Hey Reddit! We are Odell Brewing Company; an independent, employee-owned craft brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado. We are entering our 34th year as a brewery, and we’ve seen this industry grow so much over the years. Our founders, Doug, Wynne, and Corkie Odell, had a vision to brew world-class beer while building community through beer, and 34 years later we are still pursuing that dream.

On this AMA answering questions we have:

John, AKA Schnetty - Brewhouse Lead. He has been brewing at Odell Brewing since 2017 and has been in the craft beer industry for 9 years.

Lauryn - Lab Technician. Lauryn helps to make sure we’re making high quality beer and also helps with yeast propagation and other cool sciency stuff!

Aundrea - Social Media Specialist. If you follow us on Instagram, then you have definitely seen Aundrea’s work!

Brandon - IT Extraordinaire. His love of craft beer and working with technology brought him to the brewery to help support our co- workers and their IT needs.

If you have ever had any questions you wanted to ask about the American beer industry, have a question about Odell Brewing’s history, or just want to know what our favorite beers are, ask away!

Proof: Here's my proof!

EDIT: Thank you all for your questions, this was so much fun! We are shutting down for the evening but we'll pay attention to this thread the next few days and follow up on any questions we see! Have a good night, drink Odell, love you all!

Comments: 704 • Responses: 62  • Date: 

JohnnyBravoIsMyWaifu390 karma

I work in industrial wastewater. How does your local water and sewer authority bill you for your water usage? Breweries where I live pay the highest rates in town due to high nutrient and low pH issues in their wastestream. Have you considered using a digester to create energy and potentially convince your sewer authority to lower your rates?

OdellBrewingCompany537 karma

We have a PH room that balances our outgoing wastewater. We use a solids and liquids OUT diversion system to limit nutrients that hit the PH room. We report our wastewater composition to the city of Fort Collins. We have considered a digester but because of our PH room, we have determined that we don't need one at this time.

elchupoopacabra154 karma

This is super interesting and something I'd never considered.

What other unique industrial processes might be happening at a brewery that most of us will never see?

sootoor81 karma

Recapturing the CO2 from fermentation to carbonate kegs etc is a big one. Sierra Nevada and Avery I know do this, I’d be surprised if Odell’s doesn’t but I’ve never visited their new facility (loved the old spot though!). Sustainability in brewing of the big spots is a pretty big thing. You could probably Google any of those breweries + sustainability to see what else they do.

About two thirds down this mentions stuff about water, energy and other common things

https://www.odellbrewing.com/impact/

OdellBrewingCompany117 karma

We are in the process of installing a CO2 recapture system at the brewery! Sustainability is a huge priority for us.

CadMnky252 karma

Seriously I love Odell! Glad I can find it in OK now!

Cutthroat Porter is one of my favorite beers of all time. Why can’t I find it anymore? Is it seasonal? Do you sell it outside CO?

OdellBrewingCompany157 karma

Hey! Cutthroat is one of our favorite beers as well. We bring it back every now and then as a limited release in our Colorado taprooms and a handful of bars around northern Colorado, but we don't do wide distribution of it anymore. We post our social media when we have it as a limited release, usually in late fall or early winter, so swing by if you're ever in the area to grab a pint!

CadMnky32 karma

I most definitely will. Do you have a distributed Stout or Porter?

OdellBrewingCompany42 karma

You might be able to find Lugene Milk Stout in Oklahoma. Check our beer finder on our website!

michaelswallace215 karma

I was in Fort Collins 4 years ago and you were closed for an event at the brewery so we had to miss you.

I am tentatively planning to be back in town again next summer, 2024, some time between Memorial day and Labor Day. Can you please confirm now that you will hold off any event reservations during that entire window until I figure out my personal travel plans over then next 15 months?

Thank you,

OdellBrewingCompany86 karma

Oh bummer, sorry you missed us but it seems like you're planning is on point so we'll see you in summer 2024!

AstronomerOne7780162 karma

Friends,,, I’m begging you to un-retire Trellis. Please. Could we ever see this nectar of the gods make a return?

OdellBrewingCompany124 karma

It's possible it could make a comeback! We can't guarantee anything but we'll put in a good word with the brewhouse.

Jwosty57 karma

And Easy Street! Loved that stuff...!

Also, please don't stop using the paper labels. Your guys' bottles are the easiest to remove the labels from and re-use for homebrewing.

OdellBrewingCompany7 karma

May 19th 👀 🍻

OdellBrewingCompany2 karma

It's possible it could make a comeback! We can't guarantee anything but we'll put in a good word with the brewhouse.

mixmastabeef79 karma

My favorite hip hop group, People Under The Stairs shot a music video at Odell called “Beer”. Can any of you share any stories about shooting that music video? Appreciate y’all giving them your location to do that.

OdellBrewingCompany86 karma

All we can say is that it was late and there were forklifts involved. 😝

Metalhart0073 karma

Who are all of your favorite Pokemon?

OdellBrewingCompany128 karma

John: Eevee

Brandon: Charizard

Lauryn: Snorlax

Aundrea: Squirtle

TylerJWhit70 karma

  1. How do you compete with an increasingly oligopoly of the beer industry when companies like Anheuser-Busch keep buying out independent beer makers?
  2. What are your thoughts on the increased emphasis on IPAs and hoppy beers?
  3. Are there any beers you think don't get enough attention like Stouts for instance?

For an interesting podcast regarding black female brewers in history and the challenges they faced, this is a great podcast episode: https://www.splendidtable.org/episode/2022/09/09/women-brewers

Tangent from that podcast: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/20/upshot/as-women-take-over-a-male-dominated-field-the-pay-drops.html

OdellBrewingCompany97 karma

These are some great questions!

  1. The main thing we can do to compete is put out the best beer possible and build personal connections with folks who enjoy our beer. At the same time, we're proud to be part of the craft beer industry that has over 9000 breweries across the country, and as an independent, employee-owned brewery, we control our own destiny!
  2. We've always focused on making a diverse lineup of beers, which does include a good amount of IPAs and hoppy beers. Our goal is to make beers for all beer drinkers, which includes folks who enjoy IPAs. We did launch a new lager last year, and we have Easy Street Wheat coming back this year, in addition to our fruited sour beers and dozens of other pilot beers that make at our three taprooms.
  3. We have a Pilsner Project at each of our three taprooms where we experiment with various types of pilsners, and we feel like that's a style that doesn't get enough attention.

And thank you for sending that podcast along! Two of our three founders were women and we're really proud of that.

anon-920 karma

In regards to 2...

I live in Fort Collins and one of the primary reasons I don't frequent O'Dell's more is because there is no porter/stout/dark beer on regular rotation. I don't mean this to be combative at all, just genuinely curious, how can you say you focus on diverse beers when your year round beer rotation has not one dark beer on it?

Us porter/stout lovers would like some love, too!

OdellBrewingCompany25 karma

That's a fair question, and not combative at all! If you live in Fort Collins, I'd suggest you check the beer list for our taproom if you ever want to visit. It's true we don't package many darker beers, but since about late October until today we've had at least one dark beer on tap, if not more, at the brewery. We currently have a porter and a stout on tap. We don't brew many dark beers during the warmer months, but once the temperature drops, we'll for sure have some dark beers on tap. You should be able to find Lugene in beer stores around Fort Collins, and while it's not traditionally thought of as a "dark beer," Isolation is always a great winter beer.

Cortimer2 karma

Cheers for Easy Street’s return! One of my all-time favorites and I can’t wait!

OdellBrewingCompany3 karma

Just wait until you see the new can art; it is incredible!

MR_F33NY54 karma

Thanks for taking the time, I’m a big fan of many of your beers. Do you have any plans to do a Black IPA? It’s hard to find in the Denver area and I’m always on the look out!

OdellBrewingCompany61 karma

We do not currently distribute any Black IPAs but we do brew Black IPAs on our pilot systems for taproom releases here and there. If you're ever in Fort Collins or Denver, be sure to swing by to try one of our taprooms.

Wescott30 karma

Why did you change Mountain Standard to just another IPA instead of the awesome Black IPA it used to be and will you ever bring it back?

OdellBrewingCompany59 karma

We’re in the business of making and selling beer and sometimes you have to DQ some beers to bring something fresh to the market. We're always sad to see them go though.

the5issilent48 karma

@ Brandon, what is involved in being an IT Extraordinaire for a killer brewery? What are your recommendations for security, network and MDM? Also what's the last four of your social and mother's maiden name?

OdellBrewingCompany72 karma

Hey great question! Working IT in a brewery is pretty similar to any other office IT job; you never know what you'll walk into on any given day. And like any IT job, about 20% of my time is spent cursing at printers! But a nice perk is at the end of the work day I get to pour myself a beer and hang out with my co-workers before heading home.

A lot of my experience is with Meraki gear, both networking and MDM, so that's what I usually recommend if it you can afford it since it's pretty expensive. I also like Unifi equipment.

As for last four of my social, it is...hey wait a minute!

mistadeath46 karma

Hey! I'm actually a salesman in Montana that helps distribute your beer. Kind of a coincidence that I ran across this. I have a couple of questions if you don't mind.
What are some considerations you guys make when you look to expand your portfolio and variety of beers?

I understand that you've been stepping into the wine market a bit? How do you feel you've faired in branching out your band some?

As a newer merchandiser on the market, how do you feel that things have changed in the ~30 years you've been producing?

And selfishly, any chance of there being a cider in the future for your guy's offerings? Or at least one offered to the Montana region?

OdellBrewingCompany39 karma

We like to make sure we have a diverse portfolio for all craft beer lovers but we also take into account the changing taste palettes and trends of consumers.

As for wine, our winemaker Travis is sourcing grapes from our small grower partners and then crushing, blending, cellar, and packaging everything by hand here at our winery. Our wine business is growing and we are very proud of how far we've come.

A lot has changed in the last 30 years. There has been a surge of new breweries - about 9,000 right now in the US. To compete, there has been a huge emphasis on quality. Luckily, quality is where we have always hung our hat.

No ciders in the plan right now but we never say never!

LateCheckIn45 karma

What’re your favorite spots to eat at in Fort Collins?

OdellBrewingCompany108 karma

Lauryn: Hunan Fort Collins, Music City Hot Chicken, gyro cart on Mountain and College

John: Gelato A'more, Bawarchi Biryani, Kujira Ramen

Aundrea: Regional, Music City Hot Chicken, Little Bird, Jaws, Kujira Ramen.

Brandon: Uno Mas, Music City Hot Chicken, Moe's BBQ, Mojeaux's, Jaws, Illegal Pete's..I might run out of room.

InfiniteChicken13 karma

Just a thanks for being awesome. I used to work for a local food/bar chain (which you may have mentioned here) and we had great partnerships with you. We brewed beer with you, put on events, we partied with you, I’ve even been on your roof. I don’t know if anyone I knew is still there, but you all showed me a lot of good times in Foco. I live elsewhere now, but I’ll always remember how great Odell was, as a group of people.

OdellBrewingCompany4 karma

Cheers, thank you for the message. We are definitely biased but we agree, we work with some of the best people ever.

bullet5000039 karma

How do you compete at the scale you do with the so-called "craft brewers" that are owned by major breweries (like in the CO market, New Belgium, Oskar Blues, Breckenridge, etc)? It's been refreshing to see breweries like you all and Left Hand take an employee-ownership model, but I'd imagine that makes capital growth a difficult model if expansion is needed.

OdellBrewingCompany40 karma

It can be challenging for sure, but it all starts with putting out a quality product, so when folks think of good beer, they think of us. But we've also start investing more in sponsorships. If you're in Colorado, you can find our Colorado Avalanche Odell IPA cans. Our Avalanche sponsorship is something we're incredibly proud of, especially since we have so many co-workers that are huge Avs fans. We are also a main sponsor of FoCo MX, which is a local music festival in Fort Collins that is a ton of fun with some incredible musicians from around the state of Colorado. The town is always in a good mood and it's just always a great weekend, and we're so proud to sponsor FoCo MX. We also have some more partnerships coming up this year that we can't talk about yet but we're incredibly excited to share with everyone. So between putting out a quality product and building relationships with our fans and communities is how we can compete.

Spudthegreat35 karma

What interesting things are involved with Brewery IT/tech in general at breweries?

Are there vast networks of sensors and data collectors? What sorts of systems do you use to visualize beer data?

OdellBrewingCompany52 karma

That's a great question, and the short answer is yes, there are vast amount of sensors collecting all sorts of data to help us make sure our beer is fermenting correctly, or our cans are filling properly. And then we have folks in all different departments analyzing the data to keep us on track. Data collection is very important in the brewing industry, it's pretty wild how much data is collected.

oz670211 karma

That's awesome! Is there a specific skill set you look for in IT people, like do they need a background in brewing maybe?

OdellBrewingCompany14 karma

No, you don't necessarily need a background in brewing! Being a fan of craft beer is definitely a plus!

gr8whitshrk29 karma

I went to CSU in the 90s! I miss 90 schilling. How can I get it in San Francisco?!?

OdellBrewingCompany14 karma

We have pretty limited distribution in California. If you're ever in Colorado, though, be sure to stock up on 90 Shilling and any other Odell classics.

Stpstpstp6 karma

Replying as I’ve been unable to find 90 Schilling anywhere in the Atlanta area.

OdellBrewingCompany6 karma

We don't distribute that far east! On our FAQ page you can find the states we distribute in.

crapshooter_on_swct26 karma

How are you addressing supply chain issues? Like aluminum, CO2, etc…

OdellBrewingCompany106 karma

Specific to CO2, we are thrilled to announce a major step forward in carbon reduction with the addition of a CO2 recovery system to our Fort Collins brewery. This new CO2 recovery system not only nearly eliminates the venting of CO2 to the atmosphere but also reuses it in the finished beer while eliminating the carbon emissions of producing and shipping finished CO2 to the brewery.

MrCool42720 karma

What would be the #1 advice to give to someone planning on opening a brewery? Also how do you handle expansion and growth? What size would you need to be in order to start doing your own yeast propagation?

OdellBrewingCompany55 karma

We have a few tips! First, have a passion for beer and offer something unique that isn't already being offered by breweries in your community. Second, invest in quality control measures, like proper cleaning and sanitation, documented processes for consistency, and utilize all the data (pH, temperature, cell counts, gravity, ABV, etc.). While having a fully stocked lab might not be realistic, microanalysis, yeast propagation and delicious, consistent beers are feasible, even on a small scale. Finally, while there are substantial costs associated with opening a brewery, cutting corners when it comes to the quality of your product and business is a regrettable move.

jh937hfiu3hrhv918 karma

Do you make your own yeast? Is that a big factor in what makes a beer unique? Do you clean with bleach or something like iodophor? Did you know Jimmy Carter made it legal to brew at home and that is how your industry got started? Cheers.

OdellBrewingCompany29 karma

We propagate all of our yeast in house! It's definitely something we take pride in, making our process and end products unique. We clean with caustic, passivate with a phosphoric/nitric acid blend, and sanitize using hot water above 170F. Schnetty knew that Jimmy Carter fact having gotten his start homebrewing. Lory did not... cheers!

crossfader2515 karma

Does Odells try to compete locally with New Belgium or do you think both breweries have their own following? Any plans on adding a 2nd brewery for us east coasters that can't get your beers due to distribution? 90 Schilling was one of my favorites when I lived in Windsor, unfortunately in my part of Florida there is no Odells.

As one of the original Ft. Collins breweries, or one of the biggest, do you collaborate much with any of the others?

OdellBrewingCompany25 karma

From the very beginning of both companies, which for us was 1989 and New Belgium was 1991, we've both had different business plans and goals for our companies, and I think that has led to both of us developing our own followings around town. There is still plenty of folks in Fort Collins that drink both Odell and New Belgium, but you do run into folks that prefer one over the other. New Belgium is our neighbors and when it comes to employees there are a lot of overlap between the two companies. That's all to say that we have a good relationship with New Belgium and we are both here for our love of craft beer!

As of now, we don't have any plans of adding a second brewery on the east coast. Our main focus right now is Colorado and surrounding states.

We don't do too many collaborations with other Fort Collins breweries. It isn't for any specific reason, it just isn't something that comes up often.

stereospeakers12 karma

Have you heard of Tom Odell? Thoughts?

OdellBrewingCompany10 karma

We haven't, but we'll definitely check him out! Maybe he'll get some rotation on our taproom Spotify!

crbmtb11 karma

Are you happy that the beer scene in Fort Collins has gotten as big as it is (along with the whole front range in general)? More choices is not always better, but it seems to be working out OK for now.

OdellBrewingCompany13 karma

Yeah, we love the beer scene in Fort Collins! We believe it is something that makes Fort Collins unique, and we are all beer lovers. It's normal to run into fellow co-workers at other breweries around town.

kryonik9 karma

Any relation to the video game Odell Lake?

OdellBrewingCompany3 karma

Ha, no relation but I bet we could find a co-worker or two around the brewery that is familiar! We'll ask around and find out who has played that game.

USAisAok9 karma

What's your favorite non-ODells brewery in Fort Collins? In Colorado? In the world?

I'm partial to you guys, Horse & Dragon, and Purpose :)

OdellBrewingCompany17 karma

Brandon: I like Prost, Funkwerks and Equinox for Fort Collins, Metric Brewing in Colorado Springs and Manhattan Brewing in Manhattan, KS.

John: Zwei in Fort Collins, Bierstadt in Denver, Sapporo for the world!

Lauryn: Zwei for me as well for Fort Collins! Cohesion, Lady Justice and Our Mutual Friend in Denver for Colorado

Aundrea: Funkwerks for Fort Collins, Casey Brewing in Denver, and Celestial in Texas.

HopandBrew3 karma

How the hell did yall get Celestial beer?

OdellBrewingCompany3 karma

We're allowed to travel out of the state! 😜

smileymn8 karma

Does that guy who looks like Vince Guaraldi still work there?

OdellBrewingCompany5 karma

Ha! We aren't sure; do you know where they worked in the brewery?

smileymn8 karma

Usually at the ordering counter, just had a sweet 60s style stache and old school glasses, used to see him there all the time. Also I’m a local jazz musician who has played there several times, who should I talk to about booking more jazz there in the future?

OdellBrewingCompany6 karma

Send an email to [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])!

Threemor8 karma

Howdy, will St Lupulin return to national liquor stores? I've struggled to find it in MN the past couple years. We used to have it on tap at a restaurant I worked at and it's probably the best American Pale Ale out there! Also, any plans to make more sours? The market is oversaturated with hoppy beers and IPAs.

OdellBrewingCompany6 karma

We brought St. Lup as a seasonal this past January! Check our beer finder to see if it is close to you!

CesarMillan_Official7 karma

How many bikes are currently parked out front?

OdellBrewingCompany13 karma

Thevelvetjones6 karma

Where is the Double Pilsner and how do we get it?

OdellBrewingCompany4 karma

We'll bring back Double Pilsner on our pilot systems in our taprooms about once a year. Follow us on Instagram to stay up to date on new pilot brews and releases. Cheers!

LittlefingerForMayor6 karma

Where do you see craft beer in 5 years in a national and local standpoint?

OdellBrewingCompany7 karma

It's really hard to predict what the craft beer industry will look like in one year, let alone five! The industry is continuing to recover from COVID, which has been slower than almost every one in the industry predicted, so that will affect the next five years as breweries figure out their path forward after coming out of the pandemic.

WYO10166 karma

Are there any plans to tap into (pun intended) the NA beer market? There are a lot of interesting things happening in that space. It's nice to be able to drink good beer without the buzz!

OdellBrewingCompany6 karma

This is something that we have talked about as a brewery but we do not have any plans at this point. We do offer NA beers in our Denver taprooms, however.

gooeyjello5 karma

Do you nationally distribute? I'm in Richmond Virginia and while we have almost 40 breweries in our 62 sq. miles, I love trying beers from other areas.

OdellBrewingCompany3 karma

We currently distribute in 20 states in the mountain west region and parts of the Midwest. You might just need to make a trip to Colorado!

Me_and_MyFriendBeer4 karma

Hi! I love 90 Shilling and Sippin Pretty.

As a beer idiot, how do experimental batches work? How much volume do you get during the testing of a new experimental recipe? What % of your new beer recipes are pure gold vs undrinkable? And how much trial and error is there before you would move to mass production?

OdellBrewingCompany5 karma

Our pilot systems are our playground. Between our Denver satellite breweries in Five Points and Sloans and our OG Fort Collins pilot system, we have quite a bit of bandwidth for experimentation. Each system produces batches ranging from 5 to 15 BBLs per batch. I suppose it's subjective the percentage of great vs. good vs. meh vs. bad beers, but I'll throw an arbitrary estimate out of 35% great, 45% good, 25% meh, 5% bad. For the huge amount of pilots we brew across multiple locations, a minority of them make it to mass production. These select few typically require several test brews at a minimum before scaling up to our large system.

Red_hat_oops4 karma

I had a keg of Levity at my wedding! What would you pick to serve at your wedding and how can I find Levity near me?

OdellBrewingCompany8 karma

Levity is not around anymore!

Here is each of our picks for a wedding keg:

Aundrea - Sippin' Pretty, it is my husband's all time fave

Brandon - IPA, which I did have at my wedding

Schnetty - Lagerado

Lauryn - Solarized

Orangetang803 karma

What happened with Easy Street? It seems like I never find it anymore.

OdellBrewingCompany8 karma

Today is your lucky day! Easy Street is making a comeback on May 19th with full distribution. Cheers!

comedytrek3 karma

What size system do you guys use and do you have any idea how much money you save by propagating your own yeast?

OdellBrewingCompany3 karma

Our production system is 150 bbls. Our pilot system is a 7 bbl system. We have a cellar of 400 bbl tanks, 200 bbl tanks, and 100 bbl tanks.

For yeast, pitchable quantities go for about $1K/10 bbl. Pitching 2500 bbls of wort a week with these pitchable quantities... ouch.

leroi73 karma

I’m a Colorado transplant living in Connecticut. When can I get Odell out here?

OdellBrewingCompany9 karma

By our calculations, it's only about 1,835 miles. Google says it's only a 30-hour drive. See you soon! If you lose steam, you can find us in Illinois.

allsystemsslow2 karma

You folks make great beer, as you might be aware. about to drink a yuzu. Love that one. My question: will you continue to make delicious beer?

OdellBrewingCompany2 karma

Solarized is so good! Cheers! And to answer your question, yes, that is our plan!

Your_Daddy_2 karma

No questions - but a story about a random coincidence involving the Odell Brewing Company

The year was about 2016...

Back then I would get my steps in by walking around these baseball fields on my lunch break - and I while walking - I found an Odell Brewing Company bottle opener on a key ring in the middle of this ball field.

Have never had a beer from there, but it was a cool bottle opener, so score!

Get back to work - discover a girl I work with has the exact bottle opener on her key chain!

What are the odds?!

Anyway - still have it on my keys.

OdellBrewingCompany2 karma

That's an awesome story, thanks for sharing! If you're ever in the area, swing by the taproom and let us know.

cjwazjustthere2 karma

When is positive latitude coming back??

OdellBrewingCompany2 karma

Unfortunately, this one is not making a comeback. Have you tried Juicy Tempo?

sojournadjourned2 karma

Will 5 Barrel be available again?

OdellBrewingCompany2 karma

We bring back 5 Barrel once or twice a year in our taprooms! Swing by next time you get the chance.

blarch2 karma

Can you please send Easy Street Wheat to Texas? I will drink it all. They only can order ipas and 90 schilling at my local spec's

OdellBrewingCompany2 karma

We are bringing back Easy Street in May, with full distribution, so you should be able to find it in Texas!

Herbs_m_spices2 karma

Will 5 barrel ever make a comeback??

OdellBrewingCompany5 karma

We bring back 5 Barrel once or twice a year in our taprooms! Swing by next time you get the chance.

kjkawa891 karma

How is the wine and grape fermentation side of the business going? Do you plan on growing that side of it as well? And how do you ensure you are making good quality products when your main focus has been beer?

OdellBrewingCompany2 karma

When we started The OBC Wine Project, we found Travis Green. He is our winemaker and expert on all things wine and fermentation. We are sourcing grapes from our small grower partners from Oregon, Washington, and Colorado and then we crush, blend, cellar, and package all by hand here at our winery. It's a growing business and we are all along for the ride!