Saturday, September 6, 2014

Midnight Sun Brewing Interview/tour

During my trip to Alaska I was able to get an interview with Gary Busse the general manager of Midnight Sun Brewing. He was kind enough to show me around their tasting room and brewery.  Midnight Sun produced 5,500 barrels last year and are on track to make 6,900 barrels this year, seeing double digit growth for almost 10 years.  Which has kept pace with the craft beer industry as a whole.

We talked a little bit about the Alaskan liquor laws and the difference between a brewery and a brewpub licence.  A brewery can self distribute and has no limits on volume distributed, however they can only sell 36 oz. per person per day in their tap room. While a brew pub has limitations on volume that they can self distribute and produce, but they can sell liquor and don't have the 36 oz. limit per person.

I sampled a few of the beers from the barrel aged Alaskana series and all were excellent.  Midnight Sun annually produces a series of unique beers in addition to their standard fare.

I asked Gary about difficulties of being located in Alaska for the brewery.  The main issue he said was shipping to and from the lower 48.  This makes brewing a fresh hop beer extremely cost prohibitive, since the hops have to be over-nighted.  Not only do they have to ship ingredients up but they also must ship their finished beer for distribution down south.

We took a tour of the brewery and I got some pictures and met a couple brewers. The last thing he showed me was a salmon on the wall.  Midnight Sun used to share a building with a taxidermist that also owned the building.  As a departure gift from they gave the brewery a taxidermied salmon.  The stuffed fish dispenses beer out its rear vent when the front fin is pulled.

Beer dispensing Salmon
Conical Fermenters and Brite tanks
Yeast filtering centrifuge
Bottle labeling line
Canning line
Tasting Room

A very special thanks to Gary Busse for showing me around the brewery and talking to me about Alaskan beer.

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