With the end of 2015 approaching, it feels more like we built a time machine than a brewery. The last two and a half years have been nothing short of mind-blowing, and it’s probably a good idea at this point to take a few moments to look back at some of the staggering feats of brewing, engineering, event planning, and general badassery that our team was able to accomplish over the last twelve months.
Discriminating Modern Times fans bought 16,000bbls of our obscenely delicious beer in 2015, absolutely crushing last year’s mark of 6,500bbls. Per the Brewers Association, we have officially gone from being a 'microbrewery' to a 'regional craft brewery.' Nifty! We also expanded our distribution into San Francisco and Bakersfield this year, where we were warmly received by the beer loving locals, whose tremendous support has warmed the cockles of our collective heart.
Modern Times’ roster of brilliant and infinitely capable team members more than doubled this year, as we amassed a terrifying arsenal of talent for next year’s all-out assault on your tastebuds. New hires included sales reps, a coffee production assistant, cellar assistant, production manager, packaging manager, expansion manager, administrative assistant, people operations coordinator, packaging specialist, barrel program assistant, and many more. We also rolled out some radical employee benefits to reward our badass team and hopefully help set progressive new standards in the craft beer industry, including a $14/hr minimum wage, dental, vision, chiropractic, acupuncture 401(k), unlimited paid time off, transportation credits, and a two-month paid sabbatical and eligibility for equity distribution at 5 years. On top of that we offer awesome beer and gear perks and as much free fruit, coffee and kombucha as you can put in your face. Full list here: http://bit.ly/1NqXzAa
This year we added 8,000 square feet to the existing Lomaland Fermentorium, including a packaging hall and gorgeous new (and desperately needed) office space. We also added another 4,000 square feet of storage across the alley and 4,500 square feet at our barrel warehouse, which brings us to a grand total of over 30,000 square feet! We also brought in a ton of new equipment, adding 3 more 120bbl tanks, a new canning line, a 55,000 lb. grain silo, mash mixer, whirlpool, and countless other key pieces of production equipment which will allow us to produce more year-round releases as well as facilitate a considerable increase in our special release and barrel programs. On top of all that, we recently broke ground on a $2.75 million expansion that will double our capacity immediately and set the stage for another massive increase in 2017.
Monthly 22-Ounce Releases
Our first year of monthly bomber releases went shockingly well, providing a format for us to indulge our creative impulses and explore some new and extremely exciting flavor profiles. City of the Dead, our groundbreaking stout brewed with barrel-aged coffee, was a definite highlight for us, as was Mega Black House, Fortunate Islands w/ grapefruit zest, Protocosmos, Fruitlands, Black House w/ coconut & cocoa nibs, and the current tropical madness of Mega Fortunate Islands.
We added quarterly rotating seasonal cans to our line-up this year, allowing us to bring you four distinctly awesome, hoppy offerings throughout 2015. From the Citra dopealiciousness of Booming Rollers, to the fruit-forward crushability of Oneida, to the spicy rye radness of Aurora, and the current tropical fruit ba-bomb that is City of the Sun, our seasonals are all utterly unique and delicious hoppy offerings. We couldn't be more proud of these puppies; expect more of all four next year.
Whales, bro. We dropped some serious sauce in 2015, including Funky Lomaland Aged in Red Wine Barrels, Bourbon Barrel-Aged Monsters’ Park (plus coffee & coconut/cocoa nib variants) Caribbean & Nicaraguan Rum Barrel-Aged Monsters' Park (plus vanilla bean, coconut & cocoa nib, & rum barrel-aged coffee variants), Devil's Teeth Aged in Mezcal Barrels, Funky Universal Friend (Pinot grigio & Pinot noir editions), Mostly Brett Dancing Plague, and--most recently--five incredible white wine barrel-aged sours. All in all, our barrel program is shaping up to be ridiculously awesome, but as usual, we feel like the best is yet to come. Expect an absolutely insane line-up in 2016.
The League Of Partygoers & Elegant People
2015 saw the long-awaited return of the Modern Times League of Partygoers and Elegant People, our painfully chic membership club offering a staggering assortment of exclusive barrel-aged and specialty beers, pre-sale opportunities, sexy merchandise (including a special, League challenge coin that pretty much knocked our socks off upon seeing the finished product), and swanky event privileges. The original 2013 memberships were only available to our incredibly gracious Kickstarter backers, and thanks to their support we’ve been able to expand our specialty and barrel-aged line-up enough to add 400 new acolytes to our not-so-secret society. Having just hosted the inaugural League welcome party, we can confidently say that we’re off to a roaring start with this thing, and plan on making it even crazier next year. Cheers to our new League members for joining and for being super chill to hang with at the party.
New Mixed Packs
We released mixed 20-packs this year, featuring all four of our year-round offerings and a bonus, rotating seasonal can, all nestled in an impossibly stylish box. This magical mélange is currently available at various locations of a certain bulk-purchase big box store throughout Southern California (we’re not allowed to say the name, but think membership cards, buckets of red licorice, and $1.50 hot dogs).
Modern Times Events
After this year, we think it’s safe to say that there can be no question about Modern Times’ commitment to partying. There was an outrageous abundance of good times to be had, both at the Lomaland Fermentorium and around the state. The Modern Times Festival of Dankness, our first of what will soon be four yearly festivals, opened with a serious bang, with over 1,000 attendees, 37 breweries pouring a stunning array of irrationally tasty beers, and $10,000 donated to BikeSD. Our third installment of Black House Black Friday enjoyed a triumphant return, and the Modern Times Hella Tight Bay Area Beersplosion brought some of SF's best young gunz to San Diego. 2016’s schedule of beer-soaked shenanigans is currently in the works, and will be posted here soon. Prepare to be brain-melted.
SoCal's ubiquitous West Coaster Magazine asked its readers to pick their favorite brewery of 2015, and it turns out San Diego is seriously feeling the dankness. Winning "Brewery of the Year" from West Coaster thanks to our local fans was a killer follow up to being named one of the "Top 10 New Brewers in the World" by RateBeer's diverse international audience for 2013. While we certainly don't live for the accolades, it's always nice to get a scratch-and-sniff sticker on your spelling test.
Our coffee program grew enormously in 2015. We constructed a beautiful specialty roasting area within our Point Loma tasting room, featuring a stunning custom Giesen roaster, a world class piece of equipment we never dreamed would be within our grasp. We took on the extremely ambitious task of introducing four seasonal blends, furthering our mission to prove that blending can produce incredible flavor profiles greater than the sum of their parts. We sourced & roasted some incredible single-origin beans, too, including three picked up on our first direct trade trip to Brazil (they should be available very soon). Our barrel-aged coffee program, which we believe is the largest in the world, has been a rousing success too, and has gone a long way to help build enthusiasm and appreciation for coffee amongst SoCal beer geeks. We were also incredibly thrilled to see Black House Blend not only awarded 94 Points on Coffee Review (the world's leading coffee guide), but also named their #2 blend in the world for 2015! Not bad for a little brewery/roastery behind a strip club!
Modern Times Los Angeles
Our plan to open a pilot brewery/restaurant/cafe in L.A. was received extremely well, and we’re super pumped to get things underway. Our timeline is still pretty nebulous, but if all goes as planned we’ll have a new spot open in 2016 to serve as a home base for our diehard L.A. fans.
This seems like a lot, but it hardly scratches the surface of the absolutely insane year we’ve had here. We can’t thank you all enough; your support, feedback, hi-fives, and incredible contributions to our tasting room have been unbelievably rad, and we plan on thanking you with a truly exceptional 2016. News on next year’s ferociously sexy agenda begins dropping tomorrow and continues throughout the week. Stay tuned.