Amazing things can happen in Kansas City.
On May 17, 1997 Brian and I traveled to KC for our first Kansas City Royals baseball game. We were celebrating our first anniversary with a few days in KC.
The Royals were playing the Tigers. The Royals weren’t as well regarded in baseball at the time. Since we avidly followed the St. Louis Cardinals and the National League, we really didn’t know much about the Royals or the Tigers, but we were at a baseball game together. And we loved baseball. Kaufman Stadium was really beautiful, too, with the fountains in the outfield.
We had excellent seats…a few rows up, behind home plate. I don’t remember if the seats were really easily available, or if we just got them off a scalper. Either way, the seats were great, and we could hear the thwack of the bat connecting with the ball and the thud of the ball into the glove way better than on TV.
At some point in the game a foul ball was hit back, up and over the net, behind home plate, and it came spinning down toward us. The guy next to me stuck his hand out. Smack! A quick deflection into Brian’s outstretched hands also next to me.
Just like that, Brian had a foul ball!
He raised it up…you know, like guys do when they get the ball, and then he gave it me. Congratulations rang out around us. An usher ran down to make sure we were okay. The guy next to me massaged his baseball stung but empty hand.
You have to understand that 20-something Brian Durham was completely stoked about this foul ball. He grew up on baseball, playing baseball, rooting on the Philadelphia Phillies and going to Phillies games as a child with his glove in tow. Never did he get a foul ball. He came close one time, but an adult man got the ball. (And Brian still remembers that.) This was before the days of smart phones and social media, so we weren’t able to tell our friends in real time, but as soon as we could, we told the story of Brian’s amazing foul ball catch in Kansas City.
Brian went on to get lots more foul balls–one at Dodger Stadium, one off Albert Bell’s bat at Tiger Stadium (before they tore it down), and a couple of home runs balls, too. Turns out, the closer you sit to the field, it’s easier to get baseballs at a game…. But we have never forgotten that night in KC when we went home with a real, live foul ball.
We’ve spent lots of fun times in KC since that game. Most recently, we’ve been the guests of our friends at Boulevard Brewing at Boulevardia. Definitely the most fun you can have sweating and pouring beer at the same time!
Since 2011 we’ve been asked about getting Piney River beer to KC on a regular basis. Since we grew the brewery here on the Farm last year, Kansas City has been in our sights. We wanted to be able to provide lots of high quality, award winning beer when we knew we wouldn’t run out. The time is finally right. We’re very pleased to announce that next week we are shipping beer to our new distribution partner, North Kansas City Beverage.
We started talking with NKC Beverage in the spring. Again, NKC Beverage is a smaller, family-owned distribution company. It’s the type of distributor with whom Piney River seems to find a good groove. Brian Duff and Chad Borland visited the BARn in June, and we showed them around and hashed out what a partnership with Piney River would look like.
This summer Brian and I were figuring out the whole 16-ounce/12-ounce can thing, and we determined the best way to send out beer to KC would be launch in the new 12-ounce cans. Not that KC folks aren’t as thirsty as the rest of the state, it just made sense for NKC Bev to start off with our new package rather than transition into it shortly after launching our brand.
These will begin appearing at your favorite liquor stores and retail locations next week. If you like Piney River, tell your local retailer to order some in for your drinking enjoyment. Draft beer is also being sent and will pop up in select locations, too. Stay tuned…we will also have some Piney River event dates to announce for you very soon.
We’re really pleased to be part of the NKC Beverage family, and we thank Chad and his crew for their interest in growing local craft beer in KC and in taking on the Piney River brand. Thanks for your patience in waiting for our brand, Kansas City! Let’s get together for a beer real soon! We’re looking forward to more amazing memories made in KC.