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COOP Ale Works Celebrates Their One Year Anniversary

Submitted by on January 8, 2010 – 7:43 AMOne Comment
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Oklahoma City based COOP Ale Works will be celebrating the one year anniversary of the completion of their first batch of commercially brewed beer on Jan. 9. To commemorate the event, co-founders J.D. Merryweather, Mark Seibold and Daniel Mercer will be holding an open house and beer tasting to the public to show their appreciation to the people of Oklahoma City who made their first year of business such a resounding success.

After sensing a gap in the Oklahoma beer market, the trio of Merryweather, Seibold and Mercer, along with head brewer Chase Healey, started COOP as a draft only brewery that uses high quality ingredients with local and environmental interests in mind. Merryweather, who was a commercial photographer for 25 years before getting into commercial brewing, spent three and half years with his partners doing research on every level of the beer business. It seems that their careful planning paid off, as within a year the brand and its five available beers have reached distribution throughout the state of Oklahoma.

“It’s been amazing,” said Merryweather, “it’s been an overwhelming reaction from the community… We had no idea it would be so well received.”

Much of COOP’s success stems from head brewer Chase Healey, who began as a home brewer while studying at Oklahoma University four years ago and got involved with COOP almost by chance. “[I] got more and more obsessed with [brewing], to the point that it got a little bit ridiculous, and it was a right place at the right time kind of thing that I met all the guys and just kind of worked out really,” Healy said.

Healey is currently working on a new IPA for the brewery that will be due out in the early spring, another in a successful line of season brews. “I’ve been working on [the IPA] for quite a while,” Healey said. “It’ll be pretty West coast in influence I’d say. It’s one we’re going to release as a seasonal, but hopefully, if its received as well as we think it will, we’ll probably keep it on year round.”

The company’s other popular seasonal, an Oktoberfest, will also make a comeback this year. “That was pretty well received,” chuckled Healey “[releasing the Oktoberfest] is kind of a fun tradition that I think we’re gonna keep up with.”

However, the beer that Healey gets most excited about is one of their five year-round brews, the COOP DNR, a Belgian strong ale that packs a fierce 10% abv punch. “It’s something really unique for people to try, and I think people are even intimidated by it being such a big beer. People are pleasantly surprised when they have it,” Healy said.

Another reason for COOP’s success is the company’s smart use of social networking. Like many companies, the brewery uses Facebook and Twitter to dispense news to fans, but COOP has taken things even further. “We are probably one of the first microbreweries in the United States to put out an iPhone app,” Merryweather gleefully boasted, “It’s got a beer menu on it, the artwork of the beer… it has a locater and GPS that tells you all the places you can find our beer by distance to you.” Since launching in June, the app has already gained over 1500 downloads.

The heads of COOP hope to eventually expand their distribution beyond the state of Oklahoma, but they’re in no hurry to do anything rash. “We will probably expand once we feel that we’ve got all our ducks in a row and we’re consistently doing what we want to and expect of ourselves,” Merryweather explains. He continues, “I think our secondary market would be maybe moving into Dallas and Austin, and maybe up north to Wichita and the Kansas area a little bit.”

With all of their success, it’s not surprising that men behind COOP Ale Works wish to kick back and celebrate. The one year anniversary event takes place on Jan. 9 at the brewery’s Oklahoma City location. They will be offering free beer samples and food, as well as a tour of the facilities and a DJ spinning tracks throughout the night.