Happy New Year from Martin House!
Around this time of year, it’s only natural to take a step back and do some navel gazing. Who am I? Where am I going? Where’s my beer? Well, here at Martin House we are no exception to the rule. 2013 was really good for us- we’re most proud of fact that we actually managed to get up and running. No small feat considering that we basically built a brewery from scratch with three people and volunteer labor.
We launched River House and The Imperial Texan, and soon afterwards got the Pretzel Stout and Day Break to the taps. Canning was a huge as it allowed us to get beer to a whole new group of people. We also opened the doors of the brewery for Saturday tours allowing us to welcome guests to our home and give them a feel for what we are all about.
Over the course of the year, what really surprised me was how awesome “beer people” in our community are. Before we sold anything (or even had beer), we were constantly meeting people who were just about as excited as we were. From service industry members, to press and bloggers, and to our dozens of volunteers, it seemed like every time we rolled out our Mobile Beer Dispensing Unit (MBDU) we were surrounded by great people. To this day, I get a huge smile when I see someone order a Martin House beer. I also appreciate the fact that I’m tolerated when I interrupt their dinner to talk about beer.
Of course there were growing pains. We initially thought that we’d have beer in the market by Christmas but ended up delivering the first keg in March. Surprisingly, we only went a bit over budget, but a few key equipment and systems failures taught us important lessons, such as never buy a used forklift for cash. It really taught me to plan as best you can, but don’t let it get to you if things don’t work out perfectly. You can’t control everything.
Out in the field, I got to learn firsthand how challenging running brewery operations could be. This summer, there were a couple of days of loading the truck at 6:00 AM, delivering kegs until late afternoon, doing a promotional event, and then finally returning home to spend a couple of hours on paperwork. This taught me the value in staffing correctly and not burning myself out. Our new delivery guy, Jason, is my personal lifesaver. He has made me a considerably less grumpy person thereby making the people that have to deal with me less grumpy as well. My wife is probably Jason’s second biggest fan.
So what’s new for 2014?
Well, first and foremost it’s all about the beer. If our schedule holds, you will be seeing River House and Pretzel Stout in cans in February. Getting cans ready is a process that deserves a blog of it’s own- it can take a while. But, the wait is almost over, and our little family of beers at your local grocery is about to double.
You will also being seeing a lot more variety of beer. Now that we have operations somewhat streamlined, Cody has had more free time to play around on the pilot brew system. We’ve been enjoying sampling his beta-brews here at the brewery and at some of our customers during North Texas Beer week. These aren’t just seasonals, but also our new line of “laboratory beers” which will be super small release- some of them available at the brewery only.
All this stuff is really exciting, but the biggest news for us in 2014 is coming in early spring. We have been working on a collaborative beer with what I would call an “iconic” Texas institution. I can’t talk too much about it, but when it hits, it’ll be a ”pretty big deal” and it will be available even outside of DFW. When we first started talking with these guys, it was pretty surreal that they would even give us the time of day. Now we are making a beer with them. Awesome.
Aside from the beer, one of our “softer” goals is just having more fun. One of the ways we’ll do this is to try to get more people out to the brewery. We love having people here, and it always seems like people really enjoy themselves. What better way to connect with the community than to have them over for a beer? Be looking for a lot more special events at the brewery.
So, to summarize: 2013 good, 2014 even better. From everyone here at the brewery we want to say thanks for the support in the past year AND that you are invited to anything and everything we’ll be doing coming up.
Please hit us up if you have anything you’d like to talk about. If you are a fan of the beer, curious about anything we’re doing, or even just have suggestions we really would love to hear from you. The best way to interact is in person at a tour or event, but we actually do reply to our “info” email, and of course we’re active on Twitter and Facebook. If you’d like to receive our newsletter, just sign up here.
Thanks for making Martin House successful, and hope to see you soon!