The 3rd Annual Tenth and Blake Homebrewing Contest

Tenth and Blake Homebrewing Contest

Homebrewing and the Tenth and Blake Culture

Since the inception of Tenth and Blake, we’ve integrated homebrewing into our education. It’s used as a teaching tool in our Beer Merchant classes, on corporate campuses for education and team building activities, and also as a tool in the field for special events and distributor interaction.

We’ve taken this hobby to the next level with our yearly internal homebrewing competition – which this year was held after our team meeting in San Diego. Thirty-one teams entered the competition, which runs two categories: hobbyist and pro. Anyone who has or has ever had the word “brewer” in their title is automatically designated to the pro category (for this year, that was 6 total entries).

The names of the homebrews alone are great reading material; WhataMango, Chew-Weizenbacca, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Belgian, Chai and Stop Me, and Miami Weisse – just to name a few.

And the beers, oh the beers. We ran the gamut this year with everything from coffee stouts to a Berliner Weisse to IPAs to Saisons.

Chewweizenbacca Homebrew

Picking the Winning Beers

Attendees sample the beer festival style, while the brewers (individual or teams of up to 4) serve and talk about their beers. A ballot with all the entries is provided to each attendee. In the hobbyist category you may vote for 3 beers, in the pro category, only one vote is allowed. The top vote-getters from attendees are then presented to our professional judges’ panel.

This year on our panel, we were honored to welcome Dr. David Ryder and Jeff Cornell from MillerCoors, Yusef Churney from Ballast Point, and Mark Shultz, the “Beermonger” for Slater’s 50/50, a SoCal burger chain with a beer bent.

Winning in the hobbyist category this year was the Blue Moon Brand Team, consisting of Jovina Young, Frank Cirone, Justine Stauffer and Rachele Heiderman. As part of their prize, they will go to Milwaukee and brew a large batch of their recipe, a Chili Chocolate Porter called “Guajilla Justina”. The beer will then be kegged and served at festivals and a Brewers Unleashed event.

The Big Lubelski Grodziskie Homebrew

In the Pro category, the winner has major bragging rights and has their name added to Lord Jeffrey’s Cup, a hefty trophy named after one of the original Tenth and Blake founders, Jeff White. This year’s winner was Ben Dolphens, our Trade Brewer in the Southeast. His beer, The Big Lubelski, was a 100% oak-smoked wheat beer of Polish descent known as a Grodziskie or Grätzer. He received rave reviews from the panel for his beer and Yusef even Facebooked about it on the Ballast Point page.


SXSW Meets Miller Lite #TaptheFuture

Miller Lite Tap the Future at SXSW

#TaptheFuture at SXSW

Miller Lite Tap the Future is all about recognizing groups of friends with the most original business ideas, and there’s no better place to find them than the SXSW Interactive Festival. The weeklong festival turns Austin into an amazing incubator of digital creativity and unique startups. We just needed to add the Original Lite Can and Miller Time into the flow of great ideas!

We created a Miller Lite Tap the Future lounge where entrepreneurs could talk business, win prizes and enjoy our Original Lite Can. Each hour entrepreneurs registered for Tap the Future for an opportunity to compete on ABC’s Shark Tank. The winners receive a $200K prize and get business advice from Shark Tank judge Daymond John.

Tap the Future Lounge at SXSW

We also featured a photo booth for Tap The Future entrepreneurs to commemorate their original and innovative ideas. Two random winners were selected each day to receive Original Lite Can-themed headphones and hats.

We wrapped up each day at the lounge with a Miller Lite networking hour for attendees to wind down after a productive day. Everyone took a well-deserved break by enjoying some Miller Time.

Miller Time happy hour SXSW

End Your Night With a Safe Ride Home

We featured a second booth inside the trade show along with some wrapped pedicabs. At SXSW it’s important to communicate our responsible drinking message. During the trade show we encouraged attendees to pledge to not drink and drive and to always designate a driver when celebrating with friends. With our pedicab execution, we encourage attendees to “End Your Night With A Safe Ride Home.” The importance of responsible drinking was never more evident than this year at SXSW.

Miller Lite pedicabs at SXSW

The festival is definitely the right place to experience some of the best innovation and creativity. There are some great business ideas floating around, and who knows, our next Miller Lite lounge guests could find themselves pitching live in front of the Shark, Daymond John and the renowned panel of Tap the Future judges. Here’s to the spirit of entrepreneurship and Miller Time!

Miller Lite Tap the Future lounge at SXSW

Smith & Forge Hard Cider Launches in Brooklyn

Smith & Forge Hard Cider

Smith & Forge Hard Cider Launch Party in Brooklyn

When deciding where to debut a brand like Smith & Forge Hard Cider, few places are as perfect a match as Brooklyn, New York.  It’s a borough with a gritty history that’s experiencing a renaissance with young people who appreciate its authentic story.  In that way, it’s a lot like hard cider.

On March 5, 2014, Smith & Forge Hard Cider threw a party unlike any Brooklynite has seen since the 19th century.  The goal: introduce this new hard cider to the good people of Brooklyn, and let them introduce us to the world.

Smith & Forge Hard cider debut in Brooklyn

A Brief History of Hard Cider

To do so we needed to give them a story to tell, starting with the story of hard cider.  Most people have forgotten the long history of hard cider.  It was the drink of the great people who built this country – presidents, soldiers, and blacksmiths. In fact, cider was bigger than beer before Prohibition spelled its untimely demise.

A Party Fit for the Smith & Forge Brand

Smith & Forge Hard Cider Prohibition

Outside, blacksmiths worked on the street while inside actors dressed in period costumes greeted partygoers.  The stage was set for telling the story of the Smith & Forge brand – and the rich history of cider.

Cavemen performing at Smith & Forge launch in Brooklyn

However, it wasn’t all costumes and moustaches. Caveman, an indie band and local Brooklyn favorite, who played a sold out show at the same venue just two weeks prior, provided the perfect soundtrack for the event.

To bring it all home, we held an epic arm wrestling tournament officiated by actor Jonathan Banks of Breaking Bad fame.  And it was epic. Also at the event were several stations and activities – a high striker, straight shave station and bowling, which helped round out the night’s fun.

jonathan banks smith and forge breaking bad

Most importantly, Smith & Forge Hard Cider flowed and people loved it. As a founding father of Smith & Forge myself, it was a strange and wonderful sight to see so many people drinking 16oz cans of Smith & Forge. For a moment, it was as if Prohibition never happened and hard cider had never gone away.

Smith & Forge hard cider can