Sunday, December 20, 2009

Homebrew Part 3

Patience delivers.

You may view my previous documentation on home brewing for the holidays here and here.

I homebrew ten gallons each year to present my clients with a home made Christmas gift. Some may bake cookies or preserve fruit in jars as gifts. That’s not my style.

Regular commenter Snakeye asked on a previous post why I do not primary brew in a glass carboy. Snake, I use a plastic bucket for the primary fermentation because it is large enough to prevent foam-over problems and plastic is also what I initially started brewing with. But I do use a glass carboy for the secondary fermentation. A transfer for secondary fermentation allows the spent yeast to be tossed before adding an off flavor to the final results. It also helps to clear the brew from suspended particulates.

In order to be brief I did not document each and every step from boil to bottle. But the following images display the final result.

I buy boxes from Mr. Take Out Bags online. A few years back I used wooden boxes bought at Sam’s liquors in Chicago. They became unreliable and the corrugated cardboard containers are far less expensive but make a fine presentation.

All labels are designed by me, since I make my living as a graphic designer. The labels get printed at Kinko’s then I cut them out and use spray adhesive to apply them to the containers. This way I get to show clients what I do. I can also write-off the cost as a self-promotion expense. It is a lot of work.

The peanuts in the package work because it insulates the bottle from shipping mishaps and peanuts compliment the beer as an edible treat. I buy the peanuts fresh roasted from the Mellow Nut Co. on west Lake St. in Chicago. They supply the stadium vendors at pro-sports venues. Anyone can walk in and buy fresh roasted nuts and popcorn from them. Peanuts are sold at a ten-pound minimum purchase for about $1.+ per pound. They are the best tasting peanuts ever. Awesome. I always buy more just to nibble on around the house for the holidays. They are unsalted and taste far better to me.

These gifts not only are a way to thank clients they help promote myself as well. I have gotten business from others who saw the containers in someone’s office.

One client wrote me and asked if I would sell her a case. Even though she was not a beer drinker her husband went nuts for the brew. It is very hoppy and he loves a bitter, hoppy brew. I gave her a few leftover bottles and she presented them to him for a Valentine’s Day present.

A new client called me one day to set up an onsite contract project at a downtown ad agency. While I never worked for him before he got a reco from another creative director. When that potential new client asked for my contact information the CD gave him an empty bottle of my homebrew.

All images here are raw, the only retouching I did was to block out personal information.

I have spent thirty years in the advertising, marketing and sales promotion business. If I can’t promote myself I ain’t worth a shit. Buying someone a bottle of wine, sending a box of prime steaks or a gift card as a thank-you to clients is fine

But what says appreciation more than anything is something that is home made, tastes good and is more filling. A little head buzz is a nice extra bonus too.

My simple little offering sets me apart from others who do what I do. It just works.


Dan from Madison said...

Just plain old awesomeness.

Snakeye said...

I like it dude! The pics really do the story justice, great job on them. If I ever open up a brewpub someday, you're hired (now whether to put you as a brewmaster or marketing, I don't know! lol)

Chris from Colorado said...

I can attest, your ale tastes as great as it looks.

johnnyj said...

Very cool!

...Order in!

Anonymous said...

That is really awesome, and great presentation as well.

Mark said...

Does the label change from year to year or is this your brand? If so it would be fun to see collage of Stub Tail through the years.

Gerry from Valpo said...

Hi Mark, I do change the label each year and name too. This is the second time I have used Stub Tail because I like it. In a week or so I will publish my other labels.

Carl from Chicago said...

I had one of your beers and was astounded at the presentation and how good it tasted. Better than my usual corn flavored water!