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Oct 21, 2014

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GABF brewers' diaries

Brian Dunn

Great Divide Brewing - Sept. 22

This week will be pretty busy for us at the brewery. Lots of visits. The folks that supply our malt, hops, packaging materials, point of sale materials, tap handles, kegs, etc. generally are in town for GABF. They can see a lot of brewers from all over the US over the three or four days of the festival and they get a lot done. They also like to stop it the local breweries to check in. "How's the year going?" ... "Buy more stuff from us," etc. Our suppliers don't change much, so we've known most of them for 8 or 9 years.

Visiting out-of-town brewers need something to do during the day between the GABF sessions. They can stay in the hotel and sleep it off, or cruise around breweries and keep it going. We get quite a few brewers stopping by the brewery and taking a look around and tasting beers. It's always great to find out how people are tackling the same problems that we have. We get great ideas from visiting brewers. We don't have a designated tour guide, whoever's got the time when someone walks in does it. We schedule a pretty light production week so that we're not so slammed we don't have the time to show people around. Anyone in the business gets the "good guy" tour. Tours always take some time, but you just have to give another brewer a good tour.

As a brewery, we're a pretty clean place, but it's still manufacturing. Lots of grain, boxes, glass, pallets, hoses, and the forklift running around. We spend a little extra time spiffing the place up before the week's tours, visits and party. Maybe we go overboard. A couple of years ago a brewer who we knew from Boulder who since moved to Washington claimed he wanted his yet unidentified wife to have their yet unconcieved first child in the brewery because it was cleaner than any hospital he'd been in. He'd had a few beers by that point though.

Our media smooze fest is this Thursday. Mary, our Comptroller/Office Manager is the party planner. She's got the whole thing dialed in and it'll go smooth. We'll see a lot of folks during this week that we see only once a year. Obviously, the national beer scribes all come to Denver for GABF (do you blame them?). We see quite a few here at the brewery for the get together and the rest throughout the week around town. We've known a bunch of them for 8 or 9 years and it's always good seeing them again. Five years ago we had our one-year old twin boys here for the media gathering ... so we get lots of "how are the kids?" and "Working on the bottling line yet?" Jeeze, they're only six. We did get a picture that year of Michael Jackson pushing our grinning kids in a double-wide stroller. That picture is a keeper.

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