Future Wine Expo 2020

A two-day experience for wineries, service providers, importers, and distributors – where knowledge and vision will frame a platform upon which you will be able to profoundly impact your business.

As the buzz around Artificial Intelligence, Voice, Consumer Behaviour, 3-Tier System, Blockchain continues to grow, the opportunity has arisen for organisations to get ahead of the game and start understanding how all of this could impact their business.

The potential for the future tech to transform your business is truly groundbreaking. From unlocking productivity gains to enhancing customer experience, the benefits are there for all to see.

Future Wine Expo is an experience like no other, packed with conference sessions over a 2-day period where attendees will also be able to learn about the current status of the industry and opportunities. What you will witness during these two days will be something you will remember long afterward.

Stuart Long Brings Southern California to Northern Minnesota at Voyageur Brewing Company

Stuart Long, the head brewer of Voyageur Brewing in Grand Marais, Minnesota / / Photo by Becca Dilley

It’s not Grand Marais’ cold snaps that trip up Stuart Long. Or the solitude. It’s the seagulls. “What the hell is a seagull doing in Minnesota?” the head brewer of Voyageur Brewing Company quips. “I don’t know; it’s weird, man.”

Stuart moved to Grand Marais two years ago after spending the majority of his 31 years living on the West Coast. He looks like a Californian, or at least not Minnesotan—something about his fast-paced, direct chatter raises a definite “not from here!” flag. Before moving here, Stuart had only been to Minnesota once, for his interview with Voyageur. He knew nothing about the state—“I thought it was all plains and ice all the time”—and had an entirely different life plan lined up before taking the job. But then he met the owners of Voyageur Brewing, Mike and Sue Prom and Bruce and Rittalee Walters, and everything changed.

“I kind of just fell in love with the company,” Stuart recalls. “Their whole ethos was really similar [to my own] and their values as owners and what they’re trying to create was really similar to my values as a person and as a brewer.” And then there was Lake Superior and the Boundary Waters, the hard-working locals, and the abundance of space. It all clicked for him. “The lifestyle of northern Minnesota in general is really close to what I’ve always wanted,” the Southern Californian says. “You have the solitude and the trees, there’s a ton of stuff to do out here, there’s surfing. […] All the Minnesotans were trying to scare me away, but it didn’t work.”

Moving to a new place with no set vision for his future was nothing new for Stuart. After suffering a family tragedy when he was 11 years old, he took it upon himself to shape his own life. At age 16, he left San Diego to live with his older brother in Arizona. He finished high school, taught himself to brew beer from grain, went to college to pursue a career in federal law enforcement, changed his mind, and set his sights on working at The Lost Abbey in San Marcos, California. After lots of wooing (“It took a lot to get that first job—I had to buy donuts for people and stuff”) he was hired on his 21st birthday.

Three years later Stuart moved again, this time to Bend, Oregon, where he had the opportunity to take the reins as head brewer at Silver Moon Brewing. He stayed there for a little over three years before returning to San Diego to work as a consultant for start-up breweries. 

All these decisions stemmed from Stuart’s ethos of embracing trial and error and being “a student of the school of hard knocks.” “As soon as you realize you know nothing, you can start learning. I love that mentality,” he says emphatically.

Flight pours at Voyageur Brewing in Grand Marais, Minnesota / / Photo by Becca Dilley

That approach is both beneficial and necessary in his role at Voyageur Brewing, where even the seemingly simple act of sourcing raw materials can be a challenge. “If you’re in the city, you can get things. It’s all just right there—you can go to BSG or Country Malt or borrow from someone. Out here, if my hops take a turn for the worse, or anything happens, I have zero support,” he explains. “It’s like survival sometimes.” In the two years he’s worked at Voyageur, Stuart has had to learn to do everything from service the brewery’s boiler to diagnose issues with his brewing system and find a way to fix them. There’s no other option, he says: “You have to fix it. You gotta figure it out.”

Of course, it’s not just Stuart versus The Unpredictable. “Having the support of my team is huge,” he says. “The brewers that work here with me, my colleagues, the owners are all super important. They have their own unique gifts and skill sets. Within our team there’s a lot of different people I can rely on for different things that can support my weaknesses. You just have to be very self-sufficient out here.”

Ironically, all three brewers at Voyageur, as well as one front-of-house staffer, are from California. Two—cellarman Cole Macy and beertender Garret Lima—are friends of Stuart’s (“I told them to come check it out; they did and liked it and stayed”); the other, lead brewer Kayla Brogna, well, Stuart’s not sure what brought her to Grand Marais. “We’re magnetic people,” he laughs, then adds: “The joke is that I don’t make friends quick enough, so I just brought my own.”

Lakeshore stone tap handles at Voyageur taproom / / Photo by Becca Dilley

Along with his two buddies, Stuart also brought his girlfriend and 100-pound Walker Coonhound along for the adventure. So far, all have adjusted surprisingly well—an outcome that is apparently only a surprise to me, a born-and-raised Minnesotan. The Californian, on the other hand, is completely unfazed by his quick adjustment to life in the tundra. “I think if you have the type of personality to be out here and you can just embrace it, then you’re going to be all right,” he says. “I have everything I want; I live on 10 acres with my chick and my dog and we do what whatever we want. […] I work for a company that also owns Voyageur Outfitters; everything’s so accessible. It’s perfect for me in that sense.”

Stuart’s transition from Cali surfer boy to Minnesota outdoorsman wasn’t instant, though. For one thing, his vocabulary and vernacular were so different from that of his Grand Marais neighbors that he found he needed to repeat himself and speak more slowly. Another major adjustment was finding replacements for his daily surfing sessions and weekly dives. “The beach was a huge part of my life,” Stuart says. “It was all-consuming, the water. I knew there were waves out here but it’s not the ocean, right? So I’ve had to kind of reevaluate stuff like that.” 

Diving has been replaced with climbing, hiking, fishing, and camping. As for surfing, he still does it, it’s just—different: “The first time I tried to surf out here was the coldest I’ve ever been in my life.” 

Taproom and merch wall at Voyageur Brewing in Grand Marais, Minnesota / / Photo by Becca Dilley

Even with all the changes, Stuart insists his life hasn’t changed that much. “I’m still introverted. I still read all the time. […] I found that the lifestyle here is actually really similar [to my life before], with the exception that I have a big-ass driveway to shovel—the snow is crazy. There’s always something to do at my house, whether it’s cutting wood or shit like that. But I love it. It gives me stuff to do. For me, that simplicity is good.” 

Simplicity and slow may define the tempo in Grand Marais during the colder months, but come summer, it’s all-systems-go. That’s when Twin Citians and other southern Minnesota residents flock north, itching to swap their everyday downtown and suburban life for a week or two in the woods. “We see a lot of you in the summer,” Stuart tells me, a slight teasing to his voice. “That’s one of the weirdest things up there—the tourist thing. It’s crazy. Our production—it’s day and night; we can’t keep up in the summer. And in the winter it’s a whole other story. In the summer we’ll sell exponentially more beer through the bar. In the winter, we’re relying on our distributors to sell the product.”

But the Boundary Waters is still just a short drive away, and tourist season passes as quickly as a storm whipped up by Lake Superior, and then it’s back to Wednesday nights out in the woods, eating dinner by a campfire and listening to a downloaded Audiobook because cellphone service is non-existent. It’s back to solitude and simplicity and slow. Just as Stuart likes it.

Editor’s Recommendation: Brule River Blonde Ale

After a long day of hiking around the Superior National Forest or paddling the Boundary Waters, a crisp, low-ABV blonde ale hits the spot like few other beers. Brule River Blonde has a slight hint of melon and finishes clean—a refreshing treat that leaves you wanting another.

3 Lodi wineries offering authenticity and intrigue in the bottle

Workers in one of the many vineyards of the Lodi AVA in central California // Photo courtesy Lodi Winegrape Commission

Workers in one of the many vineyards of the Lodi AVA in central California // Photo courtesy Lodi Winegrape Commission

The Lodi region of California has grown wine grapes for over a century. This history has both burnished and oxidized its reputation. Lodi has some name recognition, but for a specific niche: high octane zinfandel and bulk filler for the kings, queens, and princes to the west, nearer the cool coast. Both because of and despite this storied past, growers new and historic have reenergized the brand “Lodi” with forward-thinking varietal plantings that better explore the potential of the region, while also proudly staking their claim as the rightful heir of old, entish zinfandel vines. Aspiring, trailblazing, and even avante garde, some of these producers now explore a spectrum of wines from broad-shouldered and proud, to vivacious and crisp.

The gateway to California’s massive Central Valley, Lodi often gets lumped in with the growers there who produce millions of gallons of bulk juice to sell to large national producers. This connection has veracity, as Lodi served this role back in the 1960s and ’70s. However, Lodi benefits greatly from moderating winds off the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta, which feeds into San Francisco Bay 30 miles west. Without this moderating influence, wines become ripe without balance—the problem faced by the Central Valley farther east and south. For Lodi, however, the delta provides hot, arid daytime conditions with vitally important cool evenings, which enable the potential for compelling winemaking.

Proprietor and winemaker Jim “Giacomo” Moore of Uvaggio recently mentioned in an email interview that he has dropped his production from 7,500 cases back in 2013 to 1,000 cases per year in 2017. While both are minuscule numbers in the world of California wine, Moore is clearly focusing on quality winemaking with this decision. His past experience as assistant winemaker at Robert Mondavi and director of winemaking for Bonny Doon Vineyard’s Ca’ del Solo project also gives reason to take heed.

When a winemaker with a serious resume forges a path on his own under a boutique label, give a taste. With Uvaggio, Moore focuses his energy on Italian varietals, which have long been his forte and passion. Primitivo, for instance, is native to the eastern coastal region of Puglia, Italy, and is a genetic cousin to American zinfandel. It consequently shares the uneven ripeness within individual clusters, a hallmark of zinfandel, which accounts for the hint of green that can co-exist alongside liqueur density. Uvaggio’s 2015 Primitivo yields notes of strawberry and dusty chalk with noteworthy, gravelly tannins and well-tuned acidity. A hint of green on the palate and bitterness in the tannins suggests Moore works hard to avoid over-ripeness. For those seeking a wholly unique white wine experience, get your hands on the 2016 Vermentino, which yields lemon oil, grass, and snap pea with medium body and vivacious acidity. Seek out this intriguing anomaly (by domestic standards).

Tortoise Creek crafts varietal wines as one of the LODI RULES for Sustainable Winegrowing producers. Launched in 2005, LODI RULES provides third-party verification of sustainable vineyard management, akin to Oregon’s LIVE certification. The certification goes beyond grape growing to cover labor practices, water and air quality, and community wellbeing. Tortoise Creek partners with a host of growers around Lodi to produce value bottlings. Their 2016 The Chelonian Zinfandel is a classic zinfandel with dark fruits, spice, and pepper on the nose. The lush and full palate carries the typically high alcohol (15.5% ABV) gracefully thanks to a gentle touch of residual sugar. The 2016 Jam’s Blend Chardonnay is medium-lemon in color with balanced aromas of melon, mango, and lemon zest with a hint of lightly toasted bread. The silky entrance gives way to a floral undertone and gentle acidity—quite a lovely chardonnay.

Some of the wines offered by Klinker Brick Winery, including a bottle of their Old Vine Zinfandel (second in from right) // Photo via Klinker Brick Winery Facebook

The Felten family owns and manages 15 vineyards of “old vine” zinfandel ranging from 40 to 120 years old. After selling their fruit to prestigious wineries in Napa and Sonoma for years, they launched their first old vine zinfandel under their own Klinker Brick label in 2000. The 2014 Old Vine Zinfandel gushes raspberry sauce and dark-fruit compote, slathering the palate with layers of fruit and soft, ripe tannins. With clear yet balanced residual sugar, this zinfandel steers clear of any herbal edges, choosing the hedonistic path instead.

Lodi will always loom in the shadows of neighbors Napa and Sonoma. For this reason, accompanied by the thoughtful and downright brave plantings of unheralded varietals that are yielding unexpected flavors and textures, Lodi’s winemakers are proving that they can offer value that most consumers seek, and can do so without sacrificing authenticity and intrigue.

Sneak peak at the new Lagunitas Azusa expansion

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Inside one of the three warehouses that constitute the new Lagunitas Azusa campus // Photo via California Brew Masters

On April 19, Lagunitas Brewing Co, the nation’s sixth largest craft brewing company, opened the doors of its new Azusa campus, reports California Brew Masters.

The new Southern California campus spans three warehouse structures and is expected to put out around 1.8 million barrels of beer per year at full capacity. The buildings sit empty for now, but are expected to fill up and start cranking out beer within a year’s time.

Building One will house shipping and receiving as well as cold storage and office space. Building Two will house a keg, bottling, and canning line, producing bottles at a mind-blowing rate of 750-800 bottles per minute. Building Three is will house a taproom (located on the second floor to give a birds eye view of the facility), restaurant, gift shop, and rooftop beer bar, as well as the brewery’s three 250-barrel brew houses.

Current plans include 90 55-foot-tall fermenters, 12 bright tanks, and three centrifuges as well, making the Azusa facility bigger than Lagunitas’ campuses in either Petaluma or Chicago. The complex will also feature an amphitheater, because according to Lagunitas’ communications director Karen Hamilton, “where ever you find Lagunitas, you find music.”

[h/t California Brew Masters]


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Drought forces California breweries to reduce water use

Beer brewer Chuck McLaughlin talks to a client at his Fallbrook Brewing Co. brewery on Sept. 30, 2015, in Fallbrook, Calif. California has more craft breweries than any other state. Their industry faces tough challenges during California's severe drought, as a typical craft brewery uses up to 7 gallons of water to make 1 gallon of beer. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Beer brewer Chuck McLaughlin talks to a client at his Fallbrook Brewing Co. brewery on Sept. 30, 2015, in Fallbrook, Calif. California has more craft breweries than any other state. Their industry faces tough challenges during California’s severe drought, as a typical craft brewery uses up to 7 gallons of water to make 1 gallon of beer. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Facing one of the worst droughts in California state history, towns and cities are imposing strict water measures on more than residents’ front lawns. The new limits are also extending to the state’s breweries.

While larger breweries are investing in more efficient equipment and processes, the state’s smaller brewers don’t have the capital to make similar investments, forcing them to make tough decisions.

“Drought has the potential to move a lot in the industry outside the state or prevent it from growing,” says Cheri Chastain, Sierra Nevada’s sustainability manager.

Read more at Yahoo News.


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A new (tasty) use for recycled water: Beer

Mavericks Brewery, which opened in 2014, was founded with a focus on sustainability. They hope that making Tunnel Vision IPA with high-purity recycled water will raise public awareness and help people see it as a safe way

Mavericks Brewery opened in 2014 with a focus on sustainability. Their recycled-water Tunnel Vision IPA keeps with this environmental philosophy.

Mavericks Brewing announced today that they’ve made the first beer in California using recycled water. And not just any recycled water: greywater sourced from NASA.

Mavericks, an independent craft brewery in Northern California, will unveil the recycled-water version of their best-selling Tunnel Vision IPA at the Meeting of the Minds Conference on October 22.

“California is in a massive drought and we need creative solutions to address it,” said Lenny Mendonca, co-founder of Mavericks Brewing. “One viable solution is the more expansive use of recycled water. Beer has a long history of helping to purify water. At Mavericks Brewing, we wanted to rekindle that tradition and show that water can be recycled and used for drinking – even in the highest quality craft beer.”

Due to greywater restrictions, the beer will not be available for sale.


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Maui Brewing expands distribution to CA, NV

MauiMaui Brewing Co. is expanding its distribution to California and Nevada. Maui’s beers had been available in both states, but this latest expansion will move them into even more markets.

According to the release, Maui Brewing Co. is Hawaii’s largest craft brewer and operates a production brewery and tasting room in Kihei, a brewpub in Kahana, and creates more than 50 different styles of craft beer on a rotating basis. Maui Brewing Co. is available in 12 states and five countries with more areas to follow. Founded in 2005 Maui Brewing Co. brews 100% of its beer in Hawaii, and is now on pace to produce approximately 40,000 barrels in 2015.

Southern Wine and Spirits will be distributing the beer in Nevada, while Chrissa Imports, Central Coast Distributing, Delta Pacific Beverage, and Pipeline Beverage will fill out California’s coast line and Central Valley

Read the full release on Beer Pulse

California wildfires threatening the state’s wine industry

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Winemakers near California’s precious Napa Valley are worried that smoke from wildfires could affect the flavor of their grapes.

“Wines made from grapes exposed to smoke during sensitive growth stages can exhibit aromas and flavors resembling smoked meat, disinfectant, leather, salami and ashtrays,” according to a report on wildfire’s effects on grapes from the Department of Agriculture and Food in Australia from 2003.

Wine is a $24 billion industry in the state and California produces approximately 90% of the wine made in the United States. Any dramatic loss of grape crop could be detrimental to the state’s economy.

H/T Fortune.com

Lagunitas CouchTrippin’ to Austin to Release Fusion 19

Lagunitas CouchTrippin

Lagunitas is CouchTrippin’ to Austin, Texas! The Petaluma, California brewery known for their creativity and originality is at it again, this time embarking on a cross-country adventure with a team of musicians and specially crafted barrel aged beers. Lagunitas teamed up with a mix of bands, musicheads, and beer geeks to create a five-show tour ending at SxSW in Austin, Texas to showcase different barreled variations of their CouchTrippin’ Fusion 19 Ale.

Lagunitas Fusion Series is an experimental draft series that has grown into a national collaboration. Homebrewers, homebrew clubs, retailers, and distributors from across the country have come together over the years to create 19 different Fusion ales. Last year, two Minnesotan homebrewers and restaurant owners from Pizza Luce and The Bulldog NE were flown out to California to create “Fusion 15.”

Related Post: Lagunitas Releasing “Fusion 15″ at Grumpy’s NE

Fusion 19, A.K.A the “mother beer” for CouchTrippin’, is a biscuity brown ale, dry hopped with Mosaic and Nelson Sauvin hops. Four special barreled variations were created in partnership with bands Allen StoneThe Mowgli’s and Tumbleweed Wanderers; beer minds from DC BeerBeer Street JournalKim’s Bay Brews and Good Beer Hunting; and music-centric folks from FILTER MagazineBrightest Young Things, and Consequence of Sound.

Each of the four Fusion 19 variations will be tapped during the tour parties in Nashville (2/27), Washington DC (3/4), San Francisco (3/5), Denver (3/7), and ultimately ending in Austin (3/12).  Fans will be able to taste the beers side-by-side and take in a mix of both the Austin and Lagunitas experience.

There will be live music at each stop, some “freaks” from the Lagunitas Beer Circus, and it wouldn’t be CouchTrippin’ without some well-loved couches from the Lagunitas Loft. Prepare to dance your socks off by downloading Side A of their CouchTrippin’ Mixtape here. For free!

This event will be packed at each venue, so make sure to RSVP. For more information on the Fusion beers or the CouchTrippin’ events, visit the Lagunitas CouchTrippin’ website.

CouchTrippin’ Fusion Ale and variations:

  • CouchTrippin’ Fusion Ale Dry hopped with Nelson Sauvin and Mosaic
  • San Fransisco CouchTrippin’ Fusion – Oaked with High West Whiskey (Created by: The Mowgli’s, Tumbleweed Wanderers, and Kim’s Bay Brews)
  • D.C CouchTrippin’ Fusion – Oaked with High West Manhattan (Created by: DC Beer and Brightest Young Things)
  • Nashville CouchTrippin’ Fusion – Brett Pinot Oaked (Created by: Beer Street Journal and Consequence of Sound)
  • Denver CouchTrippin’ Fusion – Oaked with High West Boulevardier (Created by: Allen Stone, Filter Magazine, and Good Beer Hunting)

PRESS RELEASE: 21st Amendment Building New California Brewery in Bay Area

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21st AMENDMENT BREWERY UNVEILS PLANS FOR NEW BAY AREA PRODUCTION BREWERY

San Francisco native brand to build destination brewery, restaurant in San Leandro, California

SAN LEANDRO, CA (February 2014) —21st Amendment Brewery co-founders Nico Frecciaand Shaun O’Sullivan are thrilled to announce plans for the new 21st Amendment production brewery, tasting room, restaurant and event space located in the former Kellogg Cereal factory building in San Leandro, CA.  Set to open later this year, the 95,000 square foot facility will have an initial brewing capacity of 100,000 BBLs, scalable to over 250,000 BBLs, making it among the largest breweries in the Bay Area (one BBL, or “beer barrel” is equal to 31 gallons). The company expects to brew over 70,000 BBLs in 2014.

“Since we began packaging our beer six years ago with our Minnesota partner brewery, we have never been able to keep up with demand,” said co-founder Nico Freccia. “Building our own local brewery will allow us to continue to focus on improving quality and consistency, and to expand into new markets where our beer is in demand.”

“We look at this as an opportunity for us to bring the vision and beer home to the Bay Area where it all started when we opened our San Francisco brewpub in 2000,” added co-founder and Brewmaster Shaun O’Sullivan. “This will allow us to continue to deepen our SF Bay Area local roots and to keep having fun making great beer. Both Nico and I are excited about making more interesting beers with our unique packaging that craft beer drinkers have come to know and love. It’s every brewer’s dream to open their own brewery and this is truly a dream come true for us.”

In addition to a state-of-the-art craft brewing facility, the new location, where Pop-Tarts and Frosted Flakes were once produced, will feature a tasting room and retail area as well as the company’s world office headquarters. Phase two will commence in 2015 and will include a full restaurant/pub, beer garden, event and meeting rooms and more. The company expects to create 20 new jobs over the next nine months and a hundred jobs over five years.

The space is being designed by San Francisco architects Aidlin Darling Design, winners of the 2013 National Design Award by the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt Nation Design Museum for their complete body of work, two National AIA “COTE” awards for excellence in sustainable design, and a James Beard Award among many accolades.

“This project will be nothing short of the number one destination spot for craft beer aficionados and beer lovers near and far. With an interactive space that will enhance each guest’s experience as they adventure around the production brewery, the plans are to repurpose the historical cereal factory in a way that celebrates the building’s industrial character and blurs the boundaries between the production space and the hospitality space,” said lead designer David Darling.

21st Amendment will be installing a 100 barrel, four-vessel GEA/Huppmann brew house – engineered in Germany and made in the U.S.A. – with an initial capacity of eight brews per day. In addition, they have purchased the newest, state of the art KHS high speed volumetric can filling line that will be capable of filling up to 500 cans per minute. The team plans to use this large-scale brewing facility as an opportunity to create many more new specialty and experimental brews to add to their famous year-round beers along with the launch of new, seasonal and limited edition “Insurrection Series” beers.  The company plans to continue to maintain a valued relationship with their Third Street Brewhouse partners in Cold Spring, Minnesota.

21st Amendment Brewery will be located at 2010 Williams Street in San Leandro, CA. For more information on 21st Amendment, visit http://21st-amendment.com/ or follow the guys on Twitter and Instagram @21stAmendment.

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