writes online at Lyke 2 Drink.

Me and Jim Koch
Jim and me at the annual media brunch and Longshot winner announcement at GABF in 2009.

longshot09-4
After judging the finals for the Longshot Homebrew Competition in Boston. From left: Jason Alstrom (from Beer Advocate), Tony Forder (from Ale Street News), Bob Townsend (a food & drinks columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution), Jim Koch (founder of the Boston Beer Co.), yours truly (on assignment for Celebrator Beer News), Julie Johnson (from All About Beer magazine), and Todd Alstrom (also from Beer Advocate).

P1000136
Jack McAuliffe and Jim at Boston Beer’s annual media brunch during GABF week three years ago.

Historic Beer Birthday: Sampson Salter

boston
Today is the birthday of Sampson Salter (March 21, 1692-April 6, 1778) who in the early 18th century operated one of the most popular breweries in Boston. Considering it was apparently so popular, there’s very little specific information about either Salter or his brewery. Most histories seem to only mention him in passing. For example, “Historic Taverns of Boston” by Gavin Nathan, says only this:

sampson-salter-tavern-book

Boston-1722
Boston in 1722.

Cigar City Bought By Fireman Capital

cigar-city oskar-blues-blue
In an exclusive this morning, Brewbound is reporting that Fireman Capital to Purchase Cigar City. According to Brewbound, “Cigar City, a leading independent brewery based in Tampa, Fla., has agreed to sell controlling interest to Boston-based private equity firm Fireman Capital Partners, which already owns majority stakes in Oskar Blues, Perrin Brewing and the Utah Brewers Cooperative outfit that includes the Wasatch and Squatters brands.”

The overall entity created by Fireman Capital for their brewery acquisitions is United Craft Brews LLC, incorporated in Delaware. The SEC Form D lists Fireman Capital’s address is Waltham, Massachusetts, but information on OpenLEIs lists a registered address in Delaware, but Oskar Blues’ Longmont address as Headquarters for United Craft Brews. Last year, Westwood was still asking Does Oskar Blues Still Own Oskar Blues? This will undoubtedly continue to muddy the waters surrounding the answer to that question.

Rumors had been swirling that ABI was considering Cigar City as their next target for acquisition, and founder Joey Redner confirmed that he’d gotten as far as signing an LOI. But ABI let their exclusivity period pass without executing a formal purchase agreement, leaving Cigar City free to entertain other potential buyers.

CCB

Cigar City’s website posted a joint press release about the transaction:

Oskar Blues Brewery Rolls up a Cigar City Blunt

Longmont, CO, & Tampa Bay, FL — Oskar Blues Brewery announced the acquisition of Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing. Putting months of acquirement rumors to rest, the decision is driven by mutual irreverence, respect and desire to stay true to craft beer roots.

The combination stems from the want to take risks, sniff out bullsh*t and grow against-the-grain in an era of increasing competition within craft beer. The collaboration will match years of large-scale growth, expansion expertise and resources of Oskar Blues with the strength of Cigar City’s local following to help both breweries strengthen their future position. Similarly to Oskar Blues, Cigar City’s award-winning brews are well known and respected within the craft community.

“Cigar City is facing next-level challenges and we needed to develop next-level skills and resources to meet them. But, we got into beer out of passion and an unwavering desire to travel our own path. We didn’t want to just shove our round peg into some f*cking square hole and hope for the best. Florida craft beer drinkers want something they can proudly stand behind. These guys get that. They wrote the book on keeping it real,” says Joey, founder of Cigar City Brewing. Joey will remain as CEO of Cigar City following the transaction.

Since 2009, Cigar City Brewing achieved a near constant growth pattern reaching nearly 60,000 barrels in 2015, placing the Tampa Bay area and the state of Florida on the craft beer map. The partnership will provide additional investment for Cigar City’s infrastructure growth within Florida.

“What Cigar City has done for the community of Florida craft beer is impressive. It’s important for our culture to do business with people we want to hang out with and Joey and the gang fit,” Dale Katechis, Soul Founder of Oskar Blues, stated about the new partnership.

Oskar Blues Brewery is the funky brewpub that started brewing beer in 1999 in the small town of Lyons, CO and is responsible for starting the craft beer in-a-can movement in 2002 with Dale’s Pale Ale. In 2008, the brewery expanded down the street to Longmont, CO. and added an additional brewery in Brevard, NC in 2012. Oskar Blues brewed 192,000 barrels in 2015 and announced another brewery in Austin, TX scheduled to open in May of 2016.

Terms of the acquisition are not disclosed.

CCB-logo

Beer Birthday: Tom Acitelli

hop-cones-and-beer
Today is the 39th birthday of Tom Acitelli, author of the wonderful history of craft beer, The Audacity of Hops. Tom reached out to me while he was working on his book, and we’ve been friends ever since. He’s a great new addition to the cadre of writers chronicling the beer industry these days. Join me in wishing Tom a very happy birthday.

DSCN0275
Tom reading selections from his book at Anchor Brewery.

DSCN0309
Tom and Vinnie Cilurzo during a visit to the Russian River production brewery.

DSCN0320
At Lagunitas for Tom’s book release party two years ago, with Joe Tucker, Jeremy Marshall, me, Tom and Ken Weaver.

Beer Birthday: Todd Alstrom

ba-square
Today is the 47th birthday of Todd Alström, co-founder of Beer Advocate. With his brother Jason, Todd has created one of the killer apps of the beer world online and the only monthly beer magazine. Though we only run into one another from time to time, we always have a good time. We also shared a week in Bavaria on a press junket in 2007, and had a terrific fry crawl in Boston a number of years ago, before he relocated to Denver a couple of years ago, and more recently became a father. Join me in wishing Todd a very happy birthday.

gabf08-11
Todd (at right), with brother Jason and Jaime Jurado, head brewer from Gambrinus, at the 2008 GABF.

faust-39
During a trip to Bavaria in 2007, the gang of twelve plus three at the Faust Brauerei in Miltenberg, Germany. From left: Cornelius Faust, me, Lisa Morrison, Johannes Faust, Julie Bradford, Andy Crouch, Peter Reid, Horst Dornbusch, Jeannine Marois, Harry Schumacher, Tony Forder, Candice Alström, Don Russell, Jason Alström and Todd Alström.

royce-12
Todd with Rhonda Kallman at the Blue Palm in L.A., after the premiere of Beer Wars.

P1000219
Me, Todd, Jason Alström, Joe Tucker and Greg Koch showing off our sample bottles of Enjoy By 12.21.12 in San Diego four Decembers ago.

Pretty Beer To Stop Brewing

pretty-things
Sad news. Dann and Martha Paquette, co-owners of the Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project posted on their website today their decision to cease the operations of their company. Explaining their decision in For a Beginning, there must be an End, here’s what’s up:

Seven years ago we sold our first glass of beer at The Publick House in Brookline. We didn’t foresee then that our strange project would become such a part of our lives.

It has been a crazy fun time. We’ve dressed up in more costumes than a Bob Hope special. Amazing employees and friends have conspired with us along the way. Bocky, Anya, and John Funke have channeled our project almost better than we have done ourselves. And we found a rag tag group of like-minded creative brewers out there in the world as well.

Brewing our beers has been a great labor and a great joy. But best of all we shared it with so many great beer drinkers. It really feels like we met you all. We’ve stood in shops, bars, restaurants, on stages, in VFW halls. Sometimes you were already fans. Sometimes you spat out our beer. Sometimes you just fancied a chat. We always felt happy to meet you by the end. It was always fun, or funny, or we sold a beer, or learned something. Many of you became friends. We’ve loved drinking beers with you.

We hope our beers brought you joy and brought you closer together. There’s no greater goal for a batch of beer or a project like ours.

After seven years it’s time to draw the curtains and head off to a new adventure. A poorly drawn grain of barley called Jack D’Or made this whole thing possible. He’ll be coming with us.

Besides making great beer, Dann’s thoughtful approach to everything they do has been great to watch, if only from afar. The few times we’ve spent any time together I’ve loved talking philosophically with him and certainly hope his voice won’t be lost as he transitions to whatever adventure awaits him in the next chapter of his journey. And I wish Dann and Martha the best of best wishes going forward.

Pretty Things beer will be available until it runs out, probably sometime in January of next year. If I were you, I’d stock up while you can.

dann-and-martha-the-end
Their parting shot.

Beer In Ads #1736: Munich Lager Beer Brewery


Wednesday’s ad is for the Suffolk Brewing Co., from sometime after 1875. You could be forgiven for thinking this was a German brewery, given the Munich Lager Beer Brewery banner headline, but in fact it was in Boston, Massachusetts, located at 423-443 Eighth Street. Another curiosity, especially given their calling themselves a “Munich Lager Beer Brewery,” is that the sign on the building identifies them as an “Ale & Porter Brewery.”

Munich_lager_beer_brewery._Suffolk_Brewing_Co.,_Incorporated_1875,_423_to_443_Eight_St,_Boston

Beer Birthday: Jason Alstrom

beer-advocate-blk
Today is the 44th birthday of Jason Alström, co-founder of Beer Advocate headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, but found worldwide over that series of tubes known as the interwebs. Started as a hobby, Beer Advocate has gone on to be one of the internet’s killer apps of beer, which has successfully branched out into publishing and putting on beer festivals. Join me in wishing Jason a very happy birthday.

gabf08-11
Jason with Jaime Jurado, then-Director of Brewing Operations for the Gambrinus Company, and his brother Todd at GABF in 2008.

longshot09-4
After judging the finals for the 2009 Longshot Homebrew Competition in Boston. From left: Jason, Tony Forder (from Ale Street News), Bob Townsend, Jim Koch (founder of the Boston Beer Co.), yours truly, Julie Johnson (from All About Beer magazine), and Jason’s brother Todd Alström.

hofbrauhaus-21
Jason, standing far left, toasting at Munich’s Hofbrauhaus.

faust-39
During a trip to Bavaria in 2007, the gang of twelve plus three at the Faust Brauerei in Miltenberg, Germany. From left: Cornelius Faust, me, Lisa Morrison, Johannes Faust, Julie Bradford, Andy Crouch, Peter Reid, Horst Dornbusch, Jeannine Marois, Harry Schumacher, Tony Forder, Candice Alström, Don Russell, Jason and Todd Alström.

P1000219
The day after we tried all of Stone’s Vertical Epic’s in San Diego a few years ago; with Steve Wagner, me, Joe, Jason and Todd Alström and Greg Koch.

IMG_1188
At last year’s Longshot judging in Boston, Don Russell, Jim Koch, Tony Forder, John Holl, Bob Townsend, Lisa Morrison, Jason and me.