Guest article by pFriem Family Brewers co-founder and brewmaster Josh Pfriem
Reflecting on 2014 both as an individual and pFriem Family Brewers, it leaves me with many thoughts of this past year. 2014 was the year that pFriem moved from being a young start up brewery to a more established brewery that is getting comfortable in its stride. We grew as a pFriem family, hired several great employees which we added to our wonderful team through out this past year. Hiring and bringing on these talented people, has allowed us to begin working towards all the things we originally sought out to do when we opened in 2012.
pFriem brewed 50 unique beers in 2014, some of these are laying away in barrels and will finally see the light in 2015. Early Summer we opened our rustic and beautiful beer patio with a large fire pit and sweeping views of the Columbia River Gorge. Bottles have been put on the back burner for us since opening as well, but we are pretty stoked to be seeing the dream of pFriem beer in bottles come to fruition in 2015. Over the last 6 months we have been working hard, designing three different bottle packages that we plan on releasing late winter 2015. These consist of a 500 ml European bottle for our hop forward and lager beers. 375 ml Belgian bottle corked and hooded for our Belgian inspired beers, and 375 ml Belgian bottle corked and hooded for our long awaited Barrel Aged beers.
Fall 2014 we were able to obtain an additional 2,500 square feet of space (in our current building) for warehouse space and more barrel aging. In late 2014 we submitted plans to break ground on our next round of expansion that will begin in 2015. This expansion will upgrade our current brewhouse, 4-90 barrel fermenters, add a semi-automated keg cleaner/ filler, three different bottle fillers, and will also include the installation of a Centrifuge. These additions will more than double pFriem’s current fermentation capacity. We are really excited about that!
We have seen growth as an opportunity to create more diversity within our beer, increase quality, and build a family of awesome employees that believe in creating something that is unique and wonderful.
When I reflect on the 2014 craft beer industry, it was a year of great relationships, excellent beers, and wonderful camaraderie. Here in Oregon we have a great mix of old and new breweries that are all pushing each other to make higher quality beer then we were yesterday. I found this to be especially true this past year.
Competition was stronger then ever in the craft beer industry. This is pushing the industry to be hungry and lean, which in turn creates further innovation, an increase in quality and over all better beers in the market place. This is good news for everyone whether you are a brewer, beer drinker or both.