Alexandria Brewing Company

Brewed in Cincinnati tradition. Proudly made in Kentucky.

 

 

Kickstarter 2.0 and Life

I wanted to take the time this weekend and write about the surge in our Kickstarter and some other things that have been going on with Alexandria Brewing Company in general.

Kickstarter 2.0

If you follow us on Facebook or Twitter, you may have noticed that we just hit $15,000 of our $20,000 goal for our Kickstarter campaign.  This is nothing short of amazing!  We still have two weeks to go and it has been extremely humbling to know that we have the community supporting us the way we do.  I have said it on every update on our Kickstarter and it has been said on many times on our Facebook feed, but I can't say it enough, thank you.  Your generosity and support makes the toughest parts of this seem easy.

As many of you know, this Kickstarter campaign is more about having a show of community support than actually raising the money.  However, the money will be nice.  The money that we raise from the Kickstarter will go directly into the taproom.  If you read my last blog entry, you know what we plan on building.  If we were to go with Plan A, hitting our Kickstarter goal may mean opening with the beer garden completely finished.  If we have to go with Plan B, this could mean having a few vintage pinball machines and knocking down some walls to open the space up. 

First and foremost is the quality of our beer followed by a positive experience by our guests.  Then finally, all of the bonuses that will set our taproom apart.  If we have to start with Plan B, most of our resources will be put into our brewing equipment and upgrading the existing structure to handle our brewing equipment.  With that said, we still have a bad ass taproom planned.  Hitting the Kickstarter goal will take this taproom to the next level.

 

Alexandria Brewing Company

Some of you may know that I am big on doing what I can to give back.  Recently, I had the chance to spend some time in West Virginia meeting some veterans, sharing my journey, and trying to help others get on a better path.  While doing this, it gives me time to reflect on my own journey and how tough life was for me for a very long time.  It is really strange that something as little as changing your point of view can change your life and lead you to doing something like starting a brewery.  So, to all of those who I met last weekend, thank you for being open and making that first step into taking your life back.  I know this isn't necessarily brewery news, but it is part of what we are about as a company.

We also have been working with the City of Alexandria to make things go smoother when we are ready to move.  Zoning is a weird thing and is something we are becoming very familiar with through this whole process.  The City of Alexandria is committed to working with us.  I have to believe that a large part of their support comes from the strong start to Kickstarter 2.0.  This goes to what was stated above, your backing of us has been unbelievable. 

Finally, if you haven't seen this on Braxton's, P3's, Cincy Brewcast's, Bad Tom Smith's, or our Facebook feeds or on our "Upcoming Events" tab, we have a collaboration beer coming out on 11/5/2016.  We brewed this beer in collaboration with Braxton, MadTree, Rivertown, Bad Tom Smith, and Fibonacci in honor of a good friend, Mike Cisneros.  I was fortunate enough to meet him through Cincy Brewcast.  Some of you may know that I have been on their podcast 2 times now, but we really did another show that has never aired.  This was with two guys I consider good friends now, Eric Tanner and Anthony Stoeber of Brewer's Buddy.  I believe we spent more time talking off microphone than on and we shared some really good beer that day.  Honestly, the whole show went wrong as far as what was planned, but turned out to be a fantastic experience, at least for me.  I walked away feeling honored to have Mike in my life. Less than two weeks later, he was gone.  This hit me hard.  This beer is the very least we all could do to pay tribute to a person who has done an amazing job of banging a loud drum for the Cincinnati craft beer scene.  His partners in crime, The Gnarly Gnome and Tina Cisneros (also people I consider good friends), have really stepped up their game.  They were both a crucial part in making this collaboration happen, but it wouldn't have happened at all without Monica Bowles of People. Pints. Purpose.  While I would like to believe we were all thinking of our own way to remember Mike, Monica was brining us all together to do it. 

 

Big Cis (Cropped)

So, a little bit about the beer and why we decided on what we did.  Mike's favorite style was a true pilsner followed by a black IPA.  We all met at Bad Tom Smith after a long series of emails.  We talked about several options and decided a true to style Czech Pilsner.  Most people don't realize it.  The pilsner originated in the Czech Republic.  The Germans may be known for perfecting it, but they did so in Pilsen.  It is often considered the toughest beer to brew because you can't hide behind anything with it.  If a brewer makes a mistake when it comes to temperature, timing, or pH, it can ruin this beer.   We did "Big Cis" with all pils malts and all Czech Saaz hops.  It is a single decoction brew, keeping it traditional as possible.  Mike's nickname was "Big Cis."  It is only fitting to name it after him.  We brewed it at Braxton, but each brewery involved hopes to release our own variant every year.  I hope to combine his favorite styles and do a black pilsner without pushing it to a schwarzbier.  We'll see.  Anyway, I will be a Braxton on 11/5 celebrating this beer and celebrating Mike.  I hope to see you all there.

Okay, sorry for the length.  I just had a lot to get out.  If you stuck with me for the whole thing, thank you.  Please keep sharing our Facebook and Twitter posts and help get the word out.  I look forward to seeing you at Braxton on November 5th.

Cheers,

Andy Reynolds

 

Our Vision

As September ends and October begins, I am brewing with some of the greatest brewing minds in the city of Cincinnati working on something special to remember a friend that left this world too early.  There will be more information coming on this soon.  I’d suggest following The Gnarly Gnome to learn all you need to know. 

The main point of this blog post is to fill you in on our vision for what will be Alexandria’s first brewery since the 1880’s.  I started our business plan in 2009 when my wife and I lived in a two bedroom condo in Wilder, KY.  In 2010, I filed for our LLC and it became official in January of 2011.  In terms of craft beer in Cincinnati, that was a long time ago.  On the 4th of July in 2011, I had my first bout with a major health problem that became chronic.  This caused us to put the dream on hold, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  What I mean by this is that in 2011, I was looking at converting old dairy equipment into brewing equipment.  It was a common practice back then.  It would have been a small operation of my wife and I with maybe one other employee.  Our production plan was a 2-3 barrel (BBL) direct fire system that would operate very similar to homebrew.  I hadn’t thought about the difficulty of keeping up with demand, because I hadn’t realized the level of demand and how thirsty Cincinnati was.  We were looking to rent a small space in a strip mall and do our best to keep our day jobs.

The problems with my health allowed me to take a step back and reevaluate what’s important to me.  I was fortunate enough to attend Seibel School of Technology (the oldest and most recognized brewing schools in the United States).  I learned more about brewing and the brewing process than I ever thought possible there and was able to get some great volunteer work in the Chicago area.  I came back home and reworked our business plan. 

Right now, we are really working from two business plans, which has a lot to do with bank financing.  We have financing in place with a bank, but the bank is being very wishy washy with how much they want to lend us.  We have investors and our own money put in on it as well.  The issue is being compared to other breweries that operate different than we will.  For example, they may have a restaurant or a smaller level of production than we are planning.  Unfortunately, a bank sees us all as the same and they will look at hard numbers versus a theoretical number any day.  It is part of the reason I am no longer in the financial industry.  So, with all of that said, of the two plans, Plan B we are good to go on.  We are still trying to work on Plan A, but it may be a little further off. 

Here is a summary of our Plans:

Both plans we will purchase the same piece of land.  We have a place in mind and have several backups as well.  We are doing our best to stay within the City of Alexandria proper.  Our first choice will allow us to do so and is a prime location.

Plan A:

  • Build a 6,000 – 10,000 Sq. Ft. steel building to serve as our production facility and taproom

  • The production facility will be a 3 vessel 15 or 20 (BBL) brewhouse with six fermentation tanks that will be double the capacity of the brewhouse.

  • The taproom will offer free vintage pinball and arcade games free to guests. 

  • We will build a large outdoor German / Bavarian style beer garden with a fireplace and, eventually, a stage area. 

  • The brewpub will be super family friendly with board games (even some built into our tables) and we will offer a selection of craft soda.  We hope to eventually make our own rootbeer.

  • Guests will be welcome to bring their own food and/or order from local restaurants .  We plan to have food trucks as often as possible.

Plan B:

  • The land we are currently looking at has an existing structure.  In Plan A, that would be our office space.  In this plan, we would turn the first floor into a taproom.  The top floor will become our offices and the basement will become our production.

  • We will start a with a small 3-5 BBL brewhouse with six double capacity fermentation tanks.

  • This will allow us to operate and establish ourselves.  The taproom will still be family friendly and you will still be able to bring your own food and such.  We may not be able to keep up with demand with this plan, so you may see some more guest drafts in our taproom than you would with Plan A in order for us to fill the gaps. 

  • The point of this plan is to prove that our plan and numbers are solid and to expand to Plan A within 1-2 years.

  • Our beer garden will start out slightly smaller with Plan B, but it will be growing constantly.

So, this is where we are.  We will be in Alexandria soon.  We have been working with the city and they are excited to have us be a part of the community.  Backing our Kickstarter will help us with the challenges we may face when it comes to zoning.  To be clear, the Kickstarter is more about showing City Council that the community is behind us and wants us in Alexandria.  We have to do either two things to combat the zoning challenges we face.  Those are change the law based on production size or convince the planning committee to give us a permit to use the land for brewing purposes.  When I say "challenges," they aren't a high mountain for us to climb.  We have the city's support.  It just becomes easier when we have a community behind us.

Anyway, if you made it this far, thank you for giving this a read.  We appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you in our taproom.  If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments below or message us by clicking on the “Contact Us” tab. 

Cheers,

Andy Reynolds