Aeronaut Brewing Co. Is Shaking Up ‘The Norm’
Ever wish you didn’t have to stand in long lines outside a brewery braving the elements for hours on end in order to snag the limited release of (insert brewery name)’s nothing-short-of-a-miracle-in-your-mouth, juicy NEIPA? I mean, we all have better things to do with our limited time here on earth. Standing in line, fidgeting around, with sometimes no cell phone reception… Ugh! Or better yet, with a dying mobile phone battery because you drained it entertaining yourself on Instagram reading all the posts about this beer release and the 50 million people that haven’t arrived yet asking if there is a long line.
Other than meeting some really cool people that love craft beer just as hard as you do and potentially sharing a few brews while in line, the seemingly endless waiting is a pain. Why isn’t there a better system? Yeah. We know some breweries have attempted to alleviate the amount of time their customers stand in line. For instance, implementing a deli order type system where you get a number or order form with a number so you can meander around the brewery exploring things while waiting for your number to be called. Other breweries open early and have multiple checkout stations to move folks through quickly. But there’s still a long ass line if the beer is incredible or if the beer was created by hyped brewery. We’ve even seen the long line of empty foldup chairs at Tired Hands Brewing Co. now commonly referred to as Chairgate. A number of beer mules, beer hunters and Tired Hands junkies (we fall into 2 of these 3 categories) show up at noon to set their chair at the end of the line and come back at 4:30pm or whenever the beer release drops. In the meantime, some of the people waiting for the release head into the taproom to enjoy an afternoon of day drinking and consuming good eats. But not all breweries have their taprooms open prior to the special beer release time. Grrr! Why can’t anyone come up with a better process?!
Well, we’re here to tell you a little story about how one brewery is doing something simply genius. Aeronaut Brewing Co. in Somerville, Massachusetts is tackling the beer release “waiting” problem. And, it’s working.
Aeronaut Brewing Company’s Pre-Sale Beer Release Process
Aeronaut Brewing Co. released their 1st batch of Double Hop Hop DIPA in July this summer. All those juicy NEIPA fans knew by the description that this release was going to be something special. Mosaic and Citra hops? Check. Hazy, juice bomb? Check. Multiple rounds of “hopping?” Check. In a 16 oz can? Check. And, folks snatched up the double IPA in droves at the brewery on release day – the beer had been canned the day before. Fresh is best!
Some beer hunters were even waiting at various bottle shops in the Boston area for the limited supply of 4 packs to arrive. I alerted a friend about the release who just so happened to be beercationing in Boston. Just a few minutes after my text was received, in came the delivery of Aeronaut Double Hop Hop at the very bottle shop they were shopping in. The cans didn’t even make it to the shelves. Those beer hunters inside the shop, including my friends, were able to snag their allotment right as the cases of cans were set down on the front counter of the store ready for purchase. And, just like that, in minutes, it was gone. All gone. Every last 4 pack.
The good news… 1 of those 4 packs had our name on it (Thank you, Kristen!). And, it was amazing. Everything we had hoped it would be. Mango, pineapple, papaya and grass flavor notes with a slight salinity and a mellow, smooth mouthfeel. Turned out that we weren’t the only ones raving about this beer. The clamor was tremendous and Aeronaut started on Batch 2. Eeeek!
But what we didn’t expect with Batch 2 was a complete change in HOW the beer could be obtained. We’re on the Aeronaut Brewing Co. emailing list so we’re always in the know. The email that arrived in our inbox was a complete game changer…
Wait?! What? Did I read that right? It appeared that anyone could buy their cans of Double Hop Hop batch 2 right from the convenience of their mobile device or computer. That can’t be right! I read the email again looking for the catch. But there was no catch. I clicked on the “reserve cans online” link to see how this was being done. And, boom. An Eventbrite page launched re-iterating the details and a button to purchase a ticket (aka your golden ticket to reserve your beer).
We’ve been using Eventbrite for years now to purchase tickets to special events like concerts, beer fests, etc. We never considered that we might be able to reserve beers with it. Cool! But we wondered if folks would be leery to purchase their beer in advance or if it was going be an instant success. So we reached out to Aaron Sullivan, Communications Director at Aeronaut Brewing Co. to get the scoop and to talk all things Double Hop Hop. Turns out they’re doing more innovative ‘process things’ that other breweries should also take note of!
How did you know Double Hop Hop DIPA would be popular enough that you decided to take it to the next level with a full-on can release?
Aaron: This beer is the direct product of our prototyping program in which we brew single barrels of experimental beers – many of which use our house-cultured yeast from AERONAUT LABS. Then we solicit feedback on those beers from customers via “Feedback Flights” available in our Somerville tap room. In March 2017, we released P171 for feedback and realized we should probably start canning it… like yesterday. Here are just a few examples of the comments we received for P171 (aka Double Hop Hop DIPA) from our Feedback Flight sessions:
We also collected feedback from people who tried P171 in our tap room (some wrote their praise on our beer menus) and we pulled comments about the beer from Untappd.
Plus, we drink a lot of beer around here and everyone agreed that this beer was a clear winner for us. It’s juicy and fits perfectly in with the kind of NEIPA that we wanted to create. Hats off to our awesome brew team for crushing it with this beer!
What changed from Batch #1 to Batch #2 of Double Hop Hop?
Aaron: As far as the recipe is concerned, nothing changed from batch 1 to batch 2.
How much Double Hop Hop was produced this time around?
Aaron: We brewed and canned around 200 cases—way more than the first batch!
How did you come up with the new process for releasing cans by pre-order method?
Aaron: We hate lines. That might seem like a hypocritical thing for us to say given our limited tap room capacity. So we thought it would be cool to figure out how to release this beer that would eliminate lines and get the freshest product to our fans right off the canning line. We’ve used Eventbrite and Facebook events for countless other events and thought it could work for a beer release, too.
Did the cans sell out through pre-ordering?
Aaron: Yes! Look for an increase on pre-order can releases over the next few months!
Will you be producing more Double Hop Hop on a regular basis?
Aaron: This beer is TOO good to leave off the brewing schedule all together. But I doubt it becomes a staple of the menu, considering how many other beers we want to release! We’re limited to an 8.5 barrel brewing system (…for now) and are maxed out on how much beer we can make.
Stay In The Know About All Thing Aeronaut
It’s not rocket science! Standing in line for beer is soooo not cool. You have better things to do with your life. Just sign up already and get eblasts about Aeronaut’s upcoming pre-order beer releases. There’s even a separate email list signup for those who want to be a part of the feedback flight sessions. Note that the sessions require you to do the taste testing at their brewery in Somerville, Massachusetts.