Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Brewers Association releases Top 50 list

Here's the list, fresh from today's Brewers Association release. The ranking is based on 2012 beer sales volume.

The new name is Rinn Duin

Rinn Duin is now the name for the brewery being built along Route 37 West in Toms River. 

The company announced the name change via email on Saturday after encountering a trademark conflict with Blackthorn Cider.

Owner Chip Town says they knew about the English cider company but did not think there would be a conflict because of the differences between the beverages. 

The matter bubbled up when logo work was being done last month. While in Washington, D.C., for the Craft Brewers Conference, Chip and daughter Jacqui ran the problem by some trademark attorneys doing conference seminars.

"They told me I was dead in the water," he says. "Cider, for trademark issues, is on the same level as wine, beer, spirits ... (It's) is all first-level conflict as far as trademarks go."

(Name overlaps do happen: Climax Brewing in Roselle Park, incorporated in 1994 and launched in 1996, uses Climax in the name of all of its ales. California's Eel River Brewing made a now-retired  lager called Climax California Classic around the same time.) 

Chip says they're not thrilled about having to walk away from the Blackthorn Brewing name, but they're relieved the issue didn't happen after product had already gone out the brewery door. 

The new name comes from a brew that will be among the company's planned lineup of English and Irish ales. 

"Rinn Duin was going to be the name of our red ale. It's the name of my mothers ancestral home in Ireland, Castle Rinn Duin," he says. "It certainly has a tremendous connection to us. It was just the logical choice for us to make the name change to."

The new logo will use the same typeface as their former and will feature a line drawing of the ruins of Castle Rinn Duin, which is located in County Roscommon in Ireland.

Meanwhile, the brewery buildout is moving along, and the company continues to pilot their recipes.

"The (taproom) bar started going in yesterday. The floor is down; it's all Sheetrocked. It's starting to look good," Chip says.

Work goes on for new Flying Fish tasting room

You'll have to use your imagination for now, but at some point – around June – the construction work shown here will have transformed into a nicely appointed bar with 10 taps pouring Flying Fish beers for folks who visit the brewery's tasting room.

Flying Fish has been brewing in the new Somerdale location for a while now. But there are still some finishing touches being done to the brewery.

The tasting room is part of that; it's been under construction for a few weeks now. (There are also some new tanks coming.)

Something to note about tasting rooms: The Brewers Association mentioned last month in its state-of-the-industry presentation at the Craft Beer Conference that there's an uptick in sales out of breweries' tasting rooms. 

Here in New Jersey, last fall's change in the laws that governor craft brewing elevated the importance of tasting rooms for production brewers, creating the opportunity for a much more viable revenue stream.

Tasting rooms have always provided a good way to talk to the beer-drinking public.

But the difference now is, brewers don't have keep telling tour guests, "No, we can't serve you more than a sample" … "No, we can't sell you a case" … or "No, we can't sell you a keg." 

Beer enthusiasts can now get all of those things in a more accommodating visit that's not just about a sip of beer and buying T-shirts and glassware. And brewers can more effectively use their tasting rooms to launch new beers or hold events tabbed to whatever theme they can think of. (Not that they hadn't been doing that, but now the experience can be fuller and more satisfying to tour guests. )

EDITOR'S NOTE: The bottom photo is a shot from head brewer Casey Hughes' office overlooking the brewhouse and packaging areas.