Last summer, Tim Schoelen was brewing beer out of his garage. Now he's selling it in 450 liquor stores and 80 restaurants across the country.
It would have been easy to dismiss Schoelen and his Oklahoma craft beer. In fact, many people did. After bottling just a few beers at a time from his garage, Schoelen would take them to bars and restaurants, asking managers to give his beer a try. He was turned away more times than he can count.
His persistence finally paid off when he met the manager at McNellie's in Oklahoma City who agreed to give Schoelen one tap handle at the bar and a "pint night."
Schoelen admittedly didn't know what he was getting into, but he sprung into action anyway. He went on Facebook and Twitter and created a website promoting his first pint night. He ordered nine kegs and offered a free pint to the first 200 people who showed up.
"And then I wondered if I even knew 200 people," he said. "I thought, 'Oh God, we're going to have so much leftover beer.' "
Not to fear. All 200 pints were gone in 12 minutes, and the nine kegs were floated in an hour and 15 minutes.
It was as good an opening as Schoelen could have expected.
Today, Mustang Brewing Co. makes three beers - its original Golden Ale, Amber Lager and Washita Wheat. In July, Washita Wheat beat more than 3,000 wheat beers in its category to win a silver medal at the World Beer Championships.
Unmentioned in the article, but declaimed on the company's website, is the fact their award winning wheat beer is made with Oklahoma red wheat.
At the risk of becoming an ingredient Nazi, if you say you're an Oklahoma brewer, or wine-maker, maybe you should put something in your beer or wine that makes it uniquely Oklahoman. Beers and wines from well-known regions are well-known not because of the places in which they're created but from what they're created.
Anyway. . .
Good for the Mustang Brewing Company.