Put This in Your Pipe and Pipe It: My Day at Czig Meister Brewing


Last Tuesday, the 29th, I volunteered my time (and a talent unbeknownst to me) to helping a new friend do work on his soon-to-be-open brewery.  Matt Czigler, a young, successful professional brewer, has made his dream a reality.  In the 9,000 sq. ft. space which used to be an old auto-repair bay in the center of Hackettstown NJ, his brewery comes together, piece by piece.  My piece in all this involved helping him cut hundreds of feet of pipe to be used in shelving to be installed behind the tasting bar.  Now, the few of you who know me in real life, know I’m not the most industrially-skilled individual.  But, within minutes, Matt instructed me on the procedure, and away we went.  An hour in, I was running the machine like a pro.  For those unfamiliar with the process, this machine holds the pipe and spins it as you use a clamp-like device to cut to desired length, then a second piece (which I’m seen holding) lathes the end to produce the threads in which to screw in an elbow or tee-joint.  The bucket below is filled with oil and the filings, the gun applies the oil to the lathed end to keep it from smoking from all the heat and friction.

It was a relatively straightforward affair, except for the times I had to remind Matt what stage we were on as attention was diverted by phone calls from officials, contractors, friends, and family.  More than once people stopped in to say hello and take in the progress, all of them excited to see Matt’s vision transform into reality.

He now has his fermentation tanks in, and if all goes well, will start brewing on April 9th and open by the end of the month.  I had the privilege of sampling his beer he plans on brewing on the large scale.  Tasty stuff, I might add.

I had so much fun working with my hands and volunteering my time, no doubt I’ll have pictures up of your favorite beer blogger next Wednesday.

Is MillerCoors Bullet Proof?: Misleading Ads from Golden, CO

I’m not usually prone to producing op-ed pieces, but upon initially reading the title of this article, my knee-jerk reaction was “good, a macro beer producer is taking flak for false advertising.”  I’ve always been of the idea that you should live your life via a moral and ethical standard (mine stemming from my faith as a Christian).  Therefore, tell the truth.  Deception gets complicated and messy.  I also believe consumers have the right to know the truth, or at least access to it.  Maybe the majority of Americans want to be spoon-fed, not me.  I don’t mind doing a little digging.

That said, someone trying to take MillerCoors to court because they felt mislead about the production of their calorie-friendly lager needs to grow up.  We live in the most sue-friendly society to date, and I find it low-brow to try and receive remuneration in this fashion (isn’t that usually the case?).  I also believe that any judge giving serious thought to hearing this case is a few cans short of a six pack.  In the age of voice-activated Siri searches on smartphones and “google” being an accepted verb in common vernacular, information is at one’s fingertips.  If someone has ever wondered where their favorite products come from, all one has to do is search.  People, the Guinness we’ll drink in a few weeks doesn’t even come from Ireland!  It’s from Canada.  That search took me roughly 3 seconds.

I’m curious about the motivations of the lawyer taking this case—and offhandedly—whether they drink MillerCoors products (or if they even drink beer… or humorously enough… craft beer).  Are they just trying to make a point about company practices and misleading ads, or rather trying to brew up some publicity for the firm?

I blame each party for a different reason.

Some might raise the point that it’s time consuming and very difficult to be aware of the nature of all our favorite products.  Yes, I agree with you.  But, it would make me pause when seeing a sale sign for a 24-pack of Coors Lite for ~$15 in a Florida Walmart if that beer is really, exclusively produced in Golden.

And besides, that’s ~63 cents a can, whereas craft six packs are anywhere from ~$1.50-$2.00 a can/bottle, and often, much more.  And guess what, we pay it (more often than not) and know where it comes from, who owns it, and whether or not they’ve been bought out by AB Inbev, SABMiller, remain independent, or have joined forces with another craft brewery.  Some continue to drink it when they learn the truth, others like me, do not.

It’s your decision, but if you feel the need to know where your cherished brands come from, don’t be surprised when you learn the truth.

The silver lining to all this?  Companies might take a proactive approach to being honest with their customer base, in the hopes that the disclosure and transparency will garner the respect of consumers.