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Interview with Tomme Arthur

| May 12, 2009 | Comments (21)

The Lost Abbey - Tomme ArthurTheFullPint.com is proud to bring you another installment of the ‘Brewmasters Spotlight’, with Tomme Arthur -  Port Brewing/Lost Abbey Co-Founder and Director of Brewery Operations.

The Lost Abbey has just reached their 3rd birthday as of this interview, and we wanted to get some of Tomme’s feelings on that, and other hot topics that you are sure to find interesting.

Let’s rewind 3 years ago. What was your mission statement at that time?
When we opened our doors three years ago, we didn’t have a mission statement. Our stated goal was found in our 10 Commandments and the basis for them was guided simply by “the most imaginative beers are our crusade.” Our Ten Commandments are as follows:

  1. The First and Golden Rule if you will of our Commandments is The Most Imaginative beers are our crusade- If not, then why are we in business?
  2. We believe that we are all in this together – In this way, we all bear some measure of risk and the rewards that come from our taking chances.
  3. We strive for honesty and integrity in our lives like you – Essentially, we are not a marketing division of a larger brewery. What you see is what you get when it comes to Lost Abbey beers.
  4. Fresh beer is great. Aged beer is better – In this commandment, we are noting the roots of our brewing process. We make a range of beers for now and a range of beers that will get better with age.
  5. Now that you have found us, help spread the word – We are a small company and we need support for our message.
  6. There is good and evil in the world, our beers are good – We’d like to think that they are great.  But at the very least they are good in so much as we are not a mass produced commodity.
  7. Passion isn’t something you can buy at the corner store – In this way, we’re telling you that we’re passionate about our beers and more importantly it fuels our fires.
  8. We believe that an inspired life is worth living – At our core, it is our job to inspire our employees, ourselves and our patrons.
  9. Life is about choices. We believe The Lost Abbey is a great choice – There are over 1500 breweries in the United States right now. What makes us different? What makes us better? We must be better. We must aspire to greatness. That is our choice. It is our choice to not be marginal but rather exceptional.
  10. We are not perfect. But no one is – This last commandment serves as a reminder that while we aspire to greatness and the loftiest of goals, we are human and not infallible.

Instead of a mission statement, we have these 10 Pillars that support and frame our daily activities.

Where do you see The Lost Abbey 3 years from now?

The same place I always have. The Lost Abbey will continue to experiment, blur the boundaries of what beer can be and be a World Class operation at the same time. From the moment we opened our doors, we have busted our asses to open a brewery, launch a new brand all the while never deviating from what got us here. Namely, we’re still running to “work” everyday with eyes wide open wondering which part of the process we can affect today or which new techniques will make for more flavorful beer.

2009 will be a major turning point in our operations as we have added new talent, infrastructure and process controls that will make us a better operation moving forward. 3 Years from now, we most certainly will be a bigger company. How big? I don’t know. That depends on success across so many levels. Ten years from now, we will have a new production facility, restaurant and brewery that is more in line with our long term strategies for this brewery. Production brewing in a warehouse isn’t sexy but practical. I believe that not everything in business needs to be practical. A new brewery project would bring many realities to life.


What is the coolest thing you have accomplished thus far?

For starters, I would have to say that still being in business is amazing enough. Sure I am biased but I have to think this whole project has been incredibly cool. In three short years, we have launched and built not one but two brands. The Lost Abbey has become synonymous with World Class. We have heavily invested in our future at a time of ridiculous economic unrest. Our barrel program has grown to become one of the largest collections of oak barrels for brewing in the United States.

In 2007 we went to the Great American Beer Festival and captured the Small Brewery of the Year award. That following spring in 2008 The Lost Abbey went on to repeat as Small Brewery of the Year at the World Beer Cup thus becoming the first brewery to hold both titles at the same time. That sure didn’t suck.

Sometimes, I forget that we’re making beer the way we want to. I can’t imagine a situation better than this for me. I have ownership in the brewery and complete creative control over the brand. It means from start to finish, I can put my stamp on so many facets of this business. Of course it also means that I am the face of the company, which isn’t always the best thing but comes with the turf.

Earlier this year, The Lost Abbey/Port Brewing released their very famous and luxurious Angel’s Share Barleywine. This barley wine was aged in brandy barrels, and sold in 375ml and 750 ml bottles. What makes this release a tad different, was there was enough made that it was able to be distributed outside of the brewery. After it’s initial release at the brewery, there was a large buzz from the Internet Beer Geek Community (Ratebeer and BeerAdvocate) over the quality of this release. Some were saying it was flat, some going as far as saying it was a bad batch or a ruined batch. Some of that discussion spiraled into discussion about Lost Abbey’s commitment to their customer base, etc.

There is a buzz in the online beer geek community that: You made a bad batch and Lost Abbey won’t make good on it by apologizing and and full on admitting it should not have been sold at any price. What are your thoughts on that?

This is one area where my opinion is clearly at odds with members of the beer community. First, I believe it is a disservice to say that the 2008 Brandy Barrel Angel’s Share was a bad batch. We have lab results that show no contamination and viable yeast in the bottles. There has been a lot of chatter in the online world about our Angel’s Share since we first released it in November of 2006. The 2007 Brandy Barrel version took a turn at about 9 months in the bottle. In 2008 we released the first batch of Bourbon Angel’s Share. It was krausened with freshly fermenting wort. This priming method caused excessive carbonation and speculation that the beer was infected (which it’s not).

Fast forward to February 2009 and our newest batch of Brandy Angel’s Share. We put ourselves in a position with this release “needing” to head out the door. We employed the same methodology as we always do for our bottle conditioning. On release day, we lacked sufficient carbonation in the bottles to make the corks pop out of the bottle. We knew this was going to be an issue. Since that release date in February, we have held back the remaining 300 cases of 375 ml bottles without gas. We also held off on releasing the 750 ml bottles for three weeks until they showed more carbonation in the bottle. At the point we sent them out to our distributors, we felt they expressed a low but discernible level of carbonation.

In doing so, we angered many consumers who felt we let them down. Apologize? I grew up playing baseball and have a competitive streak in me that goes way back. If a pitcher brushes back a hitter by knocking him to the ground, he dusts off the dirt, digs back in the box and stares down that pitcher as if to say “I have this covered.” We took a ton of punches in the online beer community. We’ve brushed ourselves off and are digging back in so to speak. We have to. It’s the only way to stare down this issue and move forward.

Is the beer flat? I maintain the beer is lightly carbonated. I think that much of the confusion surrounding the big bottles has much to do with serving temperature. When the beer is served cold, we see little to no CO2 breakout. If that same beer is served at 60F we see much more expression.

People have been asking us why low carbonation in the bottle and not on draft. My reply is simple. When we package this beer, we expect that most consumers are going to cellar the beer. Over time carbonation gain will come from yeast working in the bottle. The draft versions are packaged via forced injection of CO2 and our target is 2.7 Volumes of C02 for the draft and 2.4-5 Volumes for the bottles.

We have been made painfully aware that this years bottling does not measure 2.4 Volumes of CO2 and we’re working to correct this moving forward. Our new packaging line is actually capable of running beer under pressure as opposed to the near atmospheric levels our current filler requires. As such, we’ll be closer to our target packaging CO2 content in the mixing tank that will result in less CO2 being lost at packing. Basically, more CO2 will arrive in your bottle due to our filler being more sophisticated. We are bottling Wipeout IPA this week for the first time on the new line and are very excited about getting this operational.

Another topic that is often discussed is Lost Abbey pricing. Small bottles at $15 and 750′s at $30 a bottle brings debate over value. What is your response to someone who professes the beer isn’t worth that or shouldn’t be sold for that?

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We make it a point not to debate our pricing structures but as a matter of course it would seem that some explanations would help here. Let’s tackle the 375 ml bottles. Before one ounce of beer finds it way into the bottle, we have over $3 worth of packaging materials for this format. Is it overkill? We don’t think so. From the beginning, our Lost Abbey beers have been about premium packaging, premium flavors and premium pricing must accompany this. We produce beer in one of the most expensive regions in the country. Each square foot in our brewery has a cost associated with it. Running a program the size and scope that we are isn’t cheap. As such, our pricing must reflect a commitment to barrel aging of beers and the costs associated with it.

We are buying barrels on a regular basis and not reusing many of them as we are “first fill” producing both Angel’s Share and Older Viscosity. Whereas a winery spends hundreds of dollars on a barrel and amortizes those costs across multiple fills, we cannot. We have tried to develop secondary uses for our barrels and we’re only running at about 20% with this project. Most of them are cut in ½ and sold to a local nursery.

In terms of the 750 ml bottles our packaging costs are only slightly better than the 375 ml bottles. Is a $30 bottle of beer pushing the stratosphere of what is affordable? Sure. We don’t expect that many of our faithful will be buying case after case at this price. Yet, we are making beers of incredible depth with low case totals. This is the norm in the wine and spirit world where scarcity is reflected in pricing tiers.

Many people in the online beer community have scoffed that our pricing is out of line with the beer in the bottle. This is understandable. As a company moves to the upper echelons (relative to pricing) expectations go up. This puts more pressure on us to deliver. It’s a tenuous position to be in. Ultimately we hold ourselves to incredibly high standards so it’s fair to expect our consumers to do the same. We are in the business of overachieving.

If we go back to the baseball analogy, take a look of the beers we’ve released since we opened our doors three years ago. How many of these have been home runs? Grand Slams even? Of course there have been some strikeouts as well. The best hitters in baseball don’t hit everything. The bigger question relative to beer is where the Mendoza line falls. How many successes does a brewery need before the community allows for failures? Are World Class breweries heroic? Do they never fail? Hard to say, our 10th Commandment simply states “we’re not perfect but then again, no one is.”

One last uncomfortable one: There has been buzz that Lost Abbey is hard to reach from a Customer Service standpoint, and feel there is a lack of communication between the brewery and the club subscribers. What are your thoughts on that, and if these issues will be addressed?

This one isn’t that uncomfortable. I think our rapid ascension to an “anointed” brewery has people forgetting that we’re still a very small brewery at our very core. In 2008, we made 3100 bbls of beer. This makes us about the 6th largest brewery in San Diego. However, what I think is most disconcerting is that people forget we’re almost doing too much. It would appear that most of the complaints are directed at our beer clubs. Mind you, there isn’t another brewery in the country attempting this sort of club. We are in our third year of running these and in many ways, we’re still learning on the job. It can be a clusterfuck sometimes. I get that.

The point I continue to hammer home in my messages to the online community is very simple. If you have a problem email me. That’s [email protected] I answer my email religiously and if you send me a message (even complaints) we will get to the bottom of the problem. I don’t know of too many brewers making 3000bbls of beer a year that have true Customer Service Departments. If something falls through the cracks, give us a chance to make things right. You might be surprised.


Obviously, with your addition of Mike Rodriguez (From Boulevard in Kansas) to your brewing team, Lost Abbey is in need of more staff as you grow. What other changes are going on in regards to operations at Port Brewing/Lost Abbey?

Adding Mike has been the best thing in the world. We are in a transition phase right now. I am still in charge of most facets of this business and I don’t plan on hanging up the boots. However, what I do plan on doing is spending less time managing the mundane tasks like how many kegs to fill, who’s cleaning the crappers this week etc… We brought Mike on because he comes from a large Craft Brewer. He understands systems, growing pains and brings a wealth of knowledge about bottle conditioning. I think it is evident in many facets of the business we got a whole lot better when Mike signed up.

Plus he’s Cuban, which plays well with the Blue Haired crowd.

In addition to Mike Rodriguez, Ryan Fields remains as lead brewer. An Eagle Scout, Ryan has been tasked with managing the barrel program and he’s done a bang up job of organizing this side of our operations. Lastly, we hired Gordie Gersky from Boulevard as well
(I promise Johnny Mac we’re not hiring any more of your guys any time soon). Gordie has spent the last 2 months patiently rebuilding as much of our used bottling line as humanly possible and is our operator. Thank God! I hate bottling lines. Or at least I hate the fact they require so much attention.

We also are about to sign a Microstar contract. This will mean draft beer in 8 markets we currently are only shipping bottles to. It also will mean an increase in production that will help smooth so many things out relative to our Lost Abbey beers and availability. We anticipate our production to essentially double in no time flat with the addition of the kegs and new bottling line. We are prepping to turn the screws up on the brewery in July. It’s an exciting time to say the least.

What is in the pipeline? What collaborations are cooking? What new, or scarce brewing techniques are you going to try next?

In the pipeline we have a massive batch of 10 Commandments sitting in our new fermenters. This should be released around the early part of June. Around this time, we will also be producing a monster batch of Panzer Pils. This Imperial Pilsner is a scaled up version of Julian Schrago’s homebrew recipe that we made a single batch of last year. We think this beer is amazing and look forward to it being “out there” in kegs and bottles in August. We are expecting Mikell of Mikeller fame to swing by our brewery in July. Most likely, we’ll look to do a draft only version of one of their beers here in the states. We have enough bottles of beer so something that is draft only makes the most sense.

Our newest seasonal Hot Rocks Lager (released in the spring) was a collaborative beer that we brewed with Tonya Cornett from Bend Brewing Company. It was a stein beer brewed with super heated granite stones. This was something that I had wanted to reprise since we attempted it back at Alesmith many years ago. Moving forward, Hot Rocks Lager will be our Port Brewing Spring Seasonal beer each year and I am excited as it means we’ll have three lager beers in our seasonal program including Midnight Sessions Black Lager and Panzer Pils each year.

What is your favorite style to brew?

Well based upon our Lost Abbey line of beers, you would have to say Farmhouse Styled Ales. I think there is so much room for expression in this way that we almost always seem to cooking up a new batch of something loosely related to Saisons and Farmhouse Ales. Recently, we were asked to brew a Saison (Brother Levonian) for the American Homebrewers Conference taking place in Oakland in June. We love this beer and it features Tangerine Peel, Tumeric, Black Pepper and Brettanomyces as well.

In the three short years that we have been open, we have released 32 different beers. This is a staggering number of brews. It would appear that my favorite style to brew is whatever is new in the brewery as it seems there’s always a new beer on the horizon. This is something our consumers have to come to expect of us. Well that and flat beer mind you.

Stuff You Didn’t Know About Tomme
Explanation of the origin of your first name.

My dad’s best friend growing up was Tomme Lutz. My parents named me after him. I was fortunate to be given the same spelling. When I was in school, I hated the fact that it was spelled different. I could never find the miniature license plate for my bicycle with my name spelled Tomme. Nowadays, I like the spelling. When you see Tomme in a beer publication, there is no doubt they are referencing me whatsoever unless of course you’re talking about beer and cheese.

Mickey’s Malt Liquor? Expound.

Well for starters, I like it. That’s no joke. On Fridays you may find me drinking Grenades at the brewery. It’s my guilty pleasure. Everyone asks why? Well for starters, it’s well made. If you think I am bullshitting, look at how many medals this beer has racked up at the Great American Beer Festival. World Class Malt Liquor? Sure

Mostly, I drink Mickey’s because it’s the only beer I can turn off. This may not make much sense but here goes. As a brewer, I am always analyzing beers. It can be annoying. It doesn’t matter where the beer is from, when I am tasting or drinking beer, I always think about what went into it, how it got here and what makes it worth drinking (or in many cases not worth drinking). Mickey’s is the only beer I consume where my mind goes blank. I don’t mean this in a pejorative sense. It’s just nice to know that there is something out there that I can drink without deconstructing. I have 2 quarts of Mickey’s Ice in the cold box that I had to trade for. Can’t get that stuff on any street corner in San Diego.

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21 Responses to “Interview with Tomme Arthur”

  1. AlanFromLA #

    Tomme Arthur is an arrogant clod and makes terrible beer. The fact that he recently “crashed” a tasting (that they clearly state was a ruse, designed in-house) speaks volumes. Ego. Maniac.

    July 18, 2012 at 11:30 am
  2. levitation #

    Back off Tomme, he is one of the finest brewers in the world.

    May 24, 2011 at 4:03 pm
  3. Arbiter #

    Mike
    “Hey Doyle, bite me. Show me where I disagree with you about your issues. Show me where I make any mention on the issues or dealings you have had with Lost Abbey.” Uh, I made a little joke about your honest-but-dick-riding-and apparantly made-out-of-ignorance(by your own admittance in this post, no less)-post and then moved on…..

    “For the record I have no knowledge of the situation surrounding Angel’s Share.”
    Thank you for admitting your ignorance on the content of the bulk of my post.

    “I am not affiliated with Lost Abbey in any way.”
    Great. No one actually thought you were. It was just a snide joke.

    “I am a member of a San Diego area home brew club.”
    Good for you. This should make it easier for you to understand that what was done with the AS was not just a mistake (completely forgivable), but unethical in the way it was sold in a knowingly sub-standard state.

    “And my official title is Engineer for a large aerospace company.”
    Uh…good for you. No one really thought you worked for LA, but thanks for attempting to talk yourself up. Don’t I feel small now….knowing how big and important you are and all!

    “After reading you first pissy little post I thought I would post up my experiences.”
    Ah….a post that directly dealt with the topic at hand is “pissy” because it didn’t conform to your (admittedly) uninformed view of Tomme and LA?? Then again, I did make a snide joke towards you….more snarky and ass-hole-ish than pissy….but on those grounds, I’ll let let you slide with calling it “pissy”…..see how fair I am?

    “If you can’t handle the fact that some people aren’t involved or support your obvious campaign of hatred towards Tomme go throw a temper tantrum in the corner.”
    I thought you acknowledged that you didn’t know of or disagree with me about my issues? Seems like you are backtracking a bit. Shame. I thought you were at least approaching passable until now. I guess expecting (formerly?) well respected names in the craft-beer world to behave honestly and ethically makes me a “temper tantrum” thrower….

    “Your disturbing the rest of us that are trying to enjoy our beers.”
    Begging your pardon fine sir. In the future I will try to avoid disrupting your beer time fantasy-land with tales of reality….

    P.S. Yeah, I’m being an ass now……give yourself a well deserved pat on the back for bringing it out of me! I’d buy you a beer if I could……just not an LA AS….those suckers cost 30 bucks!! ;)

    May 14, 2009 at 6:31 pm
  4. Arbiter #

    B$-
    “Bottom line, as someone who is a beer geek and not affiliated with Lost Abbey at all, I’m sick of the whining and moaning. Be smarter next time, don’t believe hype, and all that other stuff your parents would have told you back in the day. Y’all need to grow up.”

    You seem to be at odds with your own position. How do you think beer geeks get educated about the quality level of a rare, premium-price point product?? Well, they go online and read reviews, opinions, etc. about the beer and the brewery. Guess what all of this “whining” is? People giving their reviews and opinions of this beer and this brewery (and in this case, the brewer too..)!!!!

    While you may be sick of reading these “bashing” posts, they are indeed providing a great deal of information for fellow beer-geeks to arm themselves with before buying……in other words, they’re allowing others to “be smarter” by defusing the LA/Tomme Arthur hype, “and all that other stuff YOUR parents should have told you back in the day”…..furthermore, they are providing a service that is very helpful to many others…..and doing this all unpaid (and at the expense of their time and effort)…..
    How very grown up!

    I agree with the poster “Daniel” above when he says that these honest reviews are a “classy extension of the notion of caveat emptor, where fellow consumers are essentially looking to watch each other’s backs and let them know when a business isn’t cutting the mustard.” Kinda’ makes you wonder why some folks seem so intent on wanting the “bashers” to pipe down….

    May 14, 2009 at 3:33 pm
  5. Mike #

    Hey Doyle, bite me. Show me where I disagree with you about your issues. Show me where I make any mention on the issues or dealings you have had with Lost Abbey.

    For the record I have no knowledge of the situation surrounding Angel’s Share. I am not affiliated with Lost Abbey in any way. I am a member of a San Diego area home brew club. And my official title is Engineer for a large aerospace company. After reading you first pissy little post I thought I would post up my experiences. If you can’t handle the fact that some people aren’t involved or support your obvious campaign of hatred towards Tomme go throw a temper tantrum in the corner. Your disturbing the rest of us that are trying to enjoy our beers.

    May 14, 2009 at 3:20 pm
  6. JohnG #

    If Tomme is not the majority shareholder in Lost Abbey he should never be allowed to speak for the business as he is very bad at it.
    Beyond that, when you charge premium price you are obliged to deliver premium product. I’ve had far too many PP/LA beers that were problematic (along with some that were very good), so I long ago voted not to give my dollar to a company as unreliable as PP/LA. Interesting that so many beer knerds are willing to hang in there.

    May 14, 2009 at 9:30 am
  7. Joris P. #

    I’ve visited Port Brewing, and sampled many of Tomme’s creations. There’s none I wouldn’t try immediately again, with much gusto, and some were simply made in heaven.
    I wish we had a number of brewers in Belgium, thé beercountry, hè, that would allow themselves the possibilities to do and experiment with beer like Tomme does. That this requires, in the first place, money, is self-evident. A product, made with a lot of effort, is higher priced. If you’re not prepared to pay for that, don’t.
    I don’t know the batch you’re talking about, so I have no idea how it is. But, knowing Tomme, if he say’s it’s how it ought to be, then that suffices for me. Maybe give it some lagering time.

    And who needs carbonation? I need taste.
    More power to the Lost Abbey,
    Joris from faraway Belgium

    May 14, 2009 at 9:21 am
  8. B$ #

    You guys are unbelievable. You’d think by reading the comments that the article is a super left-reaching political diatribe! This “For us or against us” mentality is just stupid. One of the above posters is correct in asserting that we’re all customers, and another that we should vote with our dollar. However, think about this for one second, if you’re going to invest $30 in a bottle of beer, shouldn’t you do your homework before jumping in head first? I’m a hardcore beer geek myself that believes others who buy the beer based upon hype alone and not well-rounded research can ONLY blame themselves. It’s one thing if Tomme is tying you down, beating you up, taking your wallet, then pouring bad beer down your throat; it’s another if you buy a bottle blindly and complain when it’s not what you expected. Oh yeah, and research doesn’t extend to “Holy Cow, this beer is rated in the top 20 on beer advocate, I should buy some!” but rather to reading the individual reviews and the flavor profiles. After all, think of all the complaining someone would do if they were a hardcore beer geek that didn’t like belgian beer and was handed a bottle of Westy 12 only to pour it down the drain?

    Tomme’s right. As a craft beer brewer, he has to take the good with the bad. Of course everyone’s going to whine and moan about the demise of their $30, but y’all should just get over it. I live close to one of the world’s foremost beer bars and their policy on not liking beer is “Sorry, we won’t give refunds if you don’t like what you ordered. You should have done your homework.” I wish people would take this into account. Really? Y’all expected an English Barleywine to be shooting out of the bottle with carbonation? Give me a break… Barleywine is one of my favorite style ales and I’ve never, ever cracked a bottle to anything approaching normal, let alone significant carbonation.

    Bottom line, as someone who is a beer geek and not affiliated with Lost Abbey at all, I’m sick of the whining and moaning. Be smarter next time, don’t believe hype, and all that other stuff your parents would have told you back in the day. Y’all need to grow up.

    May 14, 2009 at 9:04 am
  9. keith #

    I have met tomme multiple times at the brewery, at GABF, and in seattle. He has always been very nice person and willing to talk about anything. Lost Abbey makes some kick ass beers. One thing I was wondering about was if the new brandy angle share is so terrible why does it constantly get high ratings on beer advocate and ratebeer? Could it better, ya, but People really need to grow up and not call brewers and others “arrogant prick” and “piece of shit”. Constructive critism is much better. Plus there are way worse beers out there to bitch about.

    May 14, 2009 at 8:03 am
  10. Loren #

    What a soap opera of epic proportions. Bottom line: vote with your dollar. If the product sucks don’t buy it and the sucky product will go away. Apparently they’re still in business…and growing too? So…not everyone thinks the product sucks I guess.

    Will the problems get fixed or will Tomme laugh all the way to the bank? Doesn’t matter it seems.

    May 14, 2009 at 6:17 am
  11. Nitrogen #

    ….those that fail ‘only’ seven times out of ten attempts will be the greatest in the game. (Ted Williams) (http://www.baseball-almanac.com/hitting/hibavg1.shtml)

    Thank you for expecting every batch to be a world class home run, as I have had the pleasure of tasting so many.

    Your repeated request that you be personally contacted should anyone have issues is world class.

    May 13, 2009 at 11:33 pm
  12. RoverTingle #

    Turds question: “Who. Gives. A. Fuck.”

    Answer: People. Who. Don’t. Like. Getting. Screwed. Over. Or. Seeing. Other. Decent. People. Getting. Screwed. Over. And. People. Who. Don’t. Want. Craft. Beer. Taking. Black. Eyes. Like. The. One. Tomme. Is. Giving. It. Right. Now.

    May 13, 2009 at 9:43 pm
  13. Turd Ditch Voyeur #

    Who. Gives. A. Fuck.

    May 13, 2009 at 6:41 pm
  14. Daniel #

    Hey DOSiR, perhaps you should be the one to STFU, no? This isn’t about what Tommie can or can’t do, and it isn’t about what Lost Abbey has accomplished, and amazingly, it isn’t about a “mistake” per se….if it were a mistake that were appropriately acknowledged and addressed, all could have been fairly quickly forgiven…..but that isn’t where this sordid little tale has taken us- it’s about a brewery (ie, Tommie) gouging it’s loyal customers with a knowingly sub-standard beer, and then absolutely refusing to acknowledge, apologize, and make things right. Beyond that simple business ethics failing, Tommie instead chooses to treat the wronged as if they are the enemy. That sir is where the true “rudeness” lies. To explicitly warn present and potential future customers of this gutter-level customer appreciation is not “whining,” “bitching,” or “rude,” but rather a classy extension of the notion of caveat emptor, where fellow consumers are essentially looking to watch each other’s backs and let them know when a business isn’t cutting the mustard.

    May 13, 2009 at 5:37 pm
  15. DOSiR #

    I think what he is saying… is get over it already. I can’t believe how rude a few people are that keep bashing Tomme over something that probably isn’t directly his fault!

    The brews I have had are absolutely amazing, and stand out as some of the best… and I suspect that they will only get much much better.

    To all those bitching and whining… do what Lost Abbey has accomplished in 3 years without a minor setback… brew as good a beer… and get back to me! Otherwise stfu and get a life. Off to drink an Older Viscosity…

    May 13, 2009 at 5:16 pm
  16. Doyle #

    Hey Mike, what is your official position title for Lost Abbey?

    “In doing so, we angered many consumers who felt we let them down. Apologize? I grew up playing baseball and have a competitive streak in me that goes way back. If a pitcher brushes back a hitter by knocking him to the ground, he dusts off the dirt, digs back in the box and stares down that pitcher as if to say “I have this covered.” We took a ton of punches in the online beer community. We’ve brushed ourselves off and are digging back in so to speak. We have to. It’s the only way to stare down this issue and move forward.”

    So basically, this douche-nozzle views the PAYING CUSTOMERS he pissed off by knowingly selling a crap-product-at-ultra-premium-pricing as ENEMIES, not as people whom he has wronged……..wow. What a piece of work.

    I agree with Venomsbitch…..why anyone would want to buy beer from this arrogant prick is beyond me. Given his “fuck you” attitude towards wronged customers and exorbitant pricing, Lost Abbey clearly does not deserve the benefit of any doubt in the future.

    May 13, 2009 at 4:39 pm
  17. Mike #

    Tomme is an amazing brewery and good guy. Lost abbey stands out in a craft beer market containing many world class breweries. I have been to the brewery and the staff and attitude is friendly and fun.

    I have never been disapponted by any beers from lost abbey or port brewing, and I expect this to continue.

    May 13, 2009 at 11:05 am
  18. Venomsbitch #

    “I answer my email religiously and if you send me a message (even complaints) we will get to the bottom of the problem.”

    Would that be before or after Tômmé stares them down?

    Why anyone would want to buy beer from this arrogant prick is beyond me – even if he gets lucky and hits a homerun. Its only beer – there are hundreds out there just as good or better made by people who stand behind their product and treat their customers with respect.

    At this point he is better off just keeping quiet. Every post or interview just solidifies my – and other long-time beer geeks – view of who Tômmé is as a man and just angers more and more customers. The whole Tômmé/PP/LA debacle is a scar on craft brewers and craft beer everywhere and hopefully the new tickerati out there comes to realize there is more to craft beer than just what’s rare and stop supporting this brewery based on principle. Its breweries like these who jumped on the bandwagon hoping for big profits but couldn’t deliver quality that failed in the 90′s – and another shakeout is looming on the horizon…

    May 13, 2009 at 8:50 am

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