Multiple Choice: What does quality mean to you?
A) An object’s distinctive attribute or characteristic.
“Summit Wit Bier has a slightly floral quality.”
B) Degree of excellence. Superiority in kind.
“Summit Extra Pale Ale is a quality beer, having won the gold at the 2016 Great American Beer Festival.”
C) Consistency, precision, and uniformity in manufacturing.
“Summit Brewing Company takes quality seriously, ensuring every Summit Keller Pils tastes the same as the one before it.”
D) Exciting. Adventurous. Surprising. Sexy.
“This is a high-fking-quality barrel-aged sour, Bro. So many crazy, funky flavors.”
Answer: In truth, every one of these definitions can be correct. And when it comes to beer, what’s most important is understanding that each meaning communicates completely different ideas.
Quality Isn’t An Accident
Because Summit Brewing Company takes pride in producing high-quality, consistent craft beers — beers that win awards and are recognized throughout the industry for their faithfulness to traditional styles — we’ve assembled a Quality Assurance team of highly trained and educated chemists, microbiologists, sensory and tasting experts, and respected brewing-industry veterans.
All throughout the brewing and packaging processes, they collaborate with brewers, the packaging team, and other brewery employees to perform a range of tests, samplings, and analyses to ensure each beer develops and progresses as expected.
Yeah, that means Summit employees have to drink beer every day. Even early in the morning sometimes. And it doesn’t always taste good — maybe the hops are still too forward or the yeast isn’t done fermenting, or perhaps the carbonation is too low or the beer hasn’t been filtered yet.
Achieving this kind of quality requires serious work, and rarely is it exciting, adventurous, surprising, or sexy. More often it’s monotonous. So why do we do it? Simple: You deserve good, consistent beer for your hard-earned money. And if there’s something wrong with the beer you take home, it’s too late for us to prevent the problem. The best way to ensure quality is to build it into the brewing process, to stress consistency at each step.
Doing so requires collaboration — collaboration among peers, industry employees, co-workers and consumers, even among competing businesses. Our bottling line, for example, originally came from Sierra Nevada. #FunFact
In the spirit of collaboration, we recently invited a few of our distributor partners to attend a little quality seminar at our brewery. Because we want the folks selling our beer to consumers to understand what quality means to Summit and what we do to guarantee it, we poured them some of our new beers, paired them with complementary foods, and talked about how we guide and control all the different flavors produced by those four magical ingredients: grain, hops, yeast and water.
In the coming weeks, we’ll share some behind-the-scenes information with you on our blog, all so you can better understand what ends up in your Summit cans, bottles and pint glasses.