For those not up to speed on the inaugural internet sale of Duck-Duck-Gooze that occurred last month, Let us recap. On August 8th Lost Abbey offered an allotment of six bottles per customer using an e-commerce system provided by Nexternal. The sale was met with a lot of backlash due to a 2.5 hour gap in service (by Lost Abbey’s estimation) that caused a less than stellar shopping experience for those involved. Jeff and I caught up with Director of Brewery Operations Tomme Arthur at last week’s Lost Abbey/Port Brewing Tap Takeover at Mohawk Bend and asked about his feelings looking back on the release and the future of Lost Abbey.
What we expected to be a sore subject for the brewer was positively viewed as a learning experience and we were met with a lot of optimism about the future of internet beer release.
“We [battle-tested] the system. Despite a two and a half hour burp in the service, we were still able to sell seven thousand bottles in six hours.”
When asked his opinion on where the sale ran into problems, Arthur explained that the overwhelming traffic had caused Nexternal to believe they were experiencing a denial of service attack.
“The problem wasn’t the amount of customers. It was the fact that all of them had four or five devices all refreshing constantly creating the appearance of a DoS attack. Their system had never been subjected to such traffic in a public sale.“
Arthur went on to explain that this experience has taught Nexternal a great deal about what is needed to run a successful sale in the near future and that he is confident the kinks had been ironed out. There is a future in internet release and upcoming sales should be able to handle the type of traffic they encountered in August. The most backlash was likely suffered by Nexternal, as many of their smaller clients, primarily in the wine market, were also left without service causing far reaching effects beyond Lost Abbey’s customers.
While on the subject of the future and the growth of Lost Abbey, we asked about capacity and when Lost Abbey would outgrow its current San Marcos brewery. Arthur said they were already maxed out on their four day brewing schedule and may have to increase production to a six day brewing schedule in the near future.
“We’ll probably have reached the end of our ability to grow in the space by the end of next year.”
Once this happens, the brewery plans to reach a brief platue in production, allowing them to recoup equipment costs as they search for a space suitable for the next level of production, which they anticipate moving to as early as 2016.
On the other end of the spectrum, their barrel program, for both spirit and sour barrels, is constantly expanding. Right now they have an 800 barrel capacity with another 200 being added in the next year. In the next few years they hope to triple that number to 3000 barrels to keep up with demand for barrel aged beers.