Friday, June 26, 2009

Day 10: The Notebook

I get more and more excited to write in this blog as the days go by. Thanks to all of you for sharing this experience with me!

The big announcement of the day: We have decided to keep Yogi (the puppy)!!! Seriously though, who didn't see that coming? Below is a picture of us at the top of Ousel Falls.

Onto the beer related content:

Today was a fun day. The morning started out as any other morning should. I really fucked up! I was supposed to hook up the CIP cart to one of our bright tanks to pre-clean it...

--- I should stop right here and notify the world that the terminology used in this blog is specific to what I am learning at the brewery I work at. There are many other ways to do things that may or may not be better and there are many other names for those things. Right or wrong, this is what I know---

... with that said, I had the wrong idea about the pre-cleaning setup. Essentially I ended up letting most of the liquid out of the CIP cart and into the lines leading to the bright tank, while the CIP cart's heating element was still on!!! Luckily, luckily, luckily, the error was caught in time and the heating element still works (for now). When I asked about the cost of replacing the element, the answer was, "you don't want to know." So I am very relieved that the thing still works.

After this mistake I have now decided to keep a notebook. There are soooooo many tasks for me to remember, with so many detail oriented steps to keep in order, I just don't think it is worth my time to "cram" them all in at once. I have a notepad that I am going to keep in my back pocket and write down what I am doing, for example: pre-clean BT2. Then I am going to write down the steps to complete the task, in order, and the things to watch out for.

The plan is for me to be able to use my tool as a way to look back and see exactly what I did so I don't mess up everytime I do something!

Inbetween my new notebook adventure and going into Bozeman to sell beer, did I mention we went into Bozeman to sell beer?, I scrubbed some floors and straighted up a bit. There definately is a magical feeling when you can put in some good hard work to make your brewery shiney!

In Bozeman we hit up the same sales formula as we did for my last sales trip, to Helena last week. This time we didn't have a distributor with us, I think this may have helped a bit. According to my (brew)master Steve, selling beer is just putting your face out there, "ya know, shaking hands and kissing babies." The highlight of the trip was stopping off at Bozeman Brewing Company.

It was a great feeling to enter the domain of another (rival) brewer while feeling welcome and kind of like we were all playing for the same team. I met some great guys over there, they were full of information! They spoke much more technically about their process than I am used to hearing. The biggest takeaway from the trip was that even after mastering one small brewery, and how it works, THERE IS ALOT TO BE LEARNED OUT THERE. I'm guessing the best way to learn it is by working with other people. I also did notice that there are more brewers working at BBC than at my LPB. I'm not sure the overall affect of this, but I am anticipating that each guy has to know ALOT and communicate ALOT ALOT with a large team because they have to work together as a team to generate a consistent product. I am looking forward to that type of atmosphere in the future someday. I bet one would learn alot.

Our canning line should be arriving anyday now (it is 7 weeks late)! I am excited to experiment and implement it into our process!

Cheers, Prosit, and Skoal!


  1. Hey Spencer! As long as you view incidents like this as lessons and not mistakes you'll be just fine. And it sounds like you are doing just that by taking these opportunities to tweak your procedures. Enter notebook. Be sure to include CIP in your glossary or list of acronyms. I've heard there is quite the brotherhood among breweries and brewers. Sounds like you are experiencing that already. Keep on keeping on as the rest of us live vicariously through you. Cheers, DA

  2. Ole was so excited that you were going to keep the puppy, but he understands he and his puppy friends are a lot of work.