I sat down with Jason & Tadhg Campbell of Slack Tide Brewing to talk about their upcoming 2nd Anniversary event happening on Saturday, January 20th. What started out with zero employees (other than themselves) has grown to 2 full-time employees and 2 volunteers with hopes to add 2 more employees by late spring of this year. When Slack Tide opened they were brewing on a 20-gallon Tippy Dump system from More Beer and for the first 5 months. They quickly transitioned to a 3BBL system in April of 2016. Both of those systems were able to get them through until October of 2017 when they commissioned into service their current 10 BBL system. “It’s been a nice progression of systems”, Tadhg explained. The 20-gallon Tippy Dump was like an advanced homebrew system. The 3BBL had some nice features but also gave you some homebrew aspects. The 10 BBL system is a fully automated system, but the progression of systems really helped with the learning curve. The people at American Beer Equipment, who they purchased the 10 BBL system from, were extremely helpful and sent guys down to stay as long as was needed until they were comfortable with the system. (One funny side note, they recently sold their 20-gallon Tippy Dump and it was actually being picked up the day of this interview). I asked them what were their best and worst decisions they’ve made, and with a chuckle, Tadhg said, “opening a brewery” for both answers. After a good laugh, Jason told us “by far opening the brewery was the best decision”, and Tadhg added “trying to stick to a wide array of styles on their board.” Tadhg continued “we try to make something for everyone who comes through the door”. The brothers both agree that there haven’t been that many setbacks over the two years with the exception of being a little delayed on the packaging aspect of the brewery, specifically with canning and bottling. “It was not by choice, it was more out of necessity due to the cost of equipment, and putting the main effort into making a great product” Jason explained. “Also, we wanted to make it through the first year or so to see if it would match what we thought was going to happen”.
I hear from people all over how they love the nautical name of the brewery and the beers. During today’s interview, I found out the Slack Tide name was in a little jeopardy. While in the early stages of opening, they received a call from 3 Daughters Brewing in St. Petersburg who wanted to name a beer of theirs “Slack Tide”. Once the Campbell’s informed 3 Daughters they were definitely opening the brewery, they backed off the name and wished them luck. The beer names themselves come from a board in the back that employees put their ideas on. The guys really do put some thought into matching the right name to a beer. Example: Treble Hook. Treble means 3 and Treble Hook is their triple Belgium. “There are some names we love, and the public doesn’t, and some that we aren’t so hot on, but the public loves” we were told. In the end, it is the beer that really matters. And speaking of beer, what are the styles and names of the 2 new 2nd anniversary beers for Saturday? The first one will be a Triple IPA called “Overnighter” named after tuna trips the guys like to take (also if you have too many you may want to stay overnight). The second one is a Berliner Weisse Kettle Sour with hints of pineapple and cranberry called “Haywire Twist”. I had the honor to sample this unique beer and think it will be a huge hit. Looking ahead I asked what their hopes for the 3 year anniversary are. Almost in unison, they said for people to be able to come in and purchase 6 packs. Also, adding some more taps is something Tadhg would like to see. I have no doubt that this will be achieved. The Campbell brothers and the entire staff at Slack Tide continue to grow and impress with every new beer they put out. Tadhg also added, “we have a true sense of co-opetition, and craft beer spirit”. Yeah, I had to look it up too, but co-opetition means collaboration between business competitors, in the hope of mutually beneficial results which, in the end, is good for everyone!
ENJOY YOUR POUR!