This summer the Oklahoma legislature passed SB 424. This simple little law has already had profound effect on us. SB 424 finally allowed breweries to sell beer from their taprooms. To many across the world buying and drinking a beer at the point of production is taken for granted. I can assure that it was not in Oklahoma. Collectively brewers had been pushing for this privilege for years. Lead by Marshall Brewing the movement started in earnest a few years back when brewers were allowed to give away free samples. Prior to that even sampling beers at our brewery was illegal. These were the times of baby steps. The passage of SB 424 was almost surreal. Even though I was closely involved in the process I never fully realized the implications. I mean, I knew that it was going to create a new opportunities (our OKC brewery) but they were undefined, faceless ideas. I had no idea that one of those opportunities would be a cold, damp December morning in Krebs. I had no idea how fun and rewarding they would be.
Creating beer and running a brewery can be a hard, cold process. Sometimes equipment does not work, other times a beer does not ferment as we expect, and worse of all sometimes people simply reject your vision for a beer. Taking disparate ingredients and melding them into a memorable, loveable beer is inherently challenging. The process requires all of you. It takes all your ideas, and skills, and emotions and pours them into the beer. In that way it is a very visceral and personal thing. These beers are an extension of us. Sharing that work with others is the ultimate test. Will people like it? Will they respond to our work? It can be freighting.
Before 424 most of this happened in a very detached setting. We would make beer and ship it all over the world. The hard work, the struggle to crate the beer, the joy it created (and sometimes the disappointment) were all very far removed from each other. It is an incredibly long feedback loop with little direct interaction between the two worlds. Some people made beer. Others people drank it. Sometimes they talked to each other on Facebook.
424 brought those two worlds together on a cold, damp Krebs morning in December. Fans from far away gathered for the release of Barrel Aged Christmas Bomb and Sherry Barrel Noir as our entire team assembled to pull the release off. It was jovial day of conversation, of community around the beer. When beer is done right it brings people together in way that established community and friendships. As a fourth generation brewer, in a tiny town in Southeastern Oklahoma it makes me especially proud that it was happening here. It gives even more purpose and meaning to those frustratingly long days and struggles to bring your vision to light.
Over the next few months we plan to continue hosting Krebs bottle releases, private parties, and our beer brunch series. At the same time we will be working to open the OKC brewery and continuing to innovate at the Tulsa Brewpub. We intended to use our beer to foster community, friendship, and culture in all of these places. I look forward to seeing all of you there.