MARSHALL – The bottles of RingNeck Braun Ale that came from the production line at Brau Brothers brewery on Tuesday afternoon seemed the same as usual. A closer look, however, revealed that part of the text on the labels was not English but Swedish.
The beer was part of a shipment that went abroad to Sweden. Brau Brothers recently won a bid to export its brown ale to liquor stores in Sweden. Brau Brothers owner Dustin Brau said that the process has been a learning experience, but an exciting one.
“It’s a big market, and we’m competing against some pretty big breweries,” Sa Brau. “We have never won one of these bids until now.”
Brau explained that Brau Brothers had won a tender, which is like a request for bid, from Sweden’s system of state-owned liquor stores.
“Sweden actually reaches out to breweries” he said. A tender will request a specific style or type of beer and also take into account factors such as cost, quality and taste of the bidders’ products. As part of the tender procedure, Brau Brothers was asked to submit samples of RingNeck Braun Ale for tasting.
“At least we didn’t go down without explaining ourselves first.” Sa Brau. “It was nice to hear that they accepted it.”
Brau Brothers had placed bids on previous bids with its kettle and Old 56 beer, but did not win, said Brau.
“We are always confident in the quality of our beer,” he said. But the competition for tenders can be fierce.
“I was pretty excited” head brewer Mike Roe said Brau Brothers won the bid.
This week, the brewery employees drop enough RingNeck beer to fill a shipping container on the way to Sweden. Roe said they would drop more than 1,200 cases of beer. Brewing for the broadcast began in August, he said.
While the recipe for the beer that is on its way abroad is the same as always, Brau said that there was a lot to learn about exporting the finished product. In addition to learning the legal ropes and deadlines for the tender, the labels for the beer bottles must be redone in Swedish, and Brau Brothers must find a different style for shipping pallets. The pallets used in Europe are shorter than the type used in the United States, he said.
The process has been a bit nerve-wracking, Brau said. But at the same time, it is good to see the brewery busy again after last year’s slowdowns from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re just starting to get back to the flow” he said, with regular production in addition to the RingNeck offer.
Depending on how the RingNeck offer goes, Brau Brothers can continue to try to sell their beer abroad. Brau said it might be interesting to get some international beer reviews.
“It will be fun,” he said.