To wrap up its second year in business, Daft Badger is having its first anniversary party.
The Coeur d’Alene brewery didn’t do an actual party after its first year, but it’s making up for that with a full-scale celebration Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. centered around the outdoor patio.
Daft Badger ran into weather issues the last couple of times it tried that. An Oktoberfest was dampened by rain, and last month’s Holiday Market was met with frigid temperatures and six inches of snow.
But Saturday’s forecast is shaping up much better, with only a 20 percent chance of precipitation and highs near 40 degrees. There will be plenty of heaters and a large fire pit to keep things warm.
“We can’t help ourselves. We like the idea of doing stuff outside,” owner Darrell Dlouhy says. “It seems more celebratory.”
Local musician Kosh and his band Rockadelic will provide party tunes from 4 to 7, set up in the brewery’s storage building with the garage door open.
A special beer will be tapped for the occasion: Herman Myron, an imperial IPA (11.8 percent alcohol by volume, 85 International Bitterness Units) hopped with El Dorado and Simcoe. (The moniker comes from a combination of brewers Keith Bertram and Jake Capaul’s middle names.)
There also will be discounts on bottled beers, $4 per bottle and $45 per case (mixed cases allowed). Six of Daft Badger’s beers currently are in bottles – Final Mile golden ale, Red Letter amber, Summers Envy and Badgers Bounty IPAs, Scotchy Scotch Scotch and Josiah’s Revenge imperial stout – with two more on the way, Hoppypotamus pale and the bourbon version of Josiah’s.
Look for those at Pilgrim’s in Coeur d’Alene and Enoteca in Post Falls in addition to the taproom. “It’s not huge numbers, but it does what we’re looking for – it gets our name out there,” Dlouhy says.
And brewery merchandise including T-shirts, sweatshirts, long-sleeve shirts and winter hats will be on closeout Saturday to make way for a new summery line with a tweaked logo.
Party-goers are asked to park in the nearby Lake City Plaza lot at Third and Spruce to avoid clogging the street.
The festivities cap a second year that saw Daft Badger produce close to 500 barrels of beer, with a 30 percent increase in beer and food sales in the brewpub.
“Some of that was probably our newness,” Dlouhy says. “I do think brewpubs in general are a little more popular than straight restaurants and straight breweries. Beer often tastes a little better with food.”
The pub will continue to be the focus, with only limited outside distribution, he says. That has expanded to Spokane, with accounts including Steady Flow Growler House and The Steel Barrel.
The next big project for 2017 is sponsoring a summer concert series downtown on Sherman Avenue, running for six consecutive Wednesdays beginning July 12. The Step Brothers, featuring former Rare Earth drummer/vocalist Peter Rivera, is booked for the first show.
Dlouhy also continues to explore the idea of a larger-scale holiday marketplace next December. He had originally envisioned that at McEuen Park downtown, though the lack of a power supply for heaters is a concern.
Daft Badger received some solid feedback in 2016. It won best local brewery in the North Idaho Business Journal people’s choice awards, and was named tops in Idaho based on Yelp reviews. It also participated in the Inland Northwest Craft Beer Festival at Avista Stadium in September, finishing 11th in sales out of 41 breweries.
“I was able to relax around July or August and think, we’re going to be OK,” Dlouhy says. However, he adds: “There’s still a long way to go. We’ve got to keep learning and get better.”