Inside the Brewery 01: A Conversation with Matt Allyn of Voodoo Brewery
Speaker 1:0:11Welcome to another episode the original slacker podcast presented by around guys Brewing Company located up in Lansdale Pennsylvania. We are glad to announce that we just opened a new location down in Glenside and he Glenside Alehouse by around guys Brewing Company which is 17 line kill Pike IPA. Check it out we have some great mexi. Q food down. I believe this what we're calling it. We have about 8 beers on draft at the moment it's going to get better we're going to have takeout and everything lined up with the next couple months maybe even when this podcast is released. I don't know. Depends on when his podcast is released and of course a company relocate up and Landsdale small more regional location we have the pub which is attached to the brewery itself. You want to see in back just wave and say hey I want to see boats back there and take you around if we can show you to library. We got this place the underground which is where we're recording this episode. This podcast which is a live music venue live performance venue. Hey we change things up. I change things up.
Speaker 2:1:16We have a split segment for the shows now the current show you're listening to is inside the prairie and this is going to feature Matt Allen today we're gonna talk with the Matt Allen voodoo burring Allen brewing group. He is now doing consultancy work for brewers around western P.A. and around the country and trying to help them launch correctly and try and help them create world class breweries on our own. We also have the music mash tun which is going to be the segmented piece of the music podcasts and I'll be coming up next with Gene Smith so paid such today in your feed right after this one go into this interview with Matt Allen. He's been in this industry almost since his inception since he was 20 1920. He got into this industry following a similar path and many people who maybe they went over to Europe or they've been influenced by beers from Europe in the late 80s early 90s before the U.S. even had any idea of what good beer was. And they want to bring that style bring now approach bring the flavors back here to the U.S.. So it's a very very interesting tale. His life has spanned from Utah to Michigan to western P.A. is born and Wesson is back there again. It's it's great to chat with another brewery owner another guy in the industry it's always fun. So if you're the beer geek if you like hearing good stories the tales of.
Speaker 3:2:57The piece we have in the park as inside the brewery.
Speaker 2:3:02Before we get to the interview with Matt Allen I have a buddy of mine Dave Edmunds Dave Emmons you're an attorney down in the city but you're also home brewer now that Homer a beer lover beer connoisseur you travel the world for beer. You love beer. You pay attention to what goes on in your home state of New Jersey. What the heck is going on in Jersey. Hey Bill.
Speaker 4:3:25Yeah. Thanks so much for having me on. That's exactly right. So back in the firm days I've made a big push to get the firm to start bringing in some Gurrey clients and limited success. And so in so doing I was keyed into these issues. So what's going on recently back on Monday. The New Jersey Alcohol Control Board released a special ruling. They're calling it and they're saying that's breweries are limited to 25 on premise events 12 off premise events. Now the good news there is that the 12 does not count towards Beer Fest so you could pour everyday out of the year theoretically. No issue doesn't go towards your off premise events but the bad news is all premis events does count. If you're going to be pouring at charity events or community events and this is actually where we're seeing the most blowback and the most outrageous because you've got food trucks that are servicing breweries in New Jersey that don't get themselves have kitchens. And that's one of their main revenue generators. And so this ruling could very well put a lot of these local business owners out of business. It's called limited brewery license and to be very granular this special ruling is targeted at those limited Garie licenses meaning in real people talk. These are breweries that have tap rooms but they don't prepare any. They don't make any food. But of course you can bring food in.
Speaker 5:5:12It's interesting it's interesting to watch how things change. It's definitely one thing. In Jersey we'll be paying attention to that so I really thank you for your insight Dave. Appreciate your time and looking forward to hearing from you again. It's my pleasure anytime. All right David thanks. I'll have the full discussion of the legal issue in question at the end of this episode if you like to listen to more detail without further ado let's chat with.
Speaker 3:5:46OK. Without further ado let me jump into the podcast today.
Speaker 6:5:49We were talking on the inside very round guys Brewing Company with Matt Allen most notably from voodoo brewery and Matt. Now you're you're out there on your own. How's life's doing.
Speaker 7:6:02Good. Very good so far just consulting helping a lot of fledgling breweries get started and working with a couple of brewing equipment companies and designing equipment.
Speaker 8:6:16Right. So here's a question. Now I know you've done almost every side of this industry right. This is the last uncharted path for you in a very industry is by being is correct.
Speaker 9:6:32Yes I've pretty much been involved in every aspect from restaurant layout design things of that nature equipment layout Quitman purchase equipment design bird training soapies history paperwork licensing everything.
Speaker 8:7:00So is consulting as fun is it. What do you like this a little better than you've done in the past.
Speaker 9:7:07Like if Troy had there's a lot of the great thing is to see product come to fruition from some people that I usually work with I try to work with people that I think that are really good individuals that have a lot of heart to be Breuer's because I do believe that this is not an industry of profit it's an industry of passion and working with those people has been a lot of interest and a lot of fun and I enjoyed know the different equipment working with different ideas helping foster some ideas and really trying to put the right foot forward off the.
Speaker 8:7:52Yeah let's take a step back real fast now. You came out of high school went into the military correct. Air Force correct. And how did you land in the brewing industry.
Speaker 9:8:06I was basically working two jobs all the time and I was teaching rock climbing. And one of the gentlemen that was in my rock climbing class was the brewmaster at the local brewpub in Ogden Utah.
Speaker 10:8:22Wow. So you're out you're out and use all real fast. Where are you climbing where we climb. I didn't know the climb inside this is great. This isn't a crime. It's basically all over.
Speaker 11:8:32There is quite a few rock climbing routes in Utah. We've go up to city of rocks up in Idaho. We made a couple of trips out West to California. I got into it while I was in the air force just a bunch of guys that were in my in my barracks started climbing and I got into it and that was pretty good at it. So I would teach classes on the weekend it was good money and one of the like said one of the gentlemen was a local brewer. We used to take people into I would take my class into the local brewpub because I was in Germany. That's why I started climbing and I was in Iceland and I had a really good career prior to going into Utah and I got to do a lot of things and I also drank a lot of beer so I'm back to the United States and went to Utah. It was the land of Keystone Light and Coors Light. And luckily sought out the local brewpub and would take the rock climbing group that I was in.
Speaker 12:9:48We would go down there for beer. They were the ones introduced me to it and then I would take my classes down there and you know buy around beers after climbing for the day and just got to know the people there. The unfortunate thing was I was the 21 with that I was 20 years old and they offered me a job to work in the brewery because they had seen my homebrew outfit that was in our garage that I shared with four other guys in the air force that we had a house together and we built clipping and out of leftover stainless steel parts from the Air Force Base.
Speaker 7:10:29Well so it would have resided on our CAD programs and put it together with pictures I had from Germany. What are we talking about counterpart's. We had a couple of things that were like some tubes. They were come from what they call reactor tubes that were nuclear certified and so they were stamped nuclear certified. So we considered ourselves first nuclear certified brewery. I. Mean.
Speaker 11:11:02When you when we went overseas we weren't able to get when I was in Iceland which we were unable to get Budweiser.
Speaker 12:11:10It was more expensive to get Budweiser. So we would get bit Verger or Bekker or beers like that because they would bring them in on the AWACS planes from Germany so they would fly down to Germany and then they would bring the beer back. To Iceland. So on base we had more German and English beers and we did American because it was expensive to get it saying things like chewing tobacco and stuff like that it was hard to get all that stuff. We're always low on inventory but we could get imports from Germany and stuff. So after drinking Niki's and high school I went drinking burger and Yavor and and I'm Becher and things of that nature Yeah yeah.
Speaker 8:12:00So after that you moved out to Utah somehow found your way to Michigan right.
Speaker 13:12:07Actually Brian Hollander became the head brewer at Erie Brewing Company. I was putting into the job to leave Utah and move back to Pennsylvania. Brian Hollander who's now the vice president of operations for dogfish head has been a good friend of mine for years. And I didn't get the job he did. And I spoke with him came to visit one time and he hooked me up with Russ Heizer who was the original Brewer for harpoon and Russ was selling J.B Northwest equipment at the time and was looking for brewers and this would have been 90 for 95 and was looking for people to be able to fulfill the breweries that were opening. And one of the jobs was Jackson in Michigan and they interviewed me hired me on the spot and I end up in Jackson Michigan. Ironically Brian Hollander was from Marshall Michigan were dark horses and I was from Erie and so I end up switching places with him. I moved to Michigan.
Speaker 8:13:19He moved here. You didn't want to go back to Pennsylvania right.
Speaker 7:13:27I know I didn't mind. I mean I wanted to.
Speaker 13:13:29I was looking forward to come back to Erie the Erie area. I grew up in Corrie and that was where I went to high school and whatnot. And four years out of town and everything kind it was nice to be able to get back to the area.
Speaker 14:13:43But I ended up in Michigan and spent pretty close to a ten year up there so when I did we met two breweries Darkhorse and Jackson brewing company worked with big buck breweries and quite a few of the berries.
Speaker 6:14:00Yes. The list you had. That's on the list. You're in Michigan a lot I think is that the time when you really started forming a lot of your skills.
Speaker 12:14:11So I and I had done the the practical work for the brewer I worked for in Michigan. He was finishing up his Master's in math science at Davis. So he and I did the I did the practical work he did all of the theory did his basis off of that and then I left Utah because the company that we both worked for wasn't financially stable. It was early on in the industry so they weren't doing as well as they'd like like to. And that was the Wasatch was starting and squatters pub. Yeah. And you went to know those guys.
Speaker 1:14:56The first generation.
Speaker 12:14:58Yep and that was kind of the survivors starve era and the company that we were with just wasn't backed well enough to be able to make out the dry spell. So I left the end up taking a job in Michigan and then really kind of worked basically my butt off at one point I was running three breweries I was running out of bakeries in Ann Arbor Jaxson Brewing Company in Jackson Michigan and Robert Thomas Brewing Company in Grand Rapids.
Speaker 10:15:33No I'm not rich was there.
Speaker 14:15:35You helped a little bit at Founders when they were having a hard time trying to keep up and get going at the beginning.
Speaker 6:15:43Now I'm not as familiar with Michigan. How far away is Jackson from Grand Rapids about two hours. Well so you're running three shops with about a four hour round trip. Correct. Man how much. How many hours did you sleep during those years.
Speaker 15:16:00Five six total clouds getting divorced. So I had to pay for a lot of back. I had to take three jobs the amount of what I spent a lot. I slept a lot. In a Volkswagen. For.
Speaker 14:16:23A year and then I worked at four sons Birrie brewpub before I started to do and then I left for sons to start Vudu and then after Vudu we ended up opening up reopening for sons as blue canoe.
Speaker 6:16:39Now it is that the first time you're in a full ownership mode. Yes. OK. What would you see the difference between ownership and being GM or being a head of operations or a chief for in the between the Michigan years and now you're experiencing western P.A..
Speaker 14:16:58I suck at it. I don't like being an owner. You don't get the brew. It's just it's for me it's just not my cup of tea. I'd rather be brewing or just working on the floor overseeing soapies or process controls or the lab work or whatever it needs to be done instead of having to deal with the politics and law writing and all those things baby out of everything funnels up.
Speaker 12:17:40Exactly. And then you just kind of get stuck in that and then you just end up making decisions that I don't know are just beyond the scope of what I really want to deal with. I just miss going into milk and beer every day and seeing the fulfillment of what I did years worth of work and trying to beat my head against the wall sometimes. The years of developing a brewery when there was very little beer culture in Western Pennsylvania is exhausting. And that didn't make it fun for me. I mean it might be for now because there's a lot more beer culture there's a lot more beer knowledge but trying to plug that out for years and do every beer dinner and staff training and everything that you possibly could just be able to get people to understand why the Salib craft beer. What the reasoning behind it was was tough.
Speaker 6:18:39So my my question regarding you moved onto Vudu and what was eerie what was western P.A. like before you left. And when you came back was there any noticeable changes economically it was the region growing was the region stagnant. Because I feel like voodoo.
Speaker 14:18:59That was a good economic boost for that neck of the woods Well when when I moved back relatively Aeris but they kind of say somewhat recession proof big sloops in American economy doesn't really affect it too much. It's one of those. It's not recession proof per se but it's not necessarily growing either. The industry itself is pretty much day to day. Everybody just kind of does what they've always done and there hasn't been a lot of influx of new people new ideas. So hence the reason I wanted to move back to the area I wanted to do something different and that was the thought process process behind Voodoo was to make some beers that were interesting because I had knowledge and beers that I had learned from some great mentors. Alan Pugsley and Pierre Selous things of that nature. So I got to work with those people and I wanted to bring those ideas back.
Speaker 14:20:14The tough part was trying to sell it to the area. So originally we were supposed to have a brewpub and a brewery and then 2000 2000 a 2007 8 hit and people investing in the brewery guy in Bill was a lot harder for them to choke down after they'd lost four hundred thousand dollars in two days. So the president of the college is the one that got me there and he worked with Larry Bell in his class at Western Michigan. So he knew what a person of passion and interest and creativity can do turn something around from a beat up or garage into a seven hundred thousand barrel brewery. And at the time I think they were hitting 70000 barrels maybe 125 when I was moving into Mead ville. So he was very involved in what was going on with Larry and he saw that passion that he had met from Larry back in the 80s when he met me. So he was the one that pushed me to go to meet Bill. But again like I said that was the problem was the market crashed and we just lost all of the investors for the restaurant part. So we had to plug along as a production.
Speaker 8:21:44Yeah. 2007 was a great year to open a very. Yes. It was amazing I would say everybody should do it again. So Vudu made a name for itself and it became recognized as being highly quality beers.
Speaker 14:21:58What would you say we wanted to make good beers. And like I said it took it took some some additional capital and some more help to really be able to get it done because it was a lot of work to try and do it where we were doing it without bringing in some good people and because it was hard to find people that knew how to brew or could help brew or talk agitatedly about the beer. Things like that.
Speaker 6:22:26Did you rely on some of your old contacts over in Michigan or in you know now that now at this stage 2007 everyone's moving into place right. By that I mean you start having like you're saying before your old friends are now and in positions of notability within the industry and these are not small companies anymore you're talking before about even reminiscing about in Utah Wasatch and squatters. Now they're looking at doing a merger a few years down the road from here right.
Speaker 14:22:59Well I think Wasatch. They're all under that canor king now I think. I think Wasatch and squatters they merged. And I believe they became part of that Firemans venture capital group. I just read something about that the other day. So I believe they have sold their shares to that venture group that's run and Oskar Blues and all that. But again I did I would talk to Greg Scherff when I had questions which was great. And Peter Cole from squatters. I mean those are people that I knew applied for jobs at their places but they weren't growing at the time. And I mean there was literally we had a Bruer exchange program in the 90s and that was part of the the whole issue was there weren't enough. So I would literally no somebody at Wasatch they wanted to take a vacation and I would come in and work for them for two weeks so they could take a vacation and then he would run into a buddy at Portland Brewing Company and he's like yeah we need somebody that can you know filter and they would I'd go up to Portland brewing company or big time Brewing Company and worked for two weeks or a week just so we could substitute brew.
Speaker 14:24:29There were so few brewers there where they could really jump around and there wasn't time for anybody to take time off. So then you go from that group of guys that have grown up over the years you know Eric Warner and and have those kinds of friends. Yeah there's a lot of great information there. So that helped. If I ever had quality control issues or anything like that and a lot on the distribution and like how do you work this how do you do this. Who did talk to here. So yes definitely having all those good old friends was a benefit.
Speaker 7:25:04Did it help you find good talent when you opened up to no because no one wanted to live in me. I wasn't going to bring people I couldn't afford to pay anyone.
Speaker 14:25:15You know we were we were it was tough. And we I was lucky I came across a gentleman who had gone to school a day are out in California. Pitt was finishing up his biochemistry degree. Kurt Shaki and he was currently unemployed and the state was offering to pay his salary.
Speaker 12:25:47If I were to bring him on into a skilled position and we were able to take advantage of it he would be there volunteering. And I had another gentleman. I was hoping to bring on but he didn't work out. And Kurt worked out great.
Speaker 10:26:02What problem was it that the state was willing to pay salary.
Speaker 14:26:06It was it was something that was in regards to unemployment and unemployment. Repayment Program. So basically if we if I were to hire him they paid his payroll up to ten dollars an hour well and that way I wouldn't it wouldn't go against my unemployment insurance and they could put somebody into a skilled position. So I just had to prove that he was learning a trade. And so I pulled the parameters from the Association saying that this was a skilled trade. These are the things that need to be known learned and studied and performed to produce a product it wasn't just pressing a button and making a plan.
Speaker 6:27:01So. So essentially you got lucky you have a fellow coming in now. Did he stay with Vudu for a decent amount time.
Speaker 7:27:10He's one of the part owners now. Oh is he ok.
Speaker 14:27:14Yep he he came on after my other Bruer had moved on to Blue canoed to be the full time over there. And Kurt came in and did the day to day work learned how to brew on the system learned how to do packaging and everything else. He really got thrown to the fire because I was selling most of our beer in Philadelphia. So driving back and forth to do that was a tough part.
Speaker 10:27:45What was the drive size I guess between Philadelphia except for me Deville six hours from me Bill to Philadelphia. That's OK. North of Pittsburgh correct.
Speaker 14:27:56Yes. Me Bill is an hour and a half north of.
Speaker 3:28:14Would you classify you as a great success.
Speaker 6:28:17How would you how would you I guess ranked Vudu for yourself.
Speaker 7:28:23I think it's stunning. I think it's great.
Speaker 16:28:25I mean we made beers that were abstract from the norm of the pale ale and Amber Ale and a stout or Porter as the main beers we opened with a variety of Belgian style beers and larger Beers had good success with that barrel aging programs at the beginning when there were quite a few. I'd been doing them for years. I actually bought barrels from Greg Hall back in the day in Michigan to do jack daniels barrel aged beer when they were doing the Jim Beam and Jack Daniels barrels. And the guys have really taken it. We I sold my shares to the employees and Matt Shaki which is Kurt's brother he came in on scene with an investor group to help build the pub. And then once we built the pub we were able to interact directly with our customers that really kind of helped set the knowledge base for our customers so they could come directly and drink the beer. This was back when a lot of breweries were trying to we were failing and having a hard time because if you had one licence you couldn't sell anything on site so you had to do all your work for somebody else as a retail bar under their conditions and their ideas and their thought process where you couldn't really engage the customer firsthand on your own.
Speaker 16:30:03Floorplan so Bavarian barbarian you know that was his big problem Mike who killer who was there and in Williams Williamsport you know he was he suffered from that quite a bit because he saw a lot of his beer in Philadelphia. So he had spent a lot of time in Philadelphia to really get the name out because the local area didn't know thing about the beer and I mean we never sold a keg of beer in Meadville for five years. Well it wasn't until Roffe school tavern which was the one that Kurt and Mateo opened they were one of my first customers for beer. They had the first ones to really bring craft beer in medieval and you know immediately came down and were like hey we want to buy your beer and put on tap who did we get it from.
Speaker 17:30:56Did you guys ever.
Speaker 16:30:56What do you guys ever make anything specifically targeted to middle well it was a waste of time and money. Because Midvale just it was a Miller Lite town the largest distributor in town was Miller and that was our issue and we weren't really going to get that market. It was just pretty old school distributor distributors and they worked within their means and they did what they have always done. So we weren't really getting a lot of help from them. And basically it was just it was grassroots go out and try and win over whoever you could you pick six was the first group you pick six brew pubs pubs they had a six pack shop bottle shop that served beer and they had restaurant licence and they were the first ones to pick up our beer. He said I've got a nitrogen line and no nitrogen beers other than Guinness. He's like if you've nitrogenous your beers you can have that tap all the time you want.
Speaker 18:32:04So I would then guess holer beer and hydrogenated just put it on fats like a get a fat somewhere that was we were basically changing the beards just for a certain group because they would put on tap and they've been a strong supporter of our product ever since and we've always had shelf space with them and and our draft space with them. So we developed quite a few good relationships by that same time you know it's still still struggle.
Speaker 16:32:42We don't get nearly the taps we'd like to get up around the area. But the area does sport quite a few of the good smaller breweries like Jason LaBrie and Erie brewing company.
Speaker 1:32:53All right. That's kind of a shame.
Speaker 17:32:55I mean I feel like for brewing it's all about local. I mean if you're able to sway the locals it becomes a very difficult charge because that's your primary market. You're essentially your small business putting the environment that oftentimes like you said there is back in the day there's a licensing issue between taproom and brewpubs but oftentimes you're running more often than not a restaurant type environment and it's themed restaurant with beer right. If you're not able to to entice the locals on it it's just like any other small business where you know local is everything and if that's not working it becomes I can see how it's it's very difficult trudge. Real quick I want to ask you about the Esaw and now New Belgium was the only one I knew of that really broadcasted the employee ownership model in the brewing industry. You know to the point that everyone knows about new Belgian's ownership. Now when you came up with what was were you looking just to get out of the ownership. Was there any. Were you looking to get more into brewing again. Where was he consulting. First and foremost on your mind were you looking to change or or what was the thought process there.
Speaker 16:34:12Well basically to further the capacity of the Murray for the ownership there was an increasing amount of people that were that were dedicating themselves to it and wanted to be more involved and honestly I was kind of I'm pretty burnt and we just we paid everything off. Finally
Speaker 19:34:38we were making money. And it just came down to being able to grow it needed some financial changes.
Speaker 20:34:51And I just didn't feel like going back into working seven days a week again building all the facilities going into debt and things of that nature.
Speaker 21:35:06So it was either keep the model status quo and buy them out so they could work on something. My other partners or I would sell my part and then I would go and do something new and different which is I kind of wanted to do because I was stuck in a in a market model that was you know I've spent a lot of energy on and I wasn't as excited about it as I would like to have been.
Speaker 18:35:45You know if it wasn't so or mentally taxing so it was just to the point where we looked at it and my partner Matteo went into a couple of different financial workshops at the crafter's conference and the Aesop was the one that fit what I felt was comfortable. I felt better selling it to the employees than trying to find venture group that would be able to finance the buyout and expansion and we worked with the same group that did. New Belgium's we were the smallest one they've ever done. I think we were the smallest VSOP in the country at that time.
Speaker 22:36:32How big was the Steff how big was the what how big was their staff at that point. Staff at that point were probably 12.
Speaker 18:36:44I think we just had open the homestead in Pittsburgh as a depot location and we had three main managers four main managers at that point. One that ran the homestead facility. Kurt who was the brewery manager at the point. Matt who was our Matel who was our general manager and then myself basically is sales and production like just I would oversee the equipment and do all of our sales and marketing.
Speaker 1:37:24And now Vudu has three locations correct.
Speaker 19:37:29Actually more than that than Erie. They have a pop up in the airport. They have a Pittsburgh International. Correct. They have homestead. They have a pop up I believe in Lancaster and what else they are planning on doing.
Speaker 23:37:55So they've got a couple of more things coming forth so.
Speaker 1:38:03All right we're going to have to start wrapping it up here but I got a question.
Speaker 6:38:07So now you're on the consulting side.
Speaker 21:38:10Do you still get chance get out there in Bruce I do a little bit. I mean I'm currently overseeing Erie Brewing Company. As the I did all their install for the new facility did all the automation and piping and everything plus staff training by the new staff and I get the brew I've brewed on that system. We purchased a small sab ko set up so we kind of play with that. I get to work with the guys on that. And you know we're playing with a lot of them milkshakes stuff now and stuff I don't know anything about. I leave that to Nelson and the younger guys. It's a there that's their interest right now. You know I still focus on old quality products and clarity and production capacity so I'm kind of in the flux I guess between being experimental or technical I guess which I never really saw myself as a technical Bruer until I saw a need for technical roaming aspects. So so nowadays it's more about I guess my philosophy is looking at doing good quality beer be it hazy IPA or stout. It's getting shelf life and the staffing to be able to produce that product. So to just the days of pumping it out and saying oh it's probably good I think I let zoomers or too smart now.
Speaker 18:39:54Well yeah exactly well that's the issue is there is there is there's going to be an issue where eventually they're just not going to buy what's local even if it's local if it's not consistently equality and I have always told the people you know I said it's theirs. You can make great beer a lot more somber. I know the first six batches were great and you could tell if they really were paying attention and were diligent on cleaning because after batch 6 if the beer didn't get any better or was getting worse they weren't paying attention. And you know a lot of people I think the first few beers come out for the first year are good and tell all those little demons that we don't pay attention to or don't know or haven't learned. Come sneaking about and then you're in trouble.
Speaker 10:40:46All right. Thanks again. Thank you. Have a good afternoon. YouTube. Thank you for listening to virtual soccer podcasts.
Speaker 24:41:09By round guys great company Matt Allen.
Speaker 1:41:12Great dude right those ton of this industry. Hey follow us on Facebook Facebook dot com the original slacker you can find us can learn more about these round guys Brewing Company through round guys Brewing Company dot com. We have all of our assets including glance at Alehouse the underground and the land's brewpub all up there and the podcast is even up there too. So yeah.
Speaker 24:41:35Become friends. Follow us. Check us out. For the year you guys the future Guilbault.
Speaker 25:41:47Right. Why would they have that rule daily.
Speaker 26:41:52OK so you need in order to answer that question. We need to go deep back into the lore. Back in 2012 when this the law that allowed for limited brewery's to even exists was first enacted back in those days. Jean Muller who's founder of flying fish. Back then it was in Cherry Hill. Now it's I think summer Dale he and a couple other guys were pushing to have much much more expanded rights within their own four walls of the brewery. Back then you can only pour a couple of samples and that was it. And I think it was maybe one or two smokestacks that folks could walk out with. After that 2012 2012 law was enacted. Those folks were allowed to basically operate as a bar so you could pour pints you could fill growlers of the growlers sort of as a natural progression of the industry didn't really show up right away.
Speaker 26:43:02And additionally you could have events and there was really no oversight about what events you could have and so more you know more recently there's been blowback. County by county where these county health boards are cracking down on breweries in New Jersey. And they're saying hey those those pupping pint nights that you're having where you're bringing in dogs well you can't do that because you know under this 2012 law you can have events. Yes but you know this this also impacts public health and so on and so forth. And so this whole event issue really has been brewing no pun intended over the last couple of months and it's really making lawmakers revisit the the initial intent of the 2012 law. And it's funny. I remember working in private practice on a case and the other side didn't have a good standing. They just had a terrible argument. And when you have a good argument you argue the law. And when you have a bad argument you argue the intent or the spirit of the law. And that's precisely what a lot of the distributors in New Jersey are doing when they argue that these these events ought to be limited.
Speaker 25:44:26Let me let me look back at how does a real fast give some people some perspective on it. And traditionally you have your Bruery license and before at least you know people like Jeremy over and shammy push through helped to drive the sale of beer within breweries. You would do small samples and then you could sell 4 packs or six packs or cases on site. But you didn't sell anything else actually and you can take your cell sell consumption on site and then some. The last change you were able to bring in as you had some small fare foods like pretzels or or what have you. And you have some seeding then you could start selling pints and you could start selling beer. Well in draft outside of growlers. So in Jersey it feels much more decentralized. And the argument about having even something as simple as like having animals in a brewery which it's not the processing you're not making the beer in the same space is where the animals are. I'm guessing for most places they probably have it even Jersey probably has a rule where probably has to be separated physically from the. Yes. Yes. So what would the some of these rules aren't logical I understand where you're saying there's a political aspect to it. The bars are trying to to keep their stronghold on having a bar scene right. And are worried about the Brewers coming in. What's absolutely what's the strength of the craft brewers association with in Jersey is a guild like.
Speaker 27:46:11I have a little bit of insight on that but what I will say is that the guild used to be one entity and then it split off due to some internal disagreements.
Speaker 28:46:28Maybe six months or a year ago something like that.
Speaker 27:46:33Everyone is on the same page in that they're trying to fight against what I would call arbitrary and capricious rulings by bureaucrats. Really though there are specific stances on this and what their rationales might be.
Speaker 29:46:53I'm not sure right. So essentially the bar's see an opening and you know distributes an opening and is trying to push the advantage.
Speaker 27:47:05Yeah that's exactly right.
Speaker 30:47:08I think you could say to some degree that the breweries are not quite as unified as they really ought to be especially in a state that is for whatever reason really distributor and bar friendly and they're really trying to push back for this notion of we need to get back to the 2012 law and the 2012 law said really this was a compromise. In fact I wrote about something called a Torah requirement in New Jersey a couple of months ago and short version is in New Jersey. You have to take a tour in order to get a pint or even a tasting at a brewery. And it could be as simple as reading a notecard or it could be a full blown tour. That was really up to the breweries and in writing about that topic I spoke to a guy who heads up one of the trade associations for the distributors and he said look this was a compromise. We said sure you know you could have pints on site and so forth but you need to realize that you operate as a retailer but you can't you can't push a distributor out. Right.
Speaker 31:48:32So if they keep they keep pounding the table about the spirit of a lot stuff. We will see how it goes. I know government Governor Murphy is on the case as well as some other high profile individuals and they're going to be revisiting this special ruling next week. Another good piece of news about this is that it is a pilot program. So it remains to be seen if it stays in place and there's already been 24000 signatures to a petition against this ruling. So yeah I think it really will come down to lobbying dollars.
Speaker 25:49:16Honestly how how does this how does a place like iron Hill make this all work.
Speaker 30:49:22So iron Hill is a group Club meaning they have a license under which they can sell alcohol and make their own food and operate as a restaurant. So this special ruling does not apply to them so they can they can be subject to any number of regulations that may not necessarily impact these limited brewery licensees which are like just a namedrop double nickel or flying fish and so forth.
Speaker 32:49:58David you're also you probably don't know this offhand. What was the pricing difference between a brewpub and a brewery license. DUNN Yeah I feel like what Jersey is saying is you're trying to shortcut revenue streams. And we don't want you doing that. Is that correct.
Speaker 30:50:11To some degree. Really I think it comes down to they really want to reinforce the notion of a three tier system of distribution.
Speaker 32:50:20I mean to some extent you can't. You still need to have a control mechanism. I'm not going to argue to three tiered systems is great but it does have its advantages at times. I've always found it interesting how there's this little burgeoning conflict between breweries and bars and I've always thought of them as partners. We look at our are the bars we work with as partners and as our friends we're definitely not trying to bar them. We're trying to find different outlets for us to sell beer. But then again you look at some other places where you can see the threats. If you look at a you know rock bottom or you look at Iron Hill look at some of these other models out there that are definitely looking to be kind of like the Applebee's of beer. And that's not saying that they have bad. I'm just saying you know like the Rams trying to create a beer themed chain restaurant.
Speaker 26:51:14Yes. With that with similar price points. Yeah brackets.
Speaker 5:51:18Yeah. So I can see the bars trepidation on this one. Not a lot of these bar owners or mom and pops here in Pennsylvania a lot of the distributors I think the distributors got shafted by some of the the grocery chains in that there are other mom and pops. They're not anything more than just you know family room businesses are trying to fill the niche the legal niche. The reason that they had to be put in place in the first place is because we didn't have open sales.
Speaker 25:51:47So you have to create you had to go through a distributor and then the state just turned her back on them.
Speaker 5:51:53And I guess some of the conflict there. So it's interesting it's interesting to watch how things change. It's definitely one thing. In Jersey we'll be paying attention to this so I really thank you for your insight Dave. Appreciate your time and looking for to hear from you again. It's my pleasure anytime. All right David thanks again.