|Fix the Beer Tax passes!|
Probably the coolest - craft beer lovers across the state were successful in lobbying and convincing Tennessee's legislators to Fix the Beer Tax, equalizing the tax burden on both big and small brewers in Tennessee. We kicked off the reform with a rally at the Yazoo taproom, with brewery owners, distributors, and craft beer lovers packing the room. The cooperation between the TN Craft Brewers Guild, the Tennessee Malt Beverage Association, and craft beer enthusiasts continued with Fix the Beer Tax rallies in Memphis, Knoxville, Johnson City, and Chattanooga. Thousands of supporters wrote their legislators in support. We had news coverage in all the cities, with the Tennessean, the Knoxville News Sentinel, and the Nashville City Paper's editors endorsing our cause. The result was an overwhelming vote for passage! We still have the highest beer taxes in the country, but the tax structure before placed a much higher burden on smaller brewers.
In February, we also bottled our Onward Stout for the first time.
That month, we also resisted the calls to put out a Yazoo "Harlem Shake" video. Remember that craze?
The Embrace the Funk beers picked up steam, with a collaboration blend with New Belgium for the Memphis Craft Beer week in April that we called "Rufus".
|Already a collector's item|
In June, Brandon, Lila, and I headed up to the Big Apple for Savor 2013. We decided to bring two of our Embrace the Funk beers to see what the reception and feedback would be. We took our Brett Saison, a bright and funky farmhouse ale; and Wild Child, a smokey and sour ale. The comments we got were very encouraging, with several thumbs-up from writers and bloggers later on - thanks Jake and Nick - http://www.dcbeer.com/news/savor-wrap-0
We were bummed when registration for the Great American Beer Fest closed after only one day, leaving many breweries out in the cold. However, our friend Chad at Crooked Stave in Denver invited us and a whole host of other breweries out for the first ever What the Funk Festival. Some of the best sour and wild ales were featured, and it turned out to be one of the hottest tickets in town during the GABF.
We're a tight crew at Yazoo. The people working here love what they're doing, and you can tell by their effort and dedication to brewing the best beer we can. But after years of very little turnover, we had several people leave for other opportunities. Ryan and Colin's better halves got great jobs out of state, but they were able to take their Yazoo experience and land great jobs at Baxter Brewing in Maine for Ryan, and Boston Beer in Cincinnati for Colin. Katie moved on and is now at Tennessee Brew Works. Dave Maderia got a great paying full-time gig and couldn't work the taproom any longer. Kelly, Haley, and LP all moved up and couldn't continue their tour guide roles. And two longtime Yazooligans, Brandi and Brian, are now at Hops and Crafts in the Gulch. To all of you - thanks for all the hard work, the fun, and the great memories!
By August, the hops out at Sulfur Creek Farm in Bells Bend were getting ready for picking. Eric and Loran had managed this year to divide up the rhizomes from our mystery hops and by August, we had 150 healthy vines full of ripe hops.
|The Mystery Hops|
|Fresh Hopped Bells Bend Pale Ale|
|The Delta Saints, live from the back of a 1956 F100 (from their FB page)|
By the time October rolled around, we were ready to party. We turned ten years old in October 2013, and to celebrate we decided to hold a two day party on Oct 4-5th. The 10-Year IPA we brewed for the event was received so well, we decided to brew another batch and bottle it. And when the power generator blew out on the last band of the night, our friends the Delta Saints took it in stride, finishing with an acoustic set from the back of my old Ford next to the loading dock. It was one of those "only in Nashville" moments!
|I had to do some quality control, of course!|
October also saw us launch the first-ever beer kiosk out at the Nashville airport. Another first - you can walk up to our Yazoo "Craft Beer on the Fly" beer kiosk, order a tall Pale Ale, Dos Perros, Hefeweizen, or Hop Project - and walk anywhere in the airport with it! (inside security, of course)
In November, we were honored to be voted the Best Local Brewery by the readers of the Nashville Scene. While we have won "Best" awards from the Scene before, there had never been a category just for breweries (probably because there just weren't very many breweries before!) We are so honored and humbled by your support, and we promise to keep trying to brew the best beer we can for you!
We finished out the year by bottling our 10-Year IPA in 750 ml "big bottles". We were only able to get a limited amount of the hops we used in this beer, but we will keep brewing it until we run out for good, and hopefully in 2015 we can contract for a long-term supply.
Well, that's a wrap! What's on tap for 2014, you ask? You'll have to just stay tuned...