13 Oct Utepils’ Huge Change in Direction
What’s bigger than a pivot? A revolution perhaps? I think that’s the right word. One meaning is a massive overturning or change and the other implies a regular path of changes returning to the starting point. Both fit Utepils at this moment.
Just as the earth revolves on its regular path around the sun, the seasons occur and we look forward to the next set of traditions. As the supplies of Receptional Fest Bier dwindle, the dirndls and lederhosen get safely packed away, and the last tents of Oktoberfest parties come down. We can now anticipate the beers and parties of winter. As we savor our last steins of Fest Bier, at Utepils we know Eric & his team have Loonar Eclipse, Minnator, and the new Decision Fatigue in the tanks. That seasonal rhythm of brewing has us ready. We’re ready to enjoy Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and the other holidays of winter. It’s both reassuring and exciting.
The other revolution – a massive overturning or change is one we are thinking of as we approach winter as hardy Minnesotans (and yes, Wisconsinites, and some North Dakotans). We’re ready for the transformation of our summer green to winter white. Yet, it also includes the reality that COVID is not done with us and many changes to our behavior, economics, and our psyches have not fully played out.
COVID changed our social gatherings and with that our way of consuming beer. Thank goodness it didn’t change our thirst for social gatherings and delicious beer, just how we do it.
At Utepils we recognized this early and pivoted from filling kegs to putting almost all beer into 16 oz cans for sale at liquor stores. While we’ve seen the slow return of bars and restaurants, beer sales continue to reflect less consumption at bars & restaurants and more at private gatherings. Finding 16oz cans has been a showcase of supply chain issues. Joyously we took delivery on a semi-trailer load of Helles cans recently yet are keenly aware we had ordered them last Thanksgiving. Normally an order like that would have been 6-12 weeks.
To ensure you could count on finding your favorite Utepils beers when you hit the store, we committed to a small revolution in our packaging last summer.
Starting in November, look for a transformation in what you see and what grab to bring home. Inside is still the same indescribably good beer. Outside instead of hard to recycle plastic carriers, you will gradually see our cans in visually bold cardboard – easy to recycle.
With our new packaging machinery, we also saw the opportunity to fill a gap in liquor stores; twelve packs of delicious easy drinking beers in 12 oz cans. Now you have a chance to grab a twelve pack of Skolsch for that tailgating party.
Minnesota craft breweries have to an unusual degree jumped on the 16oz can. While it’s my favorite for many practical business reasons and I like a big glass of beer, for many people they prefer grabbing a 12 oz can. Who are we to deny them? In most places we travel craft beer is pretty evenly available in both sizes, yet here, craft 12 packs have been dominated by the largest non-MN craft brewers. Utepils is aiming to be that Minnesota brewed craft 12 pack!
New look, new package, new size, let’s also sneak in a new beer in the 12oz Mix pack. One more result of COVID is that many of us are tired. Too tired to make decision after decision. Our new beer reflects that feeling – It’s literally called Decision Fatigue. That name bounced around our beer naming meetings for years…because contrary to popular belief, beer naming is the worst part of brewing a new beer. Sure, it’s fun around the campfire or bar table, but when its for real with trademark issues, alternative meanings of words, differing opinions….blah blah blah we kept getting Decision Fatigue. Now you can too.
Revolutions need a central point just as our orbit around the sun. At Utepils, our guiding point to any change is our commitment to create delicious traditional styled beers that have stood the test of time and have persisted through many dramatic cultural changes. The constant is our human desire to gather with friends & family to tell stories, to drink our favorite beverages and dream of a future with more of the same.
Thank you for supporting Utepils, being our fans and advocates, and for saying with your actions and words you get and appreciate what we’re trying to do.
Dan & Deb Justesen