Thursday, January 3, 2008

One Guy up and running

Some belated news: One Guy Brewing has received licensing approval from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board and will be opening soon (at 328 W. Front St., in Berwick, Penn.), perhaps as early as this Saturday. Guy's got beer in the tanks, and although he still has a few things to do to get the place customer-ready, he's about there. Look for "soft opening" weekends in January, with a grand opening at the end of the month or early February.

Word of warning: OGB is not a brewpub like you may be expecting. There is a small bar area, the menu consists of pretzels and New Jersey-style "dirty water" hot dogs, and you can get glasses of beer, but OGB is really about take-home: growlers, and a limited supply of seriously cool vintage returnable bottles (that are not quite ready for sale, I think...), and eventually sixtels. I think I have that right, and if not, Guy will correct me. But don't go figuring on a big brewpub with waitresses and pizza and burgers and such. This is tight-focus stuff: beer.

Congratulations, Guy! Hope to stop in real soon.

25 comments:

sam k said...

I'm pretty sure this will be another true destination (not just a detour) for the serious beer aficionado. Guy does great work, and the focus on beer, not food or ferns, is a bonus. My only question: why do the brewpub thing at all, then? East End accomplishes the same goal (growler and keg sales out the door) with no need for the other trappings at all.

Really looking forward to this trip!

---Guy said...

Thanks Lew!

The first "soft opening" will be this Saturday with a couple-or-three beers. And you're right the place ain't fancy. I prefer to call it a "tap room" rather than "brewpub", but I might be swimming against the tide in that regard.

Grand opening Jan. 26th, more details to follow.

Mr. Thursday said...

Berwick is about 2 hours from where I live, but with all the Bryson-led hype on the place, I really might have to trek up there sometime in February or March and take a few bottles home...

sam k said...

Guy--

What will your hours be?

Lew Bryson said...

The 'brewpub' thing, I'm sure, was the cheapest way to open the doors, something Guy was interested in. His doors ARE open, for significantly less than $100,000 total investment, not bad these days. His brewing equipment is very small, but he thinks he can make money on the brewpub profit margin: better than production, and without the costs of distribution. I suspect most of Scott's money at East End is coming from the kegs he sells to bars, not out-the-door sales. Custom Brewcrafters in Honeoye Falls, NY, makes 25% of their money off growler sales with a similar set-up, and they're pleased with that. Cooper's Cave has an even odder set-up: they sell bottles and kegs and growlers, and give away beer by the glass -- small glasses, and no more than three per customer. They also have ice cream (really good ice cream) and one of the best brewery gift shops I've ever seen. Plenty of ways to skin the small brewery cat.

And just to reiterate: I have no financial interest whatsoever in One Guy Brewing. Guy's a friend of mine, and I think a lot of his beer. (I think he makes great pizza, too, so I hope this place is successful enough to put in a pizza oven soon!) He likes beer, he likes barbecue (and he's much more particular about it than I am), he likes sausage, and he's big on local sources. Yes, I have hyped this place, but I've been uniquely on the inside with this one; jut thought you'd be interested. (Not taking offense, Herr Donnerstag, just keeping it clear for the viewers at home!)

Alan said...

"...New Jersey-style "dirty water" hot dogs..."

I don't know if this is quite as attractive as your past descriptions of wecks or spiedies!

Lew Bryson said...

Hey, Alan, don't blame me, that's what they call 'em in NJ and NYC! Hell, I've seen longer descriptions that are downright disgusting. I'm waiting to see what kind of wieners Guy puts in the dirty water.

bruce said...

Can you remind us again where One Guy is going to be?

Anonymous said...

Where is this?

Lew Bryson said...

Sorry! The location is up in the original post now, too, but here you go: 328 W. Front St., Berwick, PA. Guy, you got a phone yet?

bill mc said...

Damn, I loves dirty water hotdogs.

Are they good Philly style pretzels..those rock!

Can't wait to try this beer!

Andygator said...

Guy, damn good to see you with a paddle in the mash again. Folks, I can say for sure that Guy showed me the place inside-out during my visit two months ago, and it is well worth a bit of traveling. I traveled from Houston, of course, so anybody in PA, NY, NJ, MD, Ohio, or even Michigan would be closer than me. Its a road trip baby! Now some would probably wait to hear more about it, but this is one of the more interesting openings lately. I would run, not walk, to find the most interesting beer in east central PA before he runs out of something. Insiders tip, ask Guy about the cinnamon on the January Celebration ale. Guy is a great friend, you will definitely want to meet him and try that beer. Dirty water hot dogs? Its a bonus. Cant wait for my next trip up, Andygator Thomas

John said...

Best of Luck Guy! Man, I sure do miss the Franconia Pils!

John Dauenhauer (still in my Katrina remodeled house)

East End Brewer... said...

Hey Guy,
Congrats on getting it together! I know it's been a long climb... but don't be too surprised if you're SLAMMED at your soft opening tomorrow. I just hope you have enough beer on hand!

Best of luck
Cheers,
Scott

Lew Bryson said...

[Got the following from Guy...]

To answer a couple of questions:

I'm planning to be open tomorrow (Saturday Jan. 5) from noon until probably 8pm, or until the beer runs out. I don't know what to expect and although I'll have a few beers available, if I get swamped I could run dry.
No TV yet so no playoff football...
\As for the hot dogs, car trouble has limited my mobility so I wasn't able to get the german-style dogs I talk about here:
http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=109790

So for tomorrow it'll be pretty standard American-style dogs only.
I think Lew's comment about Dock Street also applies in my case:
"This one takes me back to the old days, when brewpubs were dodgy enterprises thrown together on a shoestring. I loved that era; I'm a dodgy enterprise myself some days."

Thanks for all the interest!

sam k said...

Lew,

Can you possibly provide an update sometime this week on where things stand at One Guy? The Tourists are scheduled to head out next Saturday, and Guy keeps talking about running dry. Does this mean that he's allotted a certain amount for sales each week and is out till the next, or will he be out of beer and closed next Saturday if he runs out today?

He;s experimenting with a pretty novel business model, and I'm just trying to understand the nuances.

Many thanks!

Lew Bryson said...

No idea, Sam, but I'm sure Guy will see this and probably drop us a report on how things went on the first day and how much beer he has left. You know, just maybe...

---Guy said...

LOL, Sam, don't fret--there'll be plenty of beer next weekend. The "running out" comment was because I only made a few sixtels ready and available for yesterday. I wasn't expecting a big crowd, and if swamped it would have been insufficient. As it turned out it was just about right. Rest assured there's plenty more beer in the tanks.

Yesterday went pretty much perfectly for a low-key soft opening. Around 40-50 people came through during the day so I was able to "test run" the system under only light stress.

The beers were well received, lots of nice compliments. A number of Berwickians who've been watching my progress stopped in and said how much they appreciated having a microbrewery in town. One fellow stopped by around 11am; when I told him I was still doing some final touches he offered to help. So I put him to work changing a doorknob, hanging the TP holder, hanging some pictures, etc.

Others who showed up included some homebrewing/beer-loving friends, a couple of Beeradvocates, the owner of a local homebrew shop, the owner of a local small winery, a few friends who helped with the renovation, etc.

A surprising number of growlers went out the door, I may have to change my expectations for "to-go" sales.

As for the business model, it's simply one of extreme minimalisim. Just me and my beer. I honestly don't know how it will evolve over the next few months. You can expect adjustments to things like hours of operation, numbers and types of beer available, etc. as I figure out how best to run the business. I've been around long enough to know that (for the most part) the projections you make in the beginning go out the window once you actually start up. So I intend to keep my options open and remain flexible as the brewery gets up to speed. Please don't be surprised if there are a few growing pains.

Thanks for all the interest in my venture! I hope to meet all of you soon.

sam k said...

Many thanks for the positive report. Pretty much exactly what I was hoping to hear. Sounds like the perfect opening day! I followed the thread on eGullet, and you've really set some of the food geeks on their ear with this whole concept, too! We'll see you on Saturday. The Tourists are really looking forward to the trip!

ClockworkOrange said...

Guy,
It was nice meeting you on Saturday. My wife and I really enjoyed your beer. We had all but the Dark Lager.The Rauch Bock was excellent with the perfect amount of smoke, the Peach Wheat was a mildly tart and refreshingly delicious surprise to see in early January. Kudos for using local peaches from Hellers Orchards (perhaps an Apple Ale next season :), and Number 1 was nicely done; seems to be a beer that will appeal to a variety of customers. I was glad to see a large number of growlers go out the door as well. Prices were great and, IMO, right where they need to be for the area. Thanks for bringing fresh, top quality beer to this sorely lacking area. Best of luck! Prosit!
Jason

Anonymous said...

I stoped by OGB on Sat night, i am VERY new to the Micro-brew type of beers. But I thought the beer was very good, I plan to stop in again. I took a growler of the RB home, by far the best i have had in quite some time.

sam k said...

Tourist's Report: Six of us made it to One Guy yesterday, and the experience is not to be missed! We arrived early and checked out the remains of the Berwick Brewing Company on Maple Street, which was only in operation in 1907-08. We also stopped at Sacco beer distributor for fresh Stegmaier Porter and 150 at perhaps the best prices in the state, $17.50 each, tax included!

By the time we got to One Guy, there were two Berwickians ahead of us, and Guy was still getting things ready as we walked in the door. Note of caution: though the address is 328 W. Front St., the brewery doesn't really face Front St. proper. The best description I can give you is that if you're coming into town from I-80, as soon as you hit the railroad tracks at the Rite Aid, immediately turn right on to Oak St. and you'll be facing the red brick building that houses One Guy.

As has been reported, the place is pretty spartan, and the the four beers being poured yesterday were fabulous. Pils, peach wheat, dark lager, and a cinnamon-tinged seasonal that I can't remember the name of. As I had anticipated, Guy's offerings were very well-balanced and represented a very diverse range of color and flavor.

We stayed for over an hour, and during that time there were quite a few people through the door, including many locals, and Woody Chandler of Ale Street News. Guy was busy behind the bar the entire time, pouring drafts and filling growlers. There were quite a few hot dogs scarfed during the session, as well.

An excellent experience, and the two-hour drive won't deter me from a return soon to experience the diversity of styles that Guy has both in the tanks and in his head. We visited two other breweries on yesterday's tour, and neither one had beer anywhere near the quality of One Guy. A must-visit for any serious beer enthusiast!

Anonymous said...

I was at Guy's place last Saturday and had the pleasure of chatting with him and a few other patrons at the bar. While the place can best be described as "spartan", guy provides a nice atmosphere. I sampled each of 4 brews, a dark lager, which was quite good and would remind some as having almost a porterish quality to it, the Pils, which I have to say was one of the most flavor-packed Pils I've had, a cinnamon brew, which packed a small punch and to my liking had hints of cinnamon, rather than a sweetness, and what I thought was quite exceptional, the peach wheat, a fine wheat beer with subtle peachy flavors provided by an area orchard. I wrestled with my selection, and had it not been 17 degrees outside, would have taken home a growler of the peach, but instead decided the dark lager was the way to go. To top it off, I hd the pleasure of sharing said growler with my dad and brother later that evening. Three cheers for Guy, I hope to make it back for the grand opening!

Anonymous said...

Sadly I could not make it to Guy's for the Grand Opening yesterday. I do hope it all came together. I plan on stopping next weekend if Guy will be open. So, if anyone knows for sure that guy will be open this weekend let us know. Thanks.

---Guy said...

Anon: Yup, I'm now open for business. My regular hours are Saturdays from 1pm to 9pm and Sundays from 1pm to 6pm.

Chances are very good in a week or two I'll be adding additional open days.

I know, I know, I need to get a website...

Thanks for the nice comments!