Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Visitor numbers are up this month.

There was an event recently that made me call into question whether some of our more well-worn clichés can be trusted. The cliché in question being; "they couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery", I'm having this new found self-doubt after we organised said piss-up, in our brewery, and found it not quite the simple and straight-forward enterprise that it's made out to be. In fact, it takes quite a lot of planning and organisation.

A career in McDonald's awaits...
The invitees were the good people at Irish Craft Brewer (soon to be Beoir), a group that to whom beer is anything but small beer. Unless it is literal small beer, and then they'll undoubtedly be able to tell you the very definition of small beer. In short, they are the folks that know their beer. Anyway, we'd put up an open invite on the ICB website and organised a bus from Dublin to bring everyone in. So we were heartened to see that when the day rolled round that there was a healthy list of people interested in coming along. It was also nice that the rain stayed away, no means a certainty in mid-summer in Ireland, I was working off the theory that Irish people using barbecues angers the rain gods and they seek retribution upon us with a damp sodden summer for affronting them. Hence I disguised our barbecue as a tumble-dryer until the last possible moment, and it seems to have worked and the sun shone.

Interspersed between the ICB crowd, we snuck in sneakily a few members of The Mill Trouble Brewing Appreciation Society, to give them their full makey-uppy title. Who get their moniker by manfully keeping the craft beer tradition alive in The Red Windmill (i.e. our drinkin' buddies). Obviously they're not to be trusted with the serious business of brewery tours, by breaking out a game of footie in the field nearby, instead of picking our brains about brewery operations and such. Most uncouth behaviour.

As to the day itself, our idea was that if we opened the brewery bar for people to help themselves (a Trouble Brewing version of the gimmicky pour-your-own-pint tables), filled the barbecue with burgers and hot-dogs then most likely a good day would be had by all. The barbecue however wasn't self-service, and I spent the first half of the day being manly and cooking meat outdoors, but in a safe controlled environment as nature intended. Though much of the credit must go to Kathryn and Mairead who pretty much did all the real work of preparing the non-meaty goodness part of the spread. Though I think Homer Simpson put it best when, through the medium of song, he opined "you don't win friends with salad..." Sorry ladies.

The cute furry kitten, the only one not on the beer
After the wonderful, delicious and beautifully cooked food was eaten, the crowd reassembled at the brewery to top-up their pint glasses and have a look around. There was also the opportunity to fuss over another attendee that was not officially invited, a cute furry kitten that had decided that it wanted in on this brewery tour business. It was about this time that Thom and Stephen, mainly to distract from the show-stealing cute furry kitten, mounted the platform to thank everyone for coming and announce that Trouble Brewing would shortly hold a competition on ICB whereby people could submit their own beer and the best would be brewed as a once off for the round of festivals next summer. Thom also gave a overview of the brewery set-up, but I think in his heart he knew already that it was a little redundant, as I suspect he knew all in attendance were already well up to speed with their brewery knowledge.

So after a few more drinks, a few photo opportunities and some time for a chat, the bus arrived back for pick-up, we emptied the brewery and filled the bus and headed back to L. Mulligan to relax with a few more beers. We left Thom behind to take care of mundane brewery duties in preparation for brewing the following day and Mairead to take care of the cute furry kitten that she had only moments earlier adopted.
The obligatory team photo, from L to R we have...
So until next time, assuming I can indeed fight my way out of a human-size wet paper bag, which after the experience of recent events, is no way certain.