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Great State: Free Wort Fetches Foamy Wares

MIDWEST CITY, OKLAHOMA — We’re at the Roughtail Brewery headquarters,” explains Blaine Stansel on a tour of what used to be a garage for shade tree mechanics.

Stansel and brewing partner Tony Tielli were both avid home brewers to start.

“We had similar aspirations,” says Blaine.

Then they both did what all craft beer makers dream of doing.

They went into the business of making it.

Stansel, who runs the business side of this new brewery insists, “There’s a lot of room for growth.”

It’s a 10 barrel operation.

Roughtail Brewing makes 300 gallons at a time.

Their latest offering is a bottle release called Hoptometrist.

“It’s an ‘eye’ PA,” chuckles Blaine, “It’s a double ‘eye’ PA actually.”

That offering is already sold out.

Like any new business Roughtail wanted to get their name out there among potential beer drinking customers.

They did it by giving away, not the beer itself, but the raw materials.

“It wasn’t actually beer yet,” he says.

Blaine put out the word that home brewers could come and get the ‘wort’ which is basically beer before it ferments.

They offered hobbyists the chance to come up with their own recipes.

Blaine says, “We’re trying to appeal to a different crowd.”

So on a Sunday afternoon a few weeks after their wort giveaway, Sean McCann brought a few bottles back to Roughtail for a taste.

“I took the pale ale they gave me and I brewed an entirely different beer,” he explains.

“Then I added them together and dry hopped them to make it different.”

Julie Hancock brought another recipe. “I added ginger and coriander,” she says.

Ken Norris brought his two beer recipes on ice inside a plastic, Brute trash can.

“I’ve gotten some good comments on my brews,” he smiles.

All the home brewers liked the wort.

They liked their beer.

But they loved the marketing idea the Roughtail partners came up with.

“It was a really neat deal,” says home brewer McCann. “It brought a lot of people together and really put craft brewing in Oklahoma¬†into the center light.”

The Roughtail partners still aren’t making enough money to quit tehir day jobs.

But they got a thumbs up from fellow brewers who found the wort worthy, and the party a tasty one.

Roughtail Beer started brewing in April.

If you’re interested in tasting any of their recipes, they have a website with a map showing which establishments in Tulsa and OKC have them on tap.

http://www.roughtailbeer.com