Our First Beer Week!!

I've been a part of Volusia Beer Week since its inception.  This year is a little different.  This is the first year we are an honest to goodness 'thing'.  We aren't beer but we are still part of the amazing growing craft beverage community in Volusia County and we couldn't be prouder.

Here are a few things we have going on this week:

Drink Volusia Bus Tour - Jan 30th - We are stop 1 on our 8 hour tour!

Odd MANgo Out Release - Jan 31st - Our last keg until summer is being tapped

Volusia Stout Night @ Abbey - Feb 1st - Five of the stoutest beers from Volusia County brewers are being tapped.  If all goes as planned we will have Kinetic ready to go.  It is being a little temperamental at the moment so our back up plan is to tap the first ever keg of Bandwagon, our brand new Hard Rootbeer!

Live Beer Trivia @ Abbey - Feb 2nd, 8p to 10p - Hosted by Yours Truly. All beer related trivia and the prizes are tickets to DeLand Craft Beer Festival

Tasting at Barley Barrel in NSB - Feb 3rd, 4p to 7p - Come sample 3 different meads at New Smyrna's newest craft bottle shop!

Brews and Bowties - Feb 4th, 7p to 10p - We are super excited to be a part of one of the best beer pairing dinners in Florida.  Nicknamed A Dinner of Gastronomic Proportions, this dinner features 12 different libations paired with food from 12 local chefs.  We are lucky enough to be providing 2 different meads for this dinner, Paranormal Activity and Morning Zin. Paranormal Activity starts off as Peaches the Friendly Ghost but is finished with candied ginger.  It is being paired with a Chinese 5-spice scallop and a carrot ginger risotto from J and D Catering. Morning Zin is a Zinfandel Pyment aged on whiskey infused oak and finished with toasted honey and Trilogy Coffee natural process Honduran coffee.  It is being paired with a Coffee Chocolate Biscotti and a Zinfandel Jam from Sarah's Sweets.

DeLand Craft Beer Festival - Feb 6th, 1p to 5pm - 75 breweries, 350 beers, how can you go wrong!  Come see us in the Hyperlocal section at Cafe Davinci.  We will have all kinds of goodies!

A Haunting Good Name...

Last week I talked about the reason behind the name "Wilcox Cider".  This week, let's talk about Peaches.

If one believes in that sort of thing, it is easy to believe that most of Downtown DeLand is haunted.  Unfortunately not all the residents of DeLand escaped unscathed from the fire that claimed downtown in 1886 and gave us the name of our cider.  Many of the buildings in our downtown district are rumored to be haunted.  We even have ghost tours once or twice a year.

Our building is no different.  Over the years our ghost has been blamed for throwing glasses, flickering the lights, loosening the screws in the bar stools, changing the radio station, stalking the morning prep staff, and various other things.  There has been debate about the gender of our ghost but many years ago he or she was given a name that has stuck.  A previous head bartender lovingly gave our ghost the name Peaches.

Peaches has been part of the Abbey family from the very beginning and if we have learned nothing else, we have learned that Peaches does not like change.  New furniture, new paint color, change of ownership, any of these things and we can expect Peaches to get a little more active. So it came as no surprise that Peaches made herself known when we began our meadery build out.  Burst pipe in the wall, flickering lights, sudden electrical problems, CO2 system leaks all within days of making our announcement.

It was time to make a peace offering!

So, we decided to create a one-off mead in honor of our paranormal friend.  Originally called A Peach for Peaches, Peaches the Friendly Ghost has become one of our most popular meads and is now part of our year round line up. Peaches the Friendly Ghost is made with Florida Wildflower honey, lemon juice, peach nectar, and white tea to produce a dry, light and fruity mead made with the Florida climate in mind.

Peaches seems to like having her story told.  With the exception of changing the radio station to something Blair hates when he is here and playing hide and seek with Sarah in the hallway, Peaches appears to enjoy her new found fame! So next time you are at the bar, raise a toast to the oldest member of the Abbey family.

New Year, New Name... Wait, WHAT?

In my last post I talked about some of our challenges over the last few months and how we are adapting: The Good,  The Bad,  the Ugly. This post falls into The Annoying and You Couldn't Have Told Us This a Year Ago categories. 

We were informed a couple of weeks ago that we can no longer use our name on any packaging. 

"Elixir is a prohibited word on alcohol packaging because it is misleading to the consumer and will lead them to think what they are drinking has nutritional or medicinal value." In short, Elixir implies medication.

Hear that folks, you as a consumer are not smart enough to know that the mead we make has no medicinal value if we include the statement "produced and packaged by Odd Elixir LLC".

We knew Elixir was a tricky word going into it. But we are not in the 1800s and we, evidently, have more faith in the drinkers of our product than the Federal Government does.  Our name was approved and we moved forward, built our brand, and started advertising.  Then, a couple months ago, we were told that we could only use Elixir in our bottling statement. Fine, no problem, changes made. It was a minor change that required a tweak in our logo used on the bottle. Now, a year after we began our journey into the exciting world of red tape, we are just now being told we can not use Elixir anywhere on our labeling, all of our previously approved labels must be surrendered, and we have to start over. Oh, goody!

BUT, we can still use the name Odd Elixir just not on our packaging.  To put that in perspective, that would be like telling McDonald's that they can use McDonald's in all of their advertising but they can put it on their restuarants. They are going to have to call them something else. 

After to speaking with a very nice,  very apologetic (after all it's not her rule), and very helpful woman at the labeling office we were left with 2 options.  1) We could keep using Odd Elixir and apply for a State of Florida labeling exemption. The catch, we can never sell across state lines. Granted, our expansion into other states is not in our immediate future but it seemed like a terrible idea to lock ourselves out of that possibly. 2) We could apply for a trade name, effectively changing our business name, and start our branding over, you know, after a year of building the brand and countless hours of creating content, artwork,  and graphics. 

Ultimately we opted for a combination of the two that will make everyone happy, well everyone but me,  I was happy with it before! 

We recently applied for the trade name Odd X MeadWorks. We will continue to use Odd Elixir (with the addition of the word MeadWorks) in all our advertising except our bottles. We have some changes to the logo and a modified logo for bottling but we can continue to use our artwork and concept. You will start seeing the Odd X logo pop up as we begin to integrate it into our existing brand. 

The decision basically boiled down to when was it most appropriate to modify the brand; now, while the brand is young and fewer people were familiar with it or a year or two down the road when more people knew who we were and we were ready to expand. We opted for now; it just made more sense. 

The overall look will not change and I could have probably done our change over quietly and only a handful of people would have noticed. However, I constantly have people asking how the red tape is treating us and I always promise to post about it. So here it is. 

As an aside, I often talk with an overly sarcastic tone about the Federal and State governments and how stupid and ridiculous many of the laws and regulations are. And they are stupid and ridiculous. But time and time again I have spoken with the people in these offices whose jobs are to enforce these rules and they have in 100% of the cases been as helpful as they possibly can. They know the rules are convoluted. They know how difficult it is to figure out the right way to do something. They know that many of the people they are dealing with are small family owned businesses and having to completely rebrand after an entire year of effort has the potential for disaster. They really are sympathetic. That doesn't mean they don't have to enforce the rules. That is their job, whether they agree with them or not. While I may not agree with many of the rules and regulations we have to follow, I can not express enough how nice and helpful everyone I have spoken to is. They are terribly overworked and understaffed and they don't have to be nice. But they are and for that I am grateful! 

Cheers and #bringonthemead