First Brew and A Cheers to the New Year

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First Brew and A Cheers to the New Year

Trub in the Kettle
  • By: M Q
  • Date: Jan 07, 2016
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We made it to the New Year (HELLLOOOO 2016!), and as the ultimate New Years gift the TTB decided to approve our Federal Brewer’s License on December 31st! Cheers to that!

Wow, what a journey we’ve been on this past 9 months. I first posted about the start of our little project back in April 2015 when we got the idea fully underway looking for a place to put down roots in Castle Rock and get a lease on a building space signed. I won’t do a full retrospective post this time around, but I’m merely here to give an quick update and some highlights that have happened recently.

Following our ‘Open House’ we did more touchups and worked on little projects around the space (at least while trying not to be distracted by the Holidays and Friends & Family in town) while waiting for our TTB license. In early December we finally talked with our case manager at the TTB to get a status update on where we were and how we could help if needed. The people at the TTB couldn’t be nicer to chat with and everyone we dealt with was very helpful and pleasant – and not to mention busy. I was amazed to learn that there are only 45 people in the TTB offices (based in Cincinnati) dealing with tax licensing for the WHOLE COUNTRY! And not just Breweries – they also deal with wineries, liquor distillers, importers/exporters, tobacco manufacturing, firearms manufacturing, etc.. It’s a huge operation to be in charge of, and yet they don’t have enough people to handle it all. Chalk it up to typical Gov’t budgetary stupidness, even though the TTB brings in the 3rd highest amount of tax revenue for the US Government behind only the IRS and US Customs. Holy Cow!

Once we had a conversation we were given a little bit more paperwork & corrections to get back to them (nothing massive or hard, but a bit ticky-tack to be sure on some things) which we were able to do in short order. By early December we had gotten all of it back to them and we’d been fully reviewed and moved onto ‘Finalization’! Yay!….wait, how long does that take?!? “Oh, it’s usually pretty quick. Only a couple of weeks.” Weeks?!? Crap….and the bulk of the Holidays were arriving shortly. We checked in again a few times before Christmas really hit, but in the finalization step there isn’t much tracking and it just waits for a Manager to review it – and who knows what vacation schedule they might have. We’d resigned ourselves to the fact that we probably wouldn’t see a Brewer’s License until sometime after the New Year once everyone returned from the holidays.

Christmas came and went with the typical questions from friends and family who were in town about when we’d be opening and such. I think in the end we ended up repeating the answer so many times it became an auto-response when someone said hello to us. Sorry everyone.

On New Years Eve, on an errand run down into Colorado Springs the phone dinged with new emails. Cool, no big deal. We’ll just give a brief look at the subject lines and move on….WAIT!?! WHAT’S THIS THING THAT SAYS “APPROVED”?!?….mumble…mumble…’TTB Application is Approved”….mumble…..mumble….’download your files via your online application portal….

Once it hit home that we were finally approved, let’s just say there was much yelling, celebrating and tears all around. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

And that little email kicked off a swirl of activity that we’re in the middle of right now. We needed to start brewing – and quickly! What should our first brew be? Well, let’s make it our Pale Ale so we can see how the system likes to function and we’ll go from there. So on January 2nd (What?!? We were maybe a bit roughed up from celebrating on New Years…) we kicked off our First Brew for CRBC!

That brings us basically up to date other than we’ve been brewing like mad, as quickly as we can get the little yeasts to ferment we’re clearing out one beer to start another. Earlier today we also officially announced via our Facebook page that our opening weekend will be on Saturday, January 16th at 11am. As long as everything goes according to plan we’ll have many tasty brews to share with everyone, and we are planning on have a new beer release each day of the holiday weekend – ending up with 6 beers by weekend’s end. If you can join us this weekend, please come by to sit, chat, and have a pint. We’d love to see you! Now, off to get some sleep and back to finalization work tomorrow!

Cheers, and Happy New Year!