It’s been a rough bit of time for beer fans here in Cincinnati.  Ei8ht Ball is closing, and the news that Danny Gold would be leaving the Party Source is starting to make its rounds too.  Neither bit of information is a good thing for Cincy Beer when you first hear it.  It’s downright horrible.  What about Quaff Brothers?  Quaff Brothers is one of the original gypsy brands, and one of the most beloved collaborative ideas in Cincy beer.  What’s happening with it?  What’s happening with Mr. Gold?

What’s going on?!

Fear not: this is a happpy story.  Let’s start from the beginning, though.  Quaff Brothers.

Who are the Quaff Brothers?

Quaff Brothers was born from a time when there really wasn’t a ton of craft beer in Cincinnati.  Barrel Aging wasn’t near what it is today, and barrels were hard to come by: especially “good” barrels.  Enter a few great ideas.

  1. The Party Source has private label whiskeys, that come with the barrels used to age them – these are some really great spirits that the barrels alone would be almost impossible to get your hands on if you’re a brewery.
  2. Cincinnati is a city who’s growing beer scene loves collaboration.
  3. We had a growing list of breweries itching to do fun stuff.
  4. The barrels were emtpy
  5. People were thirsty.

So, at the party source, a few minds start to get together and put the pieces in place.  Jay Erisman is the fine spirits manager, Danny Gold is the craft and specialty beer buyer, together they formed the base for what we now know as Quaff Brothers.  From their very first collaboration with Mike Dewey and Mt. Carmel Brewing, to the 20 some odd projects that we’ll see this year from them – Quaff has become something special here in Cincinnati.

The brand joins up with a brewery, comes up with a really fantastic, off the wall idea, sources an often times rare, fun barrel – and boom.  Small batch, craft, collaborative magic happens.

So, What Now?

Now that we know Danny Gold is leaving the party source, now that we’ve got nearly 40 breweries in Cincinnati… what does it all mean for Quaff?  I had a chat with Danny himself the other day to see if I could understand it all a little better.

I wish there was a simple answer.  Danny Gold and Party Source aren’t at war, this is a splitting of ways that leaves both parties in each other’s good graces (this is good news).  We know that we’ve got a TON of Quaff projects in barrels, ready to be released.  This year looks to be one of the best years for Quaff releases that we’ve seen yet. (This is more good news). We’ve got a ton of great projects on the way with:

  • Listermann
  • Yellow Springs
  • Mash Cult
  • Urban Artifact
  • Fifty West
  • Blank Slate
  • Rhinegeist
  • Braxton

As for 2018 and beyond?  I don’t get the impression that Danny is looking for this brand to die at all.

What could we see from this in the future?  I have a hard time imagining that the spirit of collaboration, the relationship that the Quaff brand has established here in Cincinnati for nearly ten years will be able to not exist.  In fact, I would argue that Quaff Brothers has become an integral part of what Cincinnati Beer is.

I like to think of this “gyspy brand” as a glue that ties all of our separate breweries together.  Once you’re a Quaff Brother, you’re always a Quaff Brother.  You can’t change that.  Collaboration, creativity, the meeting of minds… these are all things that separate the business of craft beer from the lifestyle of craft beer.

In talking with Danny, he emphasized that we’d still have Quaff Brothers… it would just be “different”.  It’s still early to see exactly what it’s all going to look like, but I’m fairly certain that it’s safe to say that collaboration will always be a huge part of this city, and Quaff Brothers as a brand will always be a huge part of that as well.

What About Danny?

Don’t you worry about this guy.  I chatted with him on the phone when I was prepping this post, and although he didn’t have any news to share about where he’d land, yet (He “just wasn’t sure yet”) I could almost hear the gears in his head spinning at the possiblities.  He’s going to travel for a bit (hopefully collecting ideas for more collaborative beers) and when he pops back up in Cincinnati in a short time – I’m confident that with him will come a new excitement for Quaff Brothers (whatever that means at that time)

So – the moral of the story here is a very simple, and a very happy one.  You can Quaff On.  You can rest easy.  In fact, you can get excited.  Quaff Brothers lives, Quaff Brothers is stretching its legs.  It’s impossible for a project like this to die in Cincinnati.

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