It’s clear from the past couple of months that Conquest is a growing success in the Columbia beer scene. Ever since their extremely well-received launch in January, they’ve continually churned out new batches in an effort to keep up with the growing thirst for their beer. They’re in such high demand that even though the brewery isn’t officially open to the public yet, they’re already planning on tripling their output later this year.
But until this week, sporadic kegs at local bars and the occasional one-off release was the biggest exposure Conquest got. That changed on Tuesday as Conquest was the featured brewery during World of Beer‘s regular Brewery Spotlight event. With six different kegs tapped, it was the largest collection of Conquest brews in one place at the same time, and all indications were it would be a big night for the brewery.
“Big” is putting it lightly. The night ended up being a historic one for both the bar and the brewery.
As mentioned, there were six Conquest beers tapped for the event. Their three year-round beers – Sacred Heart IPA, Artemis Blonde and Medusa Stout – all made an appearance, as well as the Double Dry-Hopped Artemis, some Bipolar High Roller and their St. Patty’s Stout, which remained after the St. Patrick’s Day weekend. There was even an appearance by The Finisher, Conquest’s stellar 18% imperial stout brewed with brown sugar and honey. Sadly – or fortunately, depending on how you look at it – only samples of that were handed out.
As the night went along, the crowd grew larger and larger, eventually packing the bar. I made my way through the crowd a good bit jumping from one group of friends to the next, and I can’t remember seeing one person who didn’t have a Conquest-branded glass in their hand.
And then it happened: At about 7 p.m., an hour after the event started, the keg of Bipolar High Roller kicked. Minutes later, the Double Dry-Hopped Artemis was gone. Just like that, Conquest had made history and earned the title of fastest keg blown at the bar, a crown perviously worn by Holy City‘s Pluff Mud Porter.
As the night went on and the beer continued to flow, I could tell the guys from Conquest were loving every minute of it. Joseph was bouncing from person to person, rarely without a smile on his face or a drink in his hand (not that one was a result of the other), and Matt and Scott seemed to be talking with a different group of people every time I turned around. It was great to see patrons find them so approachable and willing to talk. They were more than happy to talk with folks about what they were brewing up and were the most engaged of any brewers I’ve seen at a spotlight event.
Yesterday morning, World of Beer tweeted out this photo, which showed overall sales for night. (Quantity is number of pints sold):
Those are some amazing numbers. The fact Conquest outsold every other beer in the bar is not that surprising, but still incredibly impressive. Chances are if you picked any random person in the bar last night, they were drinking Conquest or water, but that’s about it.
I make no secret about the fact I’m a huge supporter of Conquest. Of course I was excited to finally have a brewery in Columbia, and the fact their product makes all the hype justified is even more exciting. But what excites me even more is being in a place like WOB on Tuesday and seeing just how much everyone else enjoys their stuff as well. Columbians have wanted a brewery to call their own for a long time, so it’s no surprise they’ve taken a liking to Conquest so quickly or adamantly. But with a fledgling beer culture in the Midlands, folks needed something they could take pride in.
If it wasn’t clear before, Tuesday left little doubt: Conquest is the brewery Columbia has been waiting for.