It’s time to predict the future of WBC and craft beer! Well, we wish it was just that easy to do. Some guy named Teddy Roosevelt said “I believe that the more you know about the past, the better you are prepared for the future”. That being said, we are going to look back at what happened in 2016 first.
Shortly after the start of 2016, in early March, we wrapped up construction on our 18,000 square foot warehouse and fired up our newly acquired brew house. The brewing equipment came from a well known brewery just a short couple hours north of us, Tallgrass Brewing Company. We purchased everything they used to make beer except their canning line. Our brewing friends from El Dorado, Walnut River Brewing Co., purchased that piece of equipment. Tallgrass moved to a bigger building with bigger equipment. Excited, anxious, and nervous we began our journey of producing beer for the purpose of being canned and distributed. We started with three house beers, one seasonal, and one high gravity; WBC Wheat, Valleyview Vanilla Porter, V6 IPA, What Winter? Ale, and Seal Team 6 Black IPA. These five beers are distributed throughout the State of Kansas by our various wholesalers in the Kansas Craft Alliance.
Armed with a little more knowledge and experience, we started to expand our distribution footprint. We head north and west to the Hutchinson and Salina markets. By now we have canned our next round of a seasonal and high gravity, BerLemonEr and Mass Hysteria Rye. Shortly after getting those markets opened, we opened the rest of Kansas. We travel throughout Kansas doing many liquor store samplings, beer events, and tap takeovers with the mission of talking to people about our beer and our story. As our beer travels farther away from Wichita, we find that we need to take advantage of those moments of telling our story when they present themselves.
We end the summer and begin the fall with canning two brewpub favorites, Yumkin Pumpkin and V12 Imperial IPA. Then we add a couple new beers to our lineup, 5:02 Amber and Catherine III. 5:02 Amber is a year round offering and Catherine III is a big barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout that is a one off brand. After all that took place in a short but long 2016, what will 2017 have in store for us?
Now that we know a little about our past, we can start looking to the future. We start 2017 with 7 different offerings available in cans, WBC Wheat, Valleyview Vanilla Porter, V6 IPA, 5:02 Amber, What Winter? Ale, Seal Team 6 Black IPA, and Catherine III RIS. Not a bad lineup, huh? Get ready for two more brands to hit the market early this year, our first lager and first barrel-aged sour. The lager is going to be a Bohemian Pilsner that doesn’t quite have a name yet. We have some ideas on the name though. This will be will be featured and Lawrence Dumont Stadium, as we are a 2017 Wingnuts sponsor. Go Nuts! We are looking to release this beer in early April. Our next new brand release will be a barrel-aged sour, Scicilia. We have three different sours aging at this moment. One kind of sour is aging in a 60 barrel foeder and then two different kinds in wine barrels. We have been sampling different types of blends for the last two months to figure out the first release. This beer is set to be released in early 2017.
As we distribute deeper into Kansas, we now begin to look outside our borders to sell our beer. We have been researching bordering states and what it takes to distribute beyond Kansas. We have to ask ourselves a lot of tough questions when it comes to selling beer far away from home. What will differentiate us and our beer from the over five thousand other breweries? What can we do better to make people want our beer over their local beer? Do we have what it takes to succeed in an ever growing and changing industry? Honestly, only time will tell what the future holds for WBC in 2017. The most we can do is be prepared for anything and everything as it comes our way. In the meantime, we continue to strive to get better at our craft every day. Cheers!
Wichita Brewing Company