The Beer Formerly Known as La Tache is currently on a business trip.
A couple weeks ago, I hand-selected a number of young and able ‘volunteers’ to go sight-seeing, on the brewery dime. Looking at it from another perspective, it was a total recon mission. Of course I didn’t explain it like that to them that way. They went in their cases just like all the others, eager and ready to leave the brewery for a new home. If only it were so easy with children to package them up for the real world…
I loaded them up in my truck and drove to another local Bend brewery, 10 Barrel. Said howdy to brewers Ben Shirley and Bobby Jackson and got a quick tour of their pilot system from brewing artist Tonya Cornett. Real good times. Ben and Tonya helped me unload the unsuspecting platoon of (TBFKA) La Tache and we placed them in the cooler. I left.
As I drove back to the brewery, I thought about the journey ahead for our beer. They’d sit in the cooler at 10 Barrel for a few days, then get loaded onto a semi truck and driven to Portland. In Portland, they’d be transferred to a train car and roll on out to Vermont. Yes, Vermont! On a train, no less.
Now, some of you might scoff a bit at this. For example, this is what the little fellow on my shoulder mumbles:
What about the carbon footprint?
What about your ‘local’ ethos?
Why Vermont?? (This one floats across the Columbia river from Washington, no doubt)
To tell you the truth, there was very little thinking I had to do over this. In a trusty handbook entitled ‘Excuses You Can Use When You Have A Business’, I discovered that there is actually just one, but it applies to everything. OPPORTUNITY is the excuse. And sometimes opportunity appears in the strangest of ways. With state beer laws so strict, when someone comes along and offers a big fat invite (as opposed to armed blockades), I listen.
In short, Calmont Beverage hired ex-brewer, ex-Oregonian Mark Ewald to source some fine Oregon ale to load onto a container bound for Vermont. The container is mainly full of Oregon wine. The wine has been traveling this route for some time now and seem happier for it. I think it’s due to the joy that awaits them in Vermont, truthfully. Anyway, Mark thinks the beer might enjoy it just as much. He’s found loving homes and generous folk who will take in our weary travelers upon their arrival. For example, Beverage Warehouse in Winooski. WINOOSKI. Say it a few times. Their beer buyer, an amicable fellow by the name of Evan Goldfried, says this about BW:
“..it’s the largest independent beer/wine/spirits store in the state and we have the best and rarest selection of beer in the state and surrounding states. We have a huge traffic of folks who come specifically to our store when they come to VT for travel and beer tourism, especially from Canada.” I added the bold font, btw.
Our beer is ambitious, no doubt. I’m sure it was my fault. Something I did in their upbringing. I felt like giving in to this endeavor for them as a sort of penance…plus, they’ve just been so good lately. They deserve it! And to me, there is no better way to introduce our brewery & beer to the outside world than from Vermont. I’ve seen how Oregon and Vermont look at each other across the vast American plain. It’s not like they hide it.
I have no idea where this is going, but when you have good people doing good things, sometimes I don’t fret so much about carbon footprints or the definition of ‘local’. I relish the idea of an unsuspecting beer lover discovering our beer among others. BW may share our story with them and this person goes home with an Oregon in a bottle they didn’t know existed. What then? It’s a greeting far more intimate than shaking hands, in a way. Our air, water, and effort are in those bottles. It’s the genie in the lamp!
So, friendly Vermonters, be prepared to make a wish or two!
They might just come true.