June 12, 2005: Headlines: COS - Guatemala: Small Business: Beer: Pioneer Press: Guatemala RPCV Dan Chang is co-owner of Rush River Brewing Company

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Library: Peace Corps: Small Business: Peace Corps and Small Business: June 12, 2005: Headlines: COS - Guatemala: Small Business: Beer: Pioneer Press: Guatemala RPCV Dan Chang is co-owner of Rush River Brewing Company

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-245-37.balt.east.verizon.net - on Sunday, June 12, 2005 - 3:50 pm: Edit Post

Guatemala RPCV Dan Chang is co-owner of Rush River Brewing Company

Guatemala RPCV Dan Chang is co-owner of Rush River Brewing Company

Guatemala RPCV Dan Chang is co-owner of Rush River Brewing Company


The co-owners of Rush River Brewing Company in Maiden Rock have found a market for their distinctive ales and will soon begin bottling them.


Pioneer Press

Nick Anderson was planning on being a doctor on the West Coast when he realized that hospitals depressed him.

Dan Chang had left the Peace Corps and spent a year camping and rock climbing in the Northwest when he realized he needed to get a job.

Both men ended up washing kegs at a popular Seattle brewery in the late 1990s and within a year were making its beer.

"We thought we could do this on our own if we could figure out the capital," Chang said

The two worked out the numbers and in May they celebrated the one-year anniversary of their own label, Rush River Brewing Company.

The Maiden Rock-based microbrewery, headquartered in a converted pole barn high above Lake Pepin, has surpassed Anderson and Chang's sales projections for the first year and will start bottling its creations now available only in kegs in August.

"We were blown away that we sold so much," said 32-year-old Chang.

The team has won hard-earned tap space in bars and restaurants across the Twin Cities and in western Wisconsin, where the typical four-tap bar is dominated by Miller, Bud and Leinenkugel's. They've received good feedback from customers and aim to one day produce beer in amounts similar to St. Paul-based Summit Brewing, the local success story in craft brewing circles.

"But they've got a 20-year jump on us," Anderson, 31, said.

Still, its first year Rush River sold 1,500 barrels, or 3,000 16-gallon kegs. That's the same amount Summit sold in 1987, its first full year in business.

In 2004, Summit produced nearly 63,000 barrels.

According to the Brewers Association, a Colorado-based beer brewing advocacy group, folks who brew and sell less than 15,000 barrels a year of craft beer beers made with 100 percent malted barley are considered microbreweries. Selling more than that qualifies a company as a regional brewery, like Summit or August Schell out of New Ulm, Minn.

Anheuser-Busch, the maker of Budweiser, sold 100 million barrels of malted-barley-and-rice beer in the United States in 2002.

Those numbers didn't scare off the Rush River team.

Anderson and Chang moved to Minnesota because it seemed like an open market for the beer they wanted to brew unfiltered, unpasteurized ales with strong flavors and lots of body.

Also, Anderson is a Minneapolis native and Chang hails from Milwaukee.

Stewing in the morning humidity of the St. Croix River Valley, Anderson talks about his beers with enthusiasm. It's hard to believe he went to bed at 2 a.m. after a 17-hour shift brewing porter the day before.

"Filtering strips out taste and complexity," Anderson said. The team wanted a beer with more "mouth feel," something their cloudy concoctions have plenty of.

Filtering also takes out vitamin B12, Anderson said, a supplement taken by folks trying to avoid hangovers.

The brewing style that the two picked up in Washington, characterized by floral, fragrant beers, "is something that we have that nobody else has" in the region, Anderson said.

Matt McArthur agreed.

The Cannon Falls, Minn., resident makes trips to his hometown of Prescott to drink Rush River's Unforgiven Ale at the Muddy Pig restaurant.

"I think this one's just a great tasting beer," he said.

Like he's breaking down the structure of a fine wine, McArthur said he can detect lemon and apricot notes in his beer, where "the sweetness is balanced by the bitterness of the hops" the brewers use to flavor their concoction.

When his own restaurant, McArthur's Wood Grill and Bar, gets tap lines installed, he said he will carry the Rush River label.

Joe Martino, a co-owner of regional brewery Stevens Point Brewery in Stevens Point, said he hadn't heard of Rush River, but "the more the merrier" in the craft-brewing realm.

"Any opportunity to have beer drinkers move away from the mass-produced regular beers, it's good for everyone in the craft industry," he said. His company has a line of six Point beers and other soft beverages, and recently purchased the Minneapolis-based James Page Brewery line of craft beers.

For perspective, though, Martino said it would take his brewery 50 years to produce what Anheuser-Busch produces in a week.

Rush River is even further off that mark, and Anderson wouldn't say if he and Chang made a profit in their first year. They did make enough to pay their bills, though the team has yet to draw a salary.

"Every penny we're putting back into marketing," Anderson said. The guys just finished a $20,000 campaign, complete with hats, T-shirts and posters. Last October they hosted a Halloween party at Bar Abilene in Minneapolis, and this spring they sold 40 kegs to a music festival in southern Minnesota.

"We could have gone anywhere," Anderson said of their move from Washington, adding that the duo also looked at the Research Triangle of North Carolina to set up shop.

But the Twin Cities area, where 80 percent of their beer is sold, didn't have any breweries like theirs.

"We are a true craft brewery," Anderson said.

They chose their site in Wisconsin because the land is owned by a third, mostly silent partner in the business and taxes are much less for breweries in Wisconsin than in Minnesota.

"They recognize it as a crucial part of their economy," Anderson said of Wisconsin.

In August, the company will start bottling in an old Bud distributorship in Ellsworth and hire one or two full-time employees. Anderson and Chang will still handle brewing in the pole barn in Maiden Rock, a few hundred feet from the trout-laden namesake Rush River.

In the next couple of weeks they'll reintroduce their summer brew Small Axe Golden Ale, a wheat beer they intend as a "transitional" beer for the Bud and Miller crowd.

"We're the small guys," Anderson said, recognizing Rush River's current market position. And that's OK.

"We've got time and energy."


For more about Rush River Brewing Company, go online to www.rushriverbeer.com.
John Brewer can be reached at 651-228-2093 or jbrewer@pioneerpress.com.

When this story was posted in June 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:

Contact PCOLBulletin BoardRegisterSearch PCOLWhat's New?

Peace Corps Online The Independent News Forum serving Returned Peace Corps Volunteers
The Peace Corps Library Date: March 27 2005 No: 536 The Peace Corps Library
Peace Corps Online is proud to announce that the Peace Corps Library is now available online. With over 30,000 index entries in 500 categories, this is the largest collection of Peace Corps related stories in the world. From Acting to Zucchini, you can find hundreds of stories about what RPCVs with your same interests or from your Country of Service are doing today. If you have a web site, support the "Peace Corps Library" and link to it today.

Top Stories and Breaking News PCOL Magazine Peace Corps Library RPCV Directory Sign Up

June 6: PC suspends Uzbekistan program Date: June 7 2005 No: 640 June 6: PC suspends Uzbekistan program
Peace Corps has announced that it is suspending the Uzbekistan program after the visas of 52 Peace Corps volunteers who arrived in January were not renewed. The suspension comes after a State Department warning that terrorist groups may be planning attacks in Uzbekistan and after the killings in Andizhan earlier in May. Background: PCOL published a report on April 23 that Peace Corps volunteers who arrived in January were having visa difficulties and reported on safety and visa issues in Uzbekistan as they developed.

June 5, 2005:  Special Events Date: June 6 2005 No: 622 June 5, 2005: Special Events
Vote in the NPCA Election for new board before June 15
"American Taboo" author Phil Weiss in Maryland on June 18
"Rainforests and Refugees" showing in Portland, Maine until June 25
"Iowa in Ghana" on exhibit in Waterloo through June 30
RPCV's "Taking the Early Bus" at Cal State until Aug 15
RPCVs: Post your stories or press releases here for inclusion next week.

May 28, 2005: This Week's Top Stories Date: May 29 2005 No: 607 May 28, 2005: This Week's Top Stories
The Coyne Column: Love and War in Afghanistan 28 May
Sam Farr supports Coffee Growers in Colombia 28 May
Elaine Chao wins Woman of Valor award 27 May
Nebraska has strong ties with Afghanistan 27 May
Arthur Orr to seek Alabama State Senate seat 26 May
Murder of John Auffrey remembered in Liberia 26 May
Bill Moyers says journalists should be filters for readers 26 May
Linda Seyler spent two years in Thailand digging latrines 25 May
Chris Shays blasts Bush on stem cell research 25 May
George Wolfe to head Loudoun Academy of Science 25 May
David Rudenstine heads Cardozo School of Law 24 May
Mark Schneider says declaration is "pretty thin gruel" 24 May
Robert Blackwill supports seat for India on Security Council 24 May
Chris Matthews weighs Thomas Jefferson nomination 24 May
Jim Knopf is expert on xeriscape gardening 23 May
Mae Jemison receives honorary degree at Wilson 23 May
Kenneth Proudfoot says dreams come true 22 May

Friends of the Peace Corps 170,000  strong Date: April 2 2005 No: 543 Friends of the Peace Corps 170,000 strong
170,000 is a very special number for the RPCV community - it's the number of Volunteers who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961. It's also a number that is very special to us because March is the first month since our founding in January, 2001 that our readership has exceeded 170,000. And while we know that not everyone who comes to this site is an RPCV, they are all "Friends of the Peace Corps." Thanks everybody for making PCOL your source of news for the Returned Volunteer community.

Read the stories and leave your comments.

Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

Story Source: Pioneer Press

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Guatemala; Small Business; Beer



Add a Message

This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.