Thursday, July 24, 2008

Half Acre Cycling

Half Acre Cycling has a lot of passion for what they do, and it's obvious in how they conduct themselves both on and off the track, as well as how much fun they have in the process.  They maintain a great website that you can check out here, and I'm posting some photos so that you guys can see what they're up to.  Enjoy.

Half Acre Beer Co
Chicago, IL

Beer Monster

Wow. Companies are melding together rapidly. What a strange time in the corporate culture of large scale brewing. They’re creating bigger gangs from already big gangs in order to compete with the other gang. Competing for market-share on a scale as large as theirs, I guess, really does take efficiency and power.

You can read about it here and here

In less publicized happenings, the distributors that get these brands into the hands of consumers are also merging with one another in order to increase their chances for success over the long haul.

Even New Belgium Brewing Co, a very large brewing company by craft standards, has made an agreement with Elysian Brewing Co to brew each other’s beers. Not the same as a merger, but an alliance that will help each to compete with bigger, more dominant brands.

Check it out here

No matter what your vantage point, there’s a lot of change occurring in the industry and these changes are sure to make ripples with unknown consequence. I wonder how small brewing companies that have sold equity to macro brands feel about these changes, and if they’re getting squeezed in any way.

My hope is that one day all the macro brands are forced to form one huge company: BEER CO. This behemoth will eventually rid themselves of the stress of varied branding and recipe diversity and move to a double recipe and aesthetic platform.

1. Beer
2. Beer Light

They’ll position themselves in a way that beats down the notion that creativity and selection are positive things. They’ll pump the masses full of formulaic marketing in the hopes of raising the appeal of dull, monotonous beer and droned lifestyle.

All the while craft brewers are pushing the boundaries of what beer can be and running around doing fun things in support of their trade and for entertainment itself. It would be a huge battle dividing consumers and families across the country. All very dramatic stuff. Sons eventually leaving the house because he was caught drinking craft beer and his BEER drinking father and him could no longer see fit to live under the same roof. That kind of thing.

Who can tell?

Half Acre Beer Co
Chicago, IL

Monday, July 14, 2008


This past weekend was packed with Half Acre events. On Saturday a group of us trucked out to Toyota Park to be counted as Chicago Fire fans. Some friends of ours are members of Section 8, the official Chicago Fire Supporters Club. These guys are serious about the Fire and throwing down in the parking lot before the match.

We decided the best thing to do would be to bring a keg of the Lager with us in order to be welcomed with open arms. A keg of beer usually does the trick when looking for open arms. After a brief period of hanging around and only draining a few cups of beer the buses started showing up. Both Small Bar on Division and Fado Irish Pub run buses out to the games with aid of Windy City Wanderers. (For some reason unknown to me they decided to put Toyota Park in the middle of nowhere just far enough that no one in their right mind would think about casually heading out to a soccer match.) With the buses came the lines and the opportunity to talk to a lot of people about our company and the beer they were drinking.

Between our beer and the Smoked Bourbon Pork Sandwiches the Section 8 guys were whipping out, I think people were really glad to be taking part. Following all that we got to watch the Fire take Toronto 2-1. It was a fine way to spend a Saturday night, so thank you to the Section 8 crew.

The rub came when the alarm began to chirp at 6am Sunday morning. Matt and I had to be up in order to help out at a Half Acre Cycling race. This race was a time trial in Hillshire, IL. Ever been to Hillshire? Me neither. But it was a nice place to spend a morning monitoring traffic and riders around turn 4. We managed to get through the race without one rider getting maimed on our turn. Another friend, Ben, who is an accomplished rider himself, almost got run over by a motorcycle while trying to halt him so a rider could make his turn, though. It was pretty funny really, but the guy on the motorcycle was less then amused. I was glad he didn’t hop off the bike and throttle Ben.

The weather in Hillshire was beautiful and it was impressive to see riders on Half Acre Cycling come whipping around the turn pedaling full-out when I knew we were only witnessing a few seconds of a race that was upwards of an hour long. It takes a great deal of endurance to move your body that hard for that long, and I’m glad to be affiliated with folks that wake up at four in the morning on a Sunday to push themselves like that. I was happy to be wearing a bright orange vest, waving a bright orange flag alongside a wheat field on turn 4 in Hillshire, IL.

Half Acre Beer Co.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Secured Hops

You may or may not have heard that hops are pretty hard to come by these days. When you do find them, they’re very expensive.

I’ve covered all this before so I won’t bore you with more sad stories of the little brewing company trying to scrape together hop cones to eek out one more brew.

This post is quite the opposite. I come with tales of hearty hop coiffeurs and robust times. We plunked down some cash and purchased enough hops to keep our little brewery pumping out hearty beers for a good while (once we’re brewing under our roof, that is). We already own all the hops we need to brew our Lager for some time; our larger concern was the new Over Ale and subsequent brews once we’re churning out beers in the city. We’ve been badgering all the appropriate channels to cough up some hops. They coughed. Thanks to all who coughed.

This firms up a lot of stuff for us. It insures that we can go to the drawing board with ample supplies of great hops to make the beers we want to, and not what we have to. Like Scrooge Mcduck and his coins, I would like to jump into a pool of our hops and bathe in the wealth. Also like Scrooge McDuck, we’re protecting them at all costs.

Right now our hops are in an underground storage center that was built for this very reason. It’s a modest bunker outfitted with the latest in surveillance and security measures. Its entrance is a non-descript building, a seemingly average space that could house any number of basic businesses. There’s a reception desk where you’ll find a woman who we’ll call “Lynda.” She handles any misguided traffic that happens to wander in by error or curiosity. Should for any reason Lynda feel threatened, or more so, feel that the hops are threatened, she trips a multi-level defense system that’s designed to torture, humiliate, terrify and deter any intruder that may or may not be interested in stealing our hops. At a moments notice a highly orchestrated series of events that involve rabid children, trained Otters with poisonous sea urchins glued to their bodies, unbearably loud music, both complete darkness and extreme light, tattooing, foreign languages and shaving, go into effect. So, be on notice.

We can’t wait to begin work with these hops, and we’ve taken every precaution to insure that you’re able to drink the fruits of our labor.

Half Acre Beer Co
Chicago, IL