2014: Our Year in Recap
If you’ve been keeping up with us, you probably know by now that last year was a truly one for the books for the Jackie O’s team.
We extended our efforts to 25 Campbell Street in 2013, allowing us to begin 2014 at our new Taproom and production facility expansion, which has met great success. An effort that started with four fermenters evolved over the year, nearly doubling our brewing capabilities throughout 2014. We were able to bottle eleven unique 375ml beers—many of them barrel-aged!
Jackie O’s upgraded to a new, highly-automated Cask canning line that we installed in August, which allows us to can our four core beers with greater efficiency and produce a better finished product. We can now package around 40 barrels of beer in a single shift, if not more. The new silo installed in front of the Taproom allows us to store 50,000 lb of grain on-site and grain automation is just around the corner.
We’ve had a great year online and in the media, as well! Bourbon Barrel Black Maple was rated #1 beer in the state of Ohio via Beer Advocate in 2014, an achievement we are so proud of. We are happy to have to have shared the spotlight with Eric Bean and our friends at Columbus Brewing Company, who’s Bodhi DIPA also rocked the charts this year.
Jackie O’s participated in dozens of tap takeovers across Ohio and our beer was featured at events across the country throughout 2014. Brewmaster Brad Clark was recently profiled by Brewer’s Association, a feature that shed light on his brewing background and the passion that makes his style so unique, and three of our beers were also featured in the January edition of BeerAdvocate magazine!
Through our distributor, Caviler, we were also able to expand our distribution efforts across the state and hope to reach even more folks in 2015. You can always find the closest retailer or bar with Jackie O’s through BeerFinder.
Following the November fire that destroyed our Public House kitchen, the Jackie O’s family received an overwhelming amount of support. With a heavy heart, we were forced to layoff a large percentage of our Brewpub staff, only to sit back and watch as the Athens community and friends around the world raised almost $70,000 dollars for Union Street employees affected by the fire via GoFundMe and other amazing supports in music and beer communities across the country. Bars and breweries around the state showed solidarity, some donating $1 per pour towards the fund, others donating a portion of all Jackie O’s beer sold on a given night. Long-time Jackie O’s enthusiast Josh Stevens even raffled off a full set of every bottle of Bourbon County releases from 2005-2013, raising $8,200 for the employee fund! A simple thank you can’t even describe how much gratitude we have, but it bears repeating—thank you, thank you, thank you.
Thanks to the firefighters from six surrounding communities, the fire was stopped just before taking out the Public House roof, which allowed the Brewpub to open just three days after the blaze. We’ve since reinstated the (nearly) full food menu you know and love, including specialty pizzas and burgers, available every day until 9:30pm. The Public House is open for music events on weekends and we continue to work towards reinstating our regular hours, however the most-asked question of 2014 is unanswered: we’re not exactly sure when that will be. Stay tuned.
Just weeks after the fire, we ended 2014 with a bang at our 9th anniversary Bottle Release Extravaganza. People from over ten states flooded Athens to take home a few rare bottles of beers like Chardonnay Opulence, Poire, and Rubus Rojo, lining up outside of the Public House (first time the doors opened after the fire, actually!) as early as at 8am. Over 44 Jackie O’s beers—our staples and super special beers, brewed just for the event—were featured on draft. The event was the debut of our newest line of merchandise, which is now on sale at the Taproom and will be available via the Jackie O’s website in months to come.
We’re looking forward to 2015. Early this year, we will continue to expand by adding an addition to the production facility that will allow us the space to triple production. We’re getting settled in to our new barrel aging space, which allows us to store over three hundred barrels (mostly bourbon) specifically for crafting specialty aged brews, so get ready! 2015 will be a great year for Jackie O’s fans who enjoy sours, too—expect some great things. We’ll be releasing new products, will be appearing at Boston’s Extreme Beer Fest in March and the Copenhagen Beer Celebration in Denmark, and continuing tap takeovers across the great state of Ohio, just to name a few.
We love what we do and plan to keep doing it, bigger and better. Jackie O’s success is only possible because of you: the impossibly awesome people drinking our beer. Thanks for all you do. In return, we promise to keep innovative, delicious beers coming your way. Cheers.