Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Join us Wednesday, Jan 30th to fight for beer tax reform in TN

Please join us for a fun event to kick off our efforts to reform beer taxes in TN in 2013!  Brewers from the TN Craft Brewers Guild, including Yazoo, Calfkiller, Jackalope, Chattanooga Brewing, Cool Springs, Turtle Anarchy, Fat Bottom, and Mayday Brewing will be on hand pouring their brews as we introduce our two legislative sponsors for a bill to reform the 17% wholesale tax this year.  Doors will open at 4 PM, and the announcement will happen at 5 PM.  We are anticipating a big crowd to show the legislators and the media the popular support for beer tax reform in Tennessee.  See you there!

For more information on how you can help this year to reform beer taxes in TN, please visit a website we have set up at www.fixthebeertax.com, where you can see how TN stacks up against other states (warning, it's pretty graphic) and where you can send an email to your particular legislator in support of beer tax reform.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Looking ahead in 2013...

Wow.  Sometimes that's all you can say.  The year 2012 was a banner year for us here at Yazoo Brewing, and for craft beer in the Southeast.  Our sales jumped 40%, up to about 17,250 barrels of beer sold.  We did expand into the rest of Mississippi in 2012, selling our beer now along the Gulf coast and in north MS, but the amazing thing is that most of that 40% growth came from existing markets for us.  

We added two new 200 bbl fermenters in December, bringing our annual capacity to somewhere between 27-30,000 bbls a year, depending on our mix.  That should give us some room to grow for another year or two before we have to figure out a way to get more tanks into the brewery.  It's getting pretty tight in here already!

In the first part of the year, we plan on making a big push along with other members of the TN Craft Brewers Guild to reform TN's 17% wholesale tax on beer.  I firmly believe that the current structure of this tax unfairly puts a higher tax burden on smaller brewers in Tennessee and keeps other craft brewers from distributing in the state.  We have the beginnings of a great beer culture in Tennessee, and reforming this tax would help nurture local breweries and the jobs they create.

As part of that effort, we will be brewing the second batch of our collaboration brew with Calfkiller Brewery here at Yazoo, and bottling it for state-wide distribution.  We are calling this beer "The Beacon - a TN High Tax Ale" to try to bring awareness and publicity to our fight to change the 17% wholesale tax.  Look for it in your favorite beer stores in Spring.

Our seasonal brews will include Onward Stout in bottles for the winter (coming soon!), Rye Saison again in the spring, and the Fall Lager in fall.  We plan on introducing a summer seasonal as well, but haven't settled on a recipe yet.

We are working on two new high-alcohol releases for this year, but again, the recipes haven't been finalized yet.  I can say that we are definitely looking forward to an even bigger batch of Bells Bend Preservation Ale, with hops grown out at Sulphur Creek Farm, around October.

Finally, mark your calendars for October 5th, 2013, for the Ten Year Anniversary party for Yazoo.  You won't want to miss this one!

So long 2012! Here's to ya, 2013!

What a great year for craft beer lovers in Nashville and the rest of the Southeast!  It was a whirlwind year for us here at Yazoo.  Some of the highlights:

The beginning of 2012 saw us roll out Yazoo brew along the coast of Mississippi with FEB Distributing.  It's been a blast to get to know the folks down there and to share some great southern brew with people in Ocean Springs, Gulfport, and Biloxi.  Back in Nashville, we had the first ever big bottle release of Yazoo Fortuitous, which quickly turned into an epic bottle share upstairs in the brewery while everyone was waiting for the bottles to be raffled off.  I've never seen so much great beer from around the country, and so many generous drinkers in one spot in my life.

In March, we installed two new 120 bbl fermenters, the biggest yet.  And just in time, too - we began bottling Gerst too.  The ground began thawing in late March, and we spent the morning before the East Nashville Beer Fest planting 20' tall poles and stringing cables out at Sulphur Creek Farms for the new hop vines.

We kicked off the 2012 Hot Chicken Festival on July 4th with a great brand new twist - the first ever Hot Chicken Parade!  Former Mayor Bill Purcell and his red antique fire truck led a battalion of other old fire trucks down Woodland St, with the Hot Chicken Queens flinging beads into the crowd.  I haven't had that much fun in a long time.

In August, we finally were able to source pry-off bottles from our supplier and made the switch from twist-offs.  I am happy to say that I don't think many people even noticed, except for homebrewers, who can now reuse our bottles.

In September, we harvested the hops from Sulphur Creek and packaged up a special batch called Bells Bend Preservation Ale.  We were pretty excited by the flavor from these locally grown hops, and can't wait until harvest in 2013 to do an even bigger batch.

October brought home some great news - our Hefeweizen won another medal at the Great American Beer Festival - this time a Bronze.  We saw the writing on the wall as far as brewing capacity went, and decided to bite the bullet and order more fermenters, this time two 200 bbl tanks, the biggest we could fit inside the building.

In November, I traveled up to Sparta, TN, to do a collaboration brew with the guys from Calfkiller Brewing, dubbed "The Beacon - a TN High Tax Ale".  We debuted this beer at the 12S Winter Warmer on Dec 1.  We will be brewing the second batch here at Yazoo and bottling it in 750s for distribution across the state, as we try in 2013 to get some of TN's crazy high beer taxes reformed in the legislature.

We announced a new series of special sour ales called the Yazoo "Embrace the Funk" series, with our friend and great local brewer, Brandon Jones.  The first beer of the series was "Wild Child", our Sue aged in white wine barrels with sour cherries and Brett Lambicus, which we debuted at the 12S Winter Warmer as well.  Our sour ales will take a while to develop, but we hope to have bottles available later in 2013.

Finally, in late December, we had one of the most nerve-wracking tank installations yet.  Our new 200 bbl fermenters arrived, and we lifted them up and down though a large hole in the roof and into place.  For all my worrying, the installation went so smoothly that everything was in place and the roof replaced by about 3 PM the same day.

All in all, a great year!   Here's to more of the same in 2013!