The 26er Saga Concludes
All good stories start with “Once upon a time.”
Once upon a time there was a man who was a sucker for clever marketing schemes. One would think that by the time he was in his forties, he would know better. One would certainly hope that a fellow of his advancing years would stay away from social media and the power of the modern hype machine.
But you would be wrong.
Last year, when Nine Pin Cider announced its 26er program, the profussor couldn’t resist the power of its charms. Every two weeks, the local cidery would produce some very special batch of cider, available on tap only at a handful of local establishments. There would be 26 in all over the course of 52 weeks. And if you found some way to try them all, there would be a prize.
Frankly, I can’t even remember the prize. I do know there was a punch card. And that punch card has been in my wallet for almost a year. Today is the release of the final cider. That’s right. Number twenty-six.
From the beginning, I thought I was doomed to fail. And to be honest, up until yesterday, things were looking pretty bleak. But then I got a last minute save.
I need 26 stamps on my card to cross the finish line a winner. Right now I have 24.
Cider #25 is called Winter Warmer. It was released on December 21 at the cidery, and was scheduled to show up on December 22 at Slidin’ Dirty. This Troy restaurant is open significantly later than the cidery, and over the course of the past year I’ve grown quite familiar with the late night bar staff.
When this program ends, I’m going to miss seeing Pat every two weeks. What I’m not going to miss is drinking some kind of flavored cider when there’s something else on the Slidin’ Dirty beer list that I’d rather order. But dammit, I was determined to see this thing through.
Here’s the problem. I had plans on December 22. The 23rd was Friday night, which I spend with the family. Then it was Christmas Eve, and our trip down to Pennsylvania. When we returned on January 1st, Slidin’ Dirty was closed for the New Year. And when I called on Monday, January 2nd, I was informed that they were all out of the Winter Warmer.
Capital City Gastropub also carries the Nine Pin 26er ciders, and can punch the card. But they weren’t open until Tuesday at 5pm. That was cutting it mighty close. So yesterday, I called the Gastropub, and asked nervously if they still had any of the Winter Warmer left on tap.
Turns out, they haven’t even tapped the keg yet! Whew.
Boy, did I dodge a bullet on that one. CCG will be tapping the keg of #25 in the next day or so, and said they’ll announce it over social media. So I’ve got one last shot at completing this Herculean task I took on almost a year ago.
Man, that was a horrible idea. I knew it at the time too. I just couldn’t resist. And even though the final party is going to be on a Friday, January 20 to be precise, I’m going to abandon my family on Shabbat to attend the festivities. After a year’s worth of late night outings to Slidin’ Dirty sipping down ciders I didn’t want just to punch a card, I’m going to enjoy the fruits of my labor.
Congratulations to Slidin’ Dirty and Nine Pin Cider for an excellent marketing promotion. I’ve consumed more cider in the past twelve months than I have in the past twelve years. I’ve had more meals at Slidin’ Dirty than I would have otherwise. And I’ve written more about Nine Pin on the blog and social media than I have since its inception. Plus now the Capital City Gastropub is getting some attention for the deal as well.
I think I’m going to get a t-shirt out of this too. So that’s pretty sweet. And at the party I’ll get to meet all the other people who were crazy enough to see this thing through.
Without a doubt, it’s going to be the best thing you could possibly be doing on January 20.