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Prepared to be Overwhelmed–Our 3rd Aleiversary Tale

By March 17, 2014November 9th, 2016Beer Events

“If you would have told me a year ago that I would be standing here tonight making potato salad for ‘my staff’ for the Aleiversary After Party, I would have laughed.” That’s what I told Brian on Friday night about 9 p.m.

Install a bar in the upstairs tap room before the 1st Aleiversary? We did that in March 2012.

Put together tables and chairs for 100 before the 2nd Aleiversary? We did that in March of 2013.

Every year we’ve been building something until hours before our big event. This year, we had professional help from Tim Prater at the Wood Mill installing a new cherry rail and standing bar area and Randy Hendricks from Hendricks Home Builders in doing some bathroom work. My dad also went into the picnic table making business, adding another 10 tables to our collection of outdoor furniture. The township sent their grader that week and smoothed out the potholes and rough spots in our gravel road. Larry Booker hauled in chat for our drive and our expanded parking lot. Other than that, we just made sure the beer was ready, and oh yeah, we purchased compostable cups—no glassware washing this year!

“We are prepared to be overwhelmed,” I told everyone that asked “What are you doing?” to prepare for the Aleiversary.

An “All Hands on Deck” bulletin was given out to all the Piney River co-workers in November 2013…Our Christmas Party is on December 21, please attend if you can. Our Aleiversary is March 15th,we need you to work that day, all day.


Brian and I trekked out to the brewery on Saturday morning at 9 a.m., and the rest of our crew arrived between 10:30 and 11. At 10, Brian said, “I’m not sure we’re going to have everything set up by noon.” He was wrong, our staff knows what to do, and with all of us working together, we’re a mighty team. We were ready to pour beer and party at 11:45.

We extended the size of the parking lot…it was too small anyway. We moved the girlfriends out of their favorite pasture into the back and side pastures so more cars and trucks could park in the front field. Brian and Jamie parked vehicles at the beginning, and it wasn’t any time before the front lot was filled and the pasture and roadsides began being filled, too. My dad did an “unofficial count” of 147 cars sometime between 2 and 3 p.m.

Amber and Caleb ran the beer tent—Cream Ale, Black Walnut Wheat, Leo Brown Ale and Bronzeback Pale Ale were all that many people ever drank. They found a picnic table, brought a camp chair, got some food and never bothered to step inside the brewery.


The line to Mike and Julie’s Smoked Meats didn’t end until they ran out of food.

The bands—The Farethewells from Salem and Deep Fried Squirrel from Springfield—pumped their tunes outside so you could dance just about anywhere on the farm.


Debra, Lucas & Jonathan ran the tap room bar—a never ending sea of people clamored for drinks for at least seven hours straight. The tap room and the deck were full all day long.


We brewed and canned a special 3rd Aleiversary beer, Mule Team Imperial IPA. Mule Team was available on draft and four-packs were for sale. The Mule Team was a big hit, and we got to be the proud parents of our first big batch of Imperial IPA (there’s still some left–draft and four packs if you’re so inclined).

We had guests from neighboring states, towns throughout Missouri and locals. We had friends, neighbors and family. We prepared to be overwhelmed, and everything went extremely well. We ran out of almost all the special beers–yay! We ran out of paper towels–oops! Our co-workers were on their feet for 9 to 10 hours straight. They didn’t get planned breaks. They barely got to go to the bathroom. They were awesome! Luckily we asked Mike to smoke ribs and pork butt for us to go with the aforementioned potato salad along with baked beans and brownies. I don’t know what everyone was most grateful for at the end of the day–a seat at the fire pit or food.

After everyone went home, the food and beer were put away, the bonfire was coals, Brian and I couldn’t sleep we were so stoked about everything that happened in the day before. We didn’t sit, we had little time to talk with friends and family, we ran upstairs and down, we hooked and unhooked kegs, we worked, but what’s new. It was a GREAT day.

At some point during the day we ran into each other in the brewery. “We did it!” High five. Hug. Kiss. We are having some of the most fun of our lives.

As our Mule Team Imperial India Pale Ale label says:

Two people with a dream, an old barn, a love for the Ozarks and craft beer cannot succeed on their own. It takes a team–dedicated employees, partnerships with distributors, the support of friends, neighbors and craft beer lovers. Thank you for pulling with us over the past three years.

We’re still having the time of our lives! –Joleen & Brian Durham

Thank you so much! Cheers!

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