Modern Times Beer, located in San Diego, CA, will soon begin distributing beer throughout Washington and Oregon. Launch events will take place from February 22 to 26 in WA (more details soon), and afterwards the full lineup of regularly-distributed Modern Times Beer will be available in Seattle.
I have only had the pleasure of sampling Modern Times beers a couple of times, but they certainly have a good reputation and I am looking forward to getting to know their beer better. Check out their beer release calendar for more details on what we’ll see here in Seattle. CEO and Founder Jacob McKean said on BA, “It’ll be full regular distro of everything other than tasting room-only releases. So seasonals, monthly bombers & cans, some funky/sour 750s, etc…We’re extremely excited for this and are consequently lavishing attention on these launches; there will be loads of barrel-aged rarities at the events. We’ve also got several collabs in the works, including with Great Notion & Wandering Aengus.”
McKean was kind enough to answer a few questions for me today. Check out the virtual mini-interview below.
1) Tell us about your beers. From a quick look at your release calendar on the website, I notice a few main themes: hops, coffee and sour/saison. Why is the PNW an attractive market for your beer?
The animating ethos of Modern Times is to make beer geek beer available to everyone. You shouldn’t have to wait in line at 6am in a parking lot to drink world class, cutting edge craft beer. Stylistically, our line-up runs the gamut, with a particular focus on hybrid styles and session-ish ABVs, but the broad themes are aroma and complexity. From our saison to our oatmeal coffee stout to our hoppy wheat or our IPA, our beers always have a bangin’ aroma and a layered, intense, saturated flavor profile. The PNW is a great market for us because we do best in areas with the most educated, advanced beer drinkers. Our beers, our aesthetic, and our deep commitment to business ethics matches the zeitgeist of the PNW extremely well. We also want a plausible business excuse to visit more often. Oh, and we’re a world class specialty coffee roaster, which also seems like a good fit.
2) Modern Times has been open less than 4 years. It sounds like a lot has happened since Day 1. Can you give us a quick summary of the evolution of the brewery and what is driving the expansion of distribution into the NW?
A enormous amount has happened in the 3.5 years since we opened. We’ve grown for a 4 person draft-only operation to a 105 person company cranking out cans, bottles, kegs, loads of barrel-aged monsters and lots of extremely tasty coffee. We’ve also opened a satellite tasting room, and we have 3 more in the works (two with on-site brewing.) Even though we produce way more beer than I ever dreamed we would, the overwhelming majority of that is sold within a few hours of the brewery. We’ve recently brought a bunch of new gear and capacity improvements online, including new canning and bottling lines, several giant new tanks, and a centrifuge. That has given us the opportunity to start sending our beer a bit farther afield (and have it hold-up much better when we do), and the PNW has long been one of our top priorities.
3) Seattle is a very competitive market with lots of outstanding beer. We’ve seen breweries enter the Seattle market before and then disappear, often because a brewery fails to support the brand. What will you be doing to make sure you have continued success in Seattle (and the NW)?
We’ll have a sales rep in the field supporting us from day one, ensuring that our beer is staying fresh and is being sold in the right places. We are indeed lavishing attention on these launches, and many of us have deep roots in the area, whether from previous brewing jobs or working with hops growers or being involved in the music and coffee scenes. But ultimately what’s going to make the difference for us is the beer itself. In a competitive market, if the beer doesn’t kick ass and doesn’t fill a unique niche, it’ll disappear. Obviously we hope and believe that our beer is awesome enough and unique enough to earn a place in the PNW.