- Conception – 1999
Troy awoke one morning in December of 1993 with the idea of calling our new flagship product Hoppy Face™ Amber Ale. This was a fun “little” name he felt, and he soon found some people trying to talk him into naming his brew with a name which was a little more serious in nature. However, he believed this was a perfect marriage between his highly-hopped “hoppy” home brew, and the label he had designed for an annual summer beach party called – Beach Bash Amber Ale, which featured a smiling sunshine with rays “face”; so we now had a name to go with our flagship product…
From there, and after a great deal of energy went into trying to get our flagship product on the market, we made our commercial product debut on July 15, 1994 at the Northern California Small Brewer’s Festival in Mountain View, California. Not having our own brewery, Troy had found a place in southern California with some excess capacity and he began driving down there every two weeks to brew and package our Hoppy Face Amber Ale. A month after our debut, our six-packs hit the store shelves. Somewhere along the way we had picked up a distributor, so upon making our debut, we already had distribution access to all of Santa Clara county. We proceeded to grow, and by the end of 1994 we had distribution arrangements which completely covered the entire San Francisco Bay Area…
As we continued to grow in 1995, we found a brewery closer to San Jose that had some excess capacity and would let Troy come in and brew our flagship product, which reduced the need for the long drives to Southern California. In 1995 we saw our retail locations increase through more chain authorizations, and with a small distribution entrance into the states of Idaho and Colorado. In addition, we began attending a number of “charitable” festivals to help spread our word. Somewhere during the year, Troy began looking at buildings in the Willow Glen area of San Jose to use for our first brewpub. Much to his dismay, Troy was able to find a perfect building, but was unable to put a proper “deal” together that was fair and equitable to both our company, and/or the building owner and investors.
Early in 1996 we saw the debut of our company on the world wide web. In addition, our Hoppy Face™ won a silver medal in the India Pale Ale category at the World Beer Championships. In April, we became the only “micro” available at the single “A” San Jose Giants stadium. In July we released our second product Liquid Sunshine™ and our Hoppy Face™ in 22 ounce bottles. Later that year in the middle of October, we released our third product Total Eclipse™, which rounded out our basic portfolio of beers. Just after Thanksgiving we released our very special holiday ale, aptly named Hoppy Claus™ for only a limited time. While all this was going on, in July Troy gave up on finding a suitable Willow Glen location and began focusing on downtown San Jose.
1997 saw the craft brew industry continuing to grow and more and more people getting into the business. Troy continued to work on building a brewpub in downtown San Jose and even looked into opening one in nearby Campbell, but was unable to construct anything that was fair to our company and our investors. However, we continued to expand our festival involvement with the likes of the San Jose America Festival and the San Jose International Beer Festival, our corporate sponsorship continued to grow with the San Jose Rhino’s roller hockey team, and we even expanded (for a time)our distribution network to include the San Diego area. Towards the end of the year, we entered into a partnership with one of our customers and assumed operations of a microbrewery in the foothills east of Sacramento. Although, not a brewpub and not in the Bay Area, it still gave us an opportunity at brewing our own products under our own roof, and potential access to expand our distribution to the Central Valley and the Lake Tahoe areas. The “real” highlight of ’97 came with our Hoppy Claus™ Holiday Ale winning a Silver Medal in the Herb/Spice category at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado.
The bubble burst for the craft brew market in California in 1998. Too many people in the business, distributors taking on too many brands, and retailers not being able to push through enough product to consumers to keep everyone’s wheels turning. Distributors went out of business, our business venture east of Sacramento evaporated when our business partner pulled out at mid-year. To put it mildly – 1998 was not a pretty year for many brewers in the craft beer business. On the bright side, our Hoppy Springs™ Pre-Brewed Spring Water made its debut at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado as the official water sponsor of the festival. In addition, we continued to brew our products and get them to as many customers as possible.
In 1999 Troy continued to look for potential brewpub locations, while continuing to brew at a location with excess capacity, and eventually found an opportunity in Sacramento. After creating a number of proposals over the years, it was finally nice to see one come to real fruition. It took several months of negotiations, but we opened our doors in Sacramento on the first of June, and have seen a steady increase in our sales and in people learning about our business ever since. Towards the end of the year, our Total Eclipse won first place at the California Brewers Festival in the Robust Porter category. In addition, our brewpub finally got its DSL installed and has been continuously posting live pictures of our place to our website so that people can get an idea of what is happening around here.
- 2000 – 2009
In 2000 we all worked really hard to continue to increase consumer awareness about our company, our products, and our brewpub here in East Sacramento. We continued to tweak functions of the bartenders, bussers, servers, and the kitchen staff with policy and procedure manuals so that we could continue to try and provide the very best customer service possible as personnel change. We also routinely made changes in the food and beer menu’s to keep things fresh and exciting, all while continuing to provide our customers with interesting quality menu items. We also managed to sneak in before the end of the year with the installation of our first wireless network card. This feature is for those nearby business people who come in to our place and want to conduct work, but do not have an internet connection from their laptop. Now they are able to plug into our network and have high speed DSL Internet access to conduct their business if they wish. Also, we expanded our to-go business through “Food To You” with their the online food delivery service.
What a strange surreal year 2001 was… The year started off with rolling blackouts, skyrocketing energy bills, and ended with planes flying into skyscrapers… Through it all, we continued to grow at a steady pace, improving by about 14% in 2001 over 2000. Our Total Eclipse™ Black Ale won First Place at the annual California State Fair competition in August, and then in September it won a Silver Medal at the annual Great American Beer Festival!!! We released our Stony Face™ Red Ale to the bottle and keg market in August. We went from self distributing here in our local market to having our products distributed by KaWika Distributing in September.
In 2002 we grew by about 10% from 2001. We also went from having one specialty brew per month to having two specialty brews each month for our customers to sample here at our brewpub. Our Total Eclipse™ Black Ale won a Silver Medal at the 8th Annual California Brewer’s Festival held here in Sacramento! We even added a forklift to our equipment list to help out with those various lifting chores. We stopped contract brewing for Hangtown Brewing, and gave them back their bottling machine. In the marketing area, Ms. Lauren Beltran did a wonderful job coordinating, and even attending a few, beer festivals, charitable events, promotions, and everything else when it comes to people/organizations who want donations for some specific cause, or even just want FREE beer from a local brewery… We also finally got the mural by Mr. Edward Sakai hung above the bar just before Christmas. If you have not seen his wonderful piece of art, feel free to stop in to see it in person.
We exceeded the industry average with a solid eight percent growth in 2003, which was down slightly from 2002’s nine percent growth. We “finally” acquired our own bottling machine, and got it up and running, which lead to less time being spent on bottling… We also improved little things to make various pieces of equipment more energy efficient. A Hoppy Root Beer was produced and released, but a number of stability issues arose from this product which caused us to discontinue it. Also, a line of Hoppy House Wines were added to the menu to provide greater brand visibility. In the marketing area, Ms. Lauren Beltran did another wonderful job coordinating, and even attending a few, beer festivals, charitable events, promotions, and everything else when it comes to people/organizations who want donations for some specific cause, or even just want FREE beer from a local brewery… However, she left the company in December and was replaced by Jessica Karkoski, who was studying marketing at Sacramento State University. We took care of some infrastructure issues by adding an anti-slip coating to the bathroom floors, new tables cloths and umbrella’s for the outside tables, lighting on the mural above the bar, bar mats and sampler trays, baby changing stations in the bathrooms and even got the parking lot re-striped.
2004 saw us play host to the Olympic Track & Field Finals over at Sacramento State in July, which created our busiest month of the year, which is normally the slowest, with the arrival of the Olympic Track & Field Finals, and two weeks of us running an additional temporary restaurant/entertainment facility under a tent in our back parking lot. We replaced Bill’s Brown Ale, with Earl’s Hopfarm Auburn Ale as part of our regular product portfolio in the brewpub, which has been a refreshing replacement. We continued to exceed the industry average with a solid 15% growth in revenue from the previous year, which helped us we put down a new commercial vinyl floor in the kitchen, we reupholstered the seat backings in the restaurant, we added new lunch and weekend brunch menu covers, we added a new neon sign to the front of the building, we installed a new Point of Sale system, and we acquired a liquor license for use in catering and providing a limited “top-shelf” selection in the restaurant.
In 2005 we continued to exceed the industry average with a solid 9% growth in revenue from the previous year. We hired our first outside sales person to help grow our wholesale distribution around the state of California with our bottled and kegged products. Morrow Distributing picked up our brands where KaWika left off covering the Sacramento area. In addition, we put down a new carpet in the dining room, replaced the old TV’s with new Hi-Definition TV’s, continued to paint as necessary, we added new colored dishware to further enhance your dining experience, replaced the old stainless server counters with new sturdier ones, we replaced the broiler in the kitchen, and we expanded Brunch to include Saturdays and Monday holidays.
In 2006 we continued our annual trend with a solid 6.4% growth in revenue from the previous year. The crew continued to add to their inventory of awards by taking several awards at the State Fair this year, along with garnering a Bronze medal in the Robust Porter category for the Total Eclipse™ Black Ale at the Great American Beer Festival in October. Our little Hoppy logo bottle caps debuted on our bottled products in June, which not only dress the bottle up nicely, but also double for cute little magnets and pins when the hostesses feel a little crafty… 🙂
In the Sales & Marketing area, with Ms. Terri Burch at the helm, she did a wonderful job adding new distributors to our wholesale network in California, getting chain authorizations at the Beverage’s & more stores, Andronico’s, Nugget Markets, and Whole Foods Markets, and even some self distribution into the north Bay Area counties. Shelf Talkers and Door Static’s were added to the marketing inventory to give our products greater visibility amongst the competition. She continued where Ms. Jessica Karkoski left off by coordinating festival and charitable donations, getting the staff involved, along with attending a number of beer festivals, charitable events, promotions, and everything else when it comes to people/organizations that want donations for some specific cause, or even just want FREE beer from a local brewery.
In addition, we added a brick oven pizza in order to serve pizza in the evening, and we ended having to add another one to keep up with the demand at certain times. We removed the spent oil bin by the dumpster area and installed a self contained fresh/used oil system via Restaurant Technologies. We also installed a new double deep fryer system with a built in filtration unit to extend the life of our deep fryer oil. We also installed a hood exhaust system in the dishwashing area to aid with airflow throughout the kitchen, and we installed a lovely new hot water heater. From the customer’s point of view, the temperature sensors were moved to measure the return air, which essentially made the air throughout the restaurant more consistent and enjoyable, thereby reducing the number of issues with people being too hot and/or too cold. We also installed two sets of speakers above the bar area for customers at the bar who wish to have some volume on the TV without disturbing the rest of the customers in the restaurant. Lastly, the utility pole in the “middle” of the entrance was “finally” moved out of the way!!! 🙂
We saw the first signs of the weakening economy in 2007 when it would have been nice to report that wey continued our annual trend of growth, but as Spring arrived, so did a more humbling experience with us being temporarily closed for 10 days. The closure gave us a considerable setback in momentum. However, on a positive note, had it not been for a strong wholesale business and a loyal following of bar clientele, we probably would not have made it through the year. In continuing to pursue efficiency, we replaced the old sodium lights with new energy efficient fluorescent bulbs. In addition, other energy efficient items were installed like a timer on the ice machine to only make ice at night, the outside lights were put on a photo-sensor, and new front doors were installed. A display shelf behind the bar was installed to feature more prominently Hoppy’s “top-shelf” liquors. Lastly, the back parking lot was resealed and re-striped, thereby making parking more functional and customer friendly.
With Ms. Terri Burch at the marketing helm, she did a wonderful job adding new distributors to our wholesale network in California. She continued coordinating festival and charitable donations, getting the staff involved, along with attending a number of beer festivals, charitable events, promotions, and everything else when it comes to people/organizations that want donations for some specific cause, or even just want FREE beer from a local brewery.
From a back of the house standpoint, Ms. Jennifer Rembert got the policy manuals translated to Spanish, worked on developing the “now-what” guide when a power outage occurs or some other such major interruption happens. She also rolled out artwork for a Beer Ambassador (BA) t-shirt with a promotion on discounted pints when one wears their BA shirt. In addition, Mr. Chris Baerwaldt officially retired Hoppy’s original server “WORT” after 10 years of service with a brand spanking new server aptly named “CHEERS”. In addition, wireless access points were consolidated and updated with newer technologies.
In 2008 with the state of economic affairs running in a downward spiral around the country, we were glad to report that we were running right with the industry trend with a 6% growth for 2008. Now with that being said, there were some challenging times throughout the year… In the brewing area the primary improvement was the introduction of pre-printed case boxes, along with some updated labels that were federally approved, thereby allowing cross country distribution. Ms. Terri Burch continued coordinating festival and charitable donations, getting the staff involved, along with attending a number of beer festivals, charitable events, promotions, and everything else when it comes to people/organizations that want donations for some specific cause, or even just want FREE beer from a local brewery. In addition, half of the outside patio chairs were replaced with new ones. From a back of the house standpoint, we implemented our first wave of Cruiser Bikes for those who’ve been with the company the longest. 😉
In 2009 with the economy still struggling, we saw the introduction us augmenting our online presence by utilizing Twitter and Facebook on a daily basis with the posting of our Brunch, Lunch, Dinner and other daily features. We were stung by the ABC with the serving of an undercover minor decoy and forced to serve 10 days of not being able to sell alcohol. On a positive note, we celebrated our 10th Anniversary here in Sacramento and our 15th year being in the craft beer business in June. In the Sales & Marketing area, Ms. Terri Burch left in June, with Mr. Tyson Herzog taking over the wholesale operations area. Mr. Herzog added the State of Minnesota to Hoppy’s growing portfolio of wholesale distributors.
- 2010 – Present
In 2010 with the state of economic affairs showing signs of life, albeit anemic at best around the country, we pretty much held our own with a modest 4.6% increase for the year. In the Brewing area last year the focus was on the educational aspect of the Hops Clinic beers. A new computer for the brewery was purchased, which replaced the old relic the brewers had been using for years. More 5.0 gallon kegs were acquired to help supply our growing off-premise wholesale business, along with a new 30 barrel (bbl) fermentation tank to accommodate our growing wholesale business.
In the Sales & Marketing area, Mr. Tyson Herzog was joined in mid year by Mr. Scott Patterson, with Scott focusing on Charitable Contributions, Special Events, and overall Marketing, and with Tyson focusing on the local wholesale operations. With that being said, Mr. Herzog added the State of Oregon to Hoppy’s growing portfolio of wholesale distributors at the beginning of last year with positive results from that competitive market. In addition, we also added Florida Micro Beverage Distributors to its growing list of wholesale distribution network. The coordination of festival and charitable donations started the year off with Ms. Stephanie Gillett at the helm, and by mid year was totally taken over by Mr. Patterson as she set her sights on the likes of moving to the Big Apple. Mr. Patterson made huge strides with not just attending a number of beer festivals, charitable events, promotions, and everything else when it comes to people/organizations that want donations for some specific cause, or even just want FREE beer from a local brewery, but also getting the staff involved in attending them as well. In addition, Hoppy continued to augment its online presence by utilizing Twitter and Facebook on a daily basis with our Brunch, Lunch, Dinner and other daily features; along with joining the new frontier of QR tagging.
On the restaurant side of the house, we were voted as having the Best Happy Hour in Sacramento. We expanded our $2 menu options for our Late-Night Hoppy Hour, switched our meatballs to bison, switched to whole grain pasta, improved the kids menu, and even switched our pizza dough to using whole grain. Lastly, with all that being said, new patio chairs were purchased in time for Spring. The front parking lot was resurfaced at the end of Summer. We replaced the TV on the stage. A TV, and blinds, for the Fireplace Room was added, which was a huge hit with those conducting business presentations. A new computer for the end of the bar was installed, which is used as a public kiosk, that replaced the old one that had grown slower over the years. Eco-friendly products (aka compostable) replaced much of the daily plastic-wear around the restaurant, along with Hoppy logo kids cups and cups that can be used out at festivals without adding to the plethora of garbage in our landfills…
From a back of the house standpoint, work was done on updating the newsletter formats, and some work on the website. With the new newsletter format, QR’s were added to help add value to our online marketing, both from your standpoint and ours. Online scheduling was introduced for our management and staff to use. ISP’s were changed to provide better phone and data service with installation of a dedicated T1.
In 2011 with the state of economic affairs showing signs of life, albeit anemic at best around the country, we once again pretty much held our own with a modest 3.2% increase for the year, but we actually set a record for sales in one year, which had previously been set in 2006. In addition, December turned in the busiest month on record since December 2006 set the record. In the Sales & Marketing area, Mr. Tyson Herzog and Mr. Scott Patterson, worked on a number of things to expand our reach. With that being said, Mr. Herzog had the States of Illinois (Fox Distributing), Ohio (Hill Distributing), Pennsylvania (Nevulis Distributing), and Florida (Florida Micro-Beverage which became Brown Distributing) in our growing portfolio of wholesale distributors to work with. As far as retail chain’s go, we made the authorized list in Save Mart and Sunflower Markets this past year. In addition, we recently added Delreka Distributing to cover the extreme northwest coast of California to our growing list of wholesale distribution network. Lastly, the rear parking lot was resurfaced and restriped at the end of Summer. New chairs, coffee table, and end tables were purchased for the stage.
Beer production grew by 4.0% in 2012 from the previous year with Mr. Ed Kopta working to keep inventories fresh, along with producing creative monthly specials. Most notably we had some brite tank issues during the course of the year…
In the Sales & Marketing area, Mr. Tyson Herzog and Mr. Scott Patterson, worked on a number of things to expand Hoppy’s reach, which resulted in a 29% growth in our wholesale business from 2011. In addition, we recently added Delta Pacific Beverage Company to cover the central valley of California (i.e., Stockton, Modesto, & Sonora) to our growing list of wholesale distribution network. The coordination of festival and charitable donations was continued to be managed in great part by Mr. Scott Patterson. On the restaurant side of the house, one of the biggest changes was switching from a $2 taco promotion on Tuesday’s to a $10 Burger, Fries, & Drink (BFD) promotion, which increased our burger sales by 87% on that day.
For 2013 in the Sales & Marketing area, Mr. Scott Patterson, worked on a number of things to expand Hoppy’s reach around the country. With that being said, Mr. Patterson brought onboard the States of Nevada, (not just Reno and Tahoe — Las Vegas loves them some Hoppy!) (Barone Imports); Georgia, Washington DC, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Missouri and Michigan (Nevulis Distributing), Massachusetts (Abacus Distributing) and a whole new selection of counties in California — from Monterey to Marin, Amador, Calaveras, Tuolumne, and Alpine Counties (Geyser Distributing) in our growing portfolio of wholesale distributors to work with. As far as retail chain’s go, let’s say this — we are available at every major chain except Safeway (if you shop at Safeway — keep asking for our Hoppy products), we could also be found in Gourmet, Large chain Wine & Liquor stores as well as many smaller stores. As for finding tap handles — the list is constantly growing in Sacramento. Finally, we could also be found at the home of one major sports team in California! So if you see Hoppy, pick up a bottle located at the California Craft Beer Kiosk near Section 106 in the arena, make sure to buy some… 😉
We made a huge splash at Burning Man again this year, when 17 kegs were purchased by one camp alone! Our Hoppy “Road Crew” made huge strides with not just attending a number of beer festivals, charitable events, promotions, and everything else when it comes to people/organizations that want donations for some specific cause, or even just want FREE beer from a local brewery, but also getting the staff involved in attending them as well. In addition, we produced five (5) new TV spots, you can/could see these spots on Comcast Sportsnet — during these games: Giant’s, A’s, Shark’s, & Kings, just to name a few.
In 2014 with the state of economic affairs showing signs of continued improvement around the country, we were glad to report that we had a modest 9.8% increase in sales for 2014. This increase also set a record for sales in one year, which had previously been set in 2012. In addition, October turned in the busiest month on record since December of 2014. Most notably we continued to have some brite tank issues during the course of the year, and was able to mitigate it somewhat by acquiring 12 pallets of used kegs. That being said, without finding an additional location this year, we will be facing similar issues this year…
In the Sales & Marketing area, Mr. Scott Patterson, worked on a number of things to expand Hoppy’s reach, which resulted in a 3.0% growth in our wholesale business from 2013. According to Mr. Patterson, we are sure many of you have seen us at events, festivals, and fairs throughout this past year. We put in nearly 5,000 miles in Northern California alone. We would like to thank the Sacramento community (as well as all surrounding areas for your support). Without that support, we could not #payitforward… Some of the organizations we are pleased to support (just to name a couple) Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services, WEAVE, Make-a-Wish, LGBT Center, JDRF, CASA, as well as many churches and service clubs.
In terms of Sales accomplishments for 2014, we really had a booming year. In order to keep better quality control on our products, we slowly have eliminated some distribution on the East Coast, which means the numbers of states carrying our products is less than in 2013, but our sales closer to home have increased and we can assure our customers of a fresher product. If you are missing us out that way, be patient, we will be back — we just want to make sure we do it right.
Our California distributors are our focus currently, with the folks in Nevada excited and ready to expand throughout the state — yep, Las Vegas included! (We will let you know what casinos pick up the Hoppy brands when that is finalized).
In Santa Clara County (the birthplace of Hoppy in 1994), we hired a sales rep that will concentrate on that one county — we have been popping up everywhere in draft AND bottles. If you don’t find your favorite Hoppy style, ask for it by name. Mr. Steve Rickman handles that county and will gladly take your emails and put his smooth sales technique to work and get some Hoppy in your favorite retailer or watering hole!
** The exciting new sales accounts we picked up in the seven county areas around Sacramento include a really large club store, it’s not Sam’s Club, but just as big. Although this big box store is known for it’s samples.
** The locally owned grocery chain that has two different banners in this area also picked up all four styles of the Hoppy brand and we need your help picking up a bottle here and there while in those stores. If you don’t see which one you want, just ask the store folks to carry it! A customer request has a huge impact on these local grocery stores.
** Finally, we made a pretty decent size placement at a REGAL venue here in Sacramento. We placed our draft and bottles in a California Craft Beer stand in the same building (Section 106). While across the building on the other side is a stand-alone Hoppy kiosk (Section 114).
On the restaurant side of the house, we continued to provide our customers with interesting, high-quality, menu items, and friendly customer service, while maintaining a fun, friendly environment for you to come and enjoy yourself.
Things that we accomplished that you may, or may not, be aware of are:
– A special thanks to Ogilvie Innovations for dragging our aging website into the 21st century, so hopefully we will keep it more up-to-date with current content for you.
– We upgraded our Point of Sale system.
– We upgraded our security system.
– We began switching out our lighting system with LED’s.
– We almost finished installing tile for the kitchen floor.
– We promoted Mrs. Jonalin Welsh to our General Manager position.
– We promoted Mrs. Nicole Gazeta to our Executive Chef position.