After 20 releases over a two-year period we have brought the 10 Barrel Series to an end. Given we haven’t released a 10 Barrel Series beer since DDH Saison back in May, it may seem like stating the obvious. But we felt we couldn’t officially close the series down without a proper explanation.
The 10 Barrel Series was conceived as a way to explore different recipes and ingredients beyond our core offering, without making a long-term commitment to a particular beer. It allowed us to expand our beer offering alongside our core beers, within the constraints of our limited tank capacity. Our commitment to only brew each recipe once allowed us to celebrate beer in a lot of different forms, from single hop pale ales to dark lagers and re-imagined British classics. We learnt a huge amount about different ingredients, brewing techniques and beer styles.
But as we produced more and more beers, we found that the limits we had set ourselves – to only brew 10 barrels of each release – became limiting. Some beers we could have sold 20 barrels of, if we had re-brewed them; beers like our New England IPA and both versions of Session Pale Ale. Some beer styles we chose to brew were a little obscure and took a while to gain traction.
Perhaps most importantly, we found that by using the same bottle label design, changing only the name of the beer, each release looked just like the last, even if what was in the bottle was very different. It was never our intention to release so many 10 Barrel Series beers, but early successes gave us confidence to run with it. We learnt a huge amount about the branding side of things and will take what we’ve learnt into the future.
The 10 Barrel Series gave us two seasonal beers – Pressure Box (formerly Dry Hopped American Wheat) and Skewbald (formerly Red Rye IPA) – and set the foundation for our session IPA Nokota, so we are a little sad to close it down. But as the brewery develops and grows, it feels like the right time to try something new. It was actually the decision to launch Nokota as a core offering that sounded the death knell for the 10 Barrel Series. Keeping five beers in stock using four fermenters meant there was no scope for one-off beers, for a time at least.
We have been working away behind the scenes, including releasing a number of Experimental Series beers recently, with a view to limited releases making a return in early 2019. There’s more to come on that front in the coming weeks, so watch this space.