It all started because a certain someone loved craft beer from the time she was able to drink!
Down to homebrewers outpost in Flagstaff Az goes future brewmaster Jeff Dicus and purchases an extract kit for an amber – her favorite beer. A month later she drinks it and states ” that’s not bad!” – a fewer amount of cases of bottles bought this month. There Jeff goes again to buy another extract beer making kit from Homebrewers outpost and again the reply from brewmistress and friends is “not bad!” Fewer cans and cases bought by the neighbors in Kachina Village who gracefully volunteered to be samplers and judges of the new brews. Now the brewmaster in training gets a whole grain kit from homebrewers outpost and the beer turns out to be “good” instead of not bad.
The couple joins the home brewers club in Flagstaff Az Mountain top Mashers and hangs out with lots of homebrewers and continue to make whole grain batches now not from kits, but from extensively researched and complicated recipes. Generally Susanne and Jeff Brewmistress and Brewaster spent hours and hours of research sampling different brews and understanding the brewing process and the flavor profiles of grains and hops and yeast and figured out what they like and what they didn’t like. Many friends and neighbors sampled and commented and the consensus of the inner circle was that there were a lot of excellent craft beers out there which were big, > 8% abv OR imperial or robust and lots of hoppy hoppy beers of many styles, however, it was harder to find an easily drinkable full flavored mildly hopped session craft beer pouring from a tap available in liquor stores.
Jeff and Susanne continued to brew and brew and upgraded the 5 gallon home brew system to a 20 gallon system, invested in corny kegs as bottling was so wasteful and time consuming and invested in some blue barrels for fermenters. The kitchen turned into the fermenting room with temperature control and during the fantastic flagstaff winters lagers were created as we had the perfect weather outside. Brewing became a 3-5 day a week process every week with trial and error and creativity and intention to repeat our process to consistently make the styles we loved to drink.
Lots of beer was given away to friends and family and instead of recycling bottles they collected them to bottle for friends and family gifts.
Then at the 2009 Coconino County Fair Home Brew competitition an Elixir modeled off Dog Fish Head “Midas Touch” won best of show! This is a fantastic elixir where archeologists / anthropologists actually found a liquid in vessels in the tomb of King Midas and reverse engineered it to discover it was a fermented beverage with honey (a mead) grape extract (wine) and barley(beer) – This beer was inspired by a monthly beer for the Mountain top Mashers club where the ingredient to use was saffron – this gives the elixir a beautiful golden color – One of the “prizes” of the best of show winner was that Mogollon Brewing Company agreed to commercially brew the winning brewers beer and provide it for sale at the 2010 coconino county fair. Jeff and Susanne went to Mogollon Brewing Co and met Master Brewers Dana Kanzler and Steve Hendricks. Jeff stayed on with Mogollon apprenticing on their 20 barrel system and also learned about their spirits operation with sister company High Spirits Distillery the first legal still in Arizona. Throughout this time Jeff continued home brewing 3- 5 x a week.
Jeff and Susanne partnered with Animas Beads in Flagstaff Az for first friday artwalks where they provided samples of their various brews to the public during art walk. Their slogan is Beer is Art, Drink in the beauty! – market research continued. Mogollon Brewing company chose to brew the Dirty Blonde for the 2010 County Fair and it was a hit! Multiple kegs were sold at the fair and later at The Green Room, Mogollon’s tap room on the Flagstaff Ale Trail. The Green Room is a Bar and music venue located in the building formerly occupied my Mogollon Brewing Co before they moved to their commercial brewery site on the east side of Flagstaff.
Brewmaster Jeff and Brewmistress Susanne were excited and everyone was telling them they needed to sell their beer.
Originally Jeff and Susanne had settled on the name Sterling Springs Brewing Co – The main ingredient in beer is water and the coconino aquifer provides the mineral rich delicious water used in all their beer.
There is a constantly flowing spring on 89A just past the pumphouse wash bridge where many people stop and fill up their water jugs. This water has been attributed with healing potential, and such throughout its existence. Jeff and Susanne have always referred to this spring as fairy water and have made several home brew batches exclusively with this water. Each time they feel this water has produced exceptional beers. This spring is referred to as Sterling Springs hence the name.
When the business plan evolved from a brew pub to a distributor who was contract brewing , the need for consistency and name recognition became apparent and so Cosmic Distributing created the Cosmic Beer Series. Sterling Springs is on the back burner for now, but….. one never knows what those cosmic folks are up to next.
In April 2011 all licensing was complete and out on their first sales call went the two starry eyed and hopeful. 3 -10 barrel batches of beer were made and stored in the cooler ready for sale. The two had decided to make 3 very drinkable full flavored beers and continue to make these Flagships while in the future they would add seasonals, 1 for every quarter was the plan.