Last week I did a little reflecting on how far Modern Times has come in the (almost) two short years it’s been in existence. With our 2nd Anniversary Party coming up next weekend, it seems like a good time to think about big picture stuff, so this week, I’d like to talk about where we go from here.
The first and most obvious thing to discuss is what we announced on Monday: The Festival of Dankness. It’s the first in what we hope will become a series of charity festivals loosely themed around our year round beers. The Festival of Dankness is our Blazing World festival—a celebration of new wave hoppy beers—and future iterations will likely include a session beer festival (Fortunate Islands), a coffee & beer festival (Black House), and a farmhouse/funk festival (Lomaland).
The goal is not just to throw ridiculously awesome parties. It’s also to raise money for the charities we fervently believe in (BikeSD in this case). I’ve said from the beginning that it’s important to me that Modern Times be an active player in shaping the fabric of our city, and raising money for some of the most effective advocacy organizations in town through festivals is one way we’ll do it. So if all goes well this first time around, expect to see more of these moderately sized, tightly curated festivals from us.
Secondly, and on an even more ambitious scale, we’re planning to build more locations. One of the great joys for me of the past two years has been designing and building our tasting rooms, which are an expression of my personal weirdness and the collective creativity of the people who work at Modern Times. They’re the embodiment of our soul. So I feel an urgent need to build more of them because they’re awesome.
They also have the potential to solve practical problems for us: lack of a reasonably sized pilot system, lack of barrel space, lack of food options, lack of coffee service. So expect to see us fill in these gaps in the tastiest and most elaborately decorated ways possible.
Third, expect to see more of our beer available. We’ve been operating at capacity since the day we launched cans in October 2013, even with several rounds of expansion thrown in. Now that we’ve taken over the building next door to us, we should be able to add more cellar space. So we’ll move packaging next door and find someplace else for dry storage, clearing the way for a new row of seriously big tanks to be installed sometime next year. That should allow us to keep up with demand for our year round beers, brew more beer for our seasonal and 22oz programs, and introduce a sexy new package type or two (I wish I could share details, but it’ll have to wait until we actually have the capacity.)
Fourth, expect to see Modern Times Coffee go big. We aim to be canning cold brew next year, and our goal is to produce nothing short of the best goddamn canned cold brew in the world. We’ll also be expanding the range of our bagged coffee availability tremendously, with many more single origin offerings, micro-lots, direct trade beans, seasonal blends, barrel-aged wonders, and more. We’ll also be tackling wholesale in a bigger way, by providing coffee for a select group of restaurants & cafes that are focused on having world-class coffee programs.
Fifth, expect to see more special bottle releases. We’ve already begun bottling small runs of funky beers, including Funky Universal Friend w/ Pinot Noir and 100% Brett Dancing Plague (both currently funkifying in our warehouse, waiting for the right moment to be released), and we’re going to do a lot more. We have unique talent and unique bugs in-house, and we think there’s a place for the funky beers we can make with them. We’ll also be expanding our barrel program as much as possible to allow for more variations, higher bottle counts, and more frequent releases. The beers coming out of our barrel programs have been stunningly good, so we’re very excited to make more.
And lastly, expect to see more collaborations. Now that some of the full-blown insanity of the very early days appears to be behind us, we’re going to prioritize meeting more like-minded folks at other young breweries and making sexy beer together. Should be fun.
Cheers & thanks,
Modern Times Beer