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El Catador Club™ is Cigar City Brewing's barrel-aged beer club.

Membership to El Catador Club is $150 plus tax. With this purchase, El Catador Club members receive:

Bottles must be picked up in the Tasting Room at 3924 W. Spruce Street, Tampa, FL 33607. We legally cannot ship beers.

However, members can assign a Trustee. A Trustee is a person that members trust to pick up their beers. Please choose this person carefully, as we do not offer refunds on membership.

Membership ends 30 days after the release of the 5th bottle. This means there is no set timeline for membership; we package beers from the barrels when they're tasting best and ready to go. Because of the intricacies and many unknowns that come with the barrel-aging process, we do not commit to any future beers that will be available to Club members. Members will have first right-of-refusal for the next Edition of the Club.

Members (and their trustees) can pick up bottles at any time during normal Tasting Room business hours during the entirety of their membership, from the day the 1st bottle is available to 30 days after the release of the 5th bottle. Any bottles not picked up during this time period will be forfeited to CCB.

Membership is currently closed. However, there is a waiting list lottery you can join for the potential to join the next Edition of the Club. To find out more, click here.

Please note that the barrel-aged beers we select for El Catador Club are not necessarily exclusive to the club. Also, the 10% discount only applies in our Tasting Room at the original brewery on Spruce Street, and not at the Brewpub on North Dale Mabry, Cider & Mead Company in Ybor, or the airport brewery at TIA.


El Catador Club™: Past, Present and Future

From the day we introduced our El Catador Barrel-aged Beer Club in 2013, our goal was to foster a community of beer lovers who would appreciate our most ambitious and interesting projects and to include as many Cigar City supporters as possible in this community. We’ve been vigilant about the quality of the beer first and foremost; every beer we’ve released to our El Catador Club members we’ve been proud of, and we feel that we’ve always succeeded in our primary goal of producing world-class beer.

We’ve also been attentive to the customer service portion of the club. Those who have been with us from Club #1 have seen major improvements to the sign-up process, bottle pick-ups, trustee assignments and nearly every other facet of our interaction with Club members. You have also seen club editions of various lengths; some have lasted as long as 17 months and some club editions have seen bottles are released in a very short period of time. As part of our continuing customer service focus for the club, we’d like to take this opportunity to tell the story of our barrel-aging process, explain the reasons behind the different timelines and offer some expectations for the El Catador Club for 2017.

Every step of the production process in creating barrel-aged beers is an exercise in patience and balance. We’re currently producing as much beer as humanly possible at our facility in Tampa, meaning that the continuing production of our year-round beers like Jai Alai does have a direct impact on our ability to produce seasonal, specialty and barrel-aged projects. If it’s going to prevent us from supplying the market with our core beers, some of those specialty beers get put on the back burner, so to say. When we’re able to, our Production team will squeeze new barrel-aged projects on to our schedule to make sure we’ve got a succession of beers for our club members, and sometimes those opportunities to produce beer destined for barrels fall more closely together than others. Further complicating production is the need to make enough beer to supply the entirety of the Club. It’s not as easy as scheduling a single, small batch of beer like you may see in our Tasting Room; we need to make enough beer to supply the entire club and have some wiggle room for unplanned circumstances like spillage, failed barrels, and other minor catastrophes.

Once the beer has been produced and transferred to barrels, a variety of factors can contribute to the speed (or lack thereof) that a barrel-aged beer will be ready to bottle. The condition of the barrels when we acquire them varies from strong, clean and wet to leaky, dirty and dry. A barrel that’s been emptied of a wine or spirit very recently will be able to hold beer much more quickly than an older barrel that will require cleaning or rehydrating and will impart spirit character much more quickly. The temperature and humidity of the environment where barrels are stored is critical to the speed of barrel aging and with our current barrel storage area we are certainly at the whim of our Florida climate. Finally, the ability for wood to harbor beer spoiling organisms like brettanomyces, wild saccharomyces, lactobacillus, pediococcus and acetobacter also make wood-aged beer fraught with danger. We’ve had unfortunate run-ins with each of these organisms and they’ve colluded to ruin some very promising beers. When we have a leaky barrel or a dry barrel, or have to reject a barrel due to the presence of spoilage organisms it has a tangible effect on the timeline of the El Catador Club.

Once the beer is in barrels, we are essentially at the whim of the beers. Sometimes we find that the wood and spirit character that we’re looking for from a barrel is present in a few weeks, sometimes it can take several months. Even batches of the same beer in the same type of barrels can develop differently and finding the sweet spot in time between different barrels is one of the satisfying parts of the art-science balance in beer production that we love. Frequent tasting panels are conducted to monitor the progress of these barrel-aged beers and though we try to anticipate how quickly different beers will mature, we find over and over again that “the beer is ready when the beer is ready”, to quote Brewmaster Wayne Wambles.

As a result of all of these colluding elements, we’ve always been hesitant to set any guarantees on club timeline. We’ve come to a point, however, where we need to set some expectations to fulfill our commitment to customer service. Our goal for 2017 is to release fifteen bottles to our El Catador Club members before year’s end. This is indeed a goal, not a guarantee. We will never release beer that we’re not 100% proud of and that is not of the highest quality and will forever be at the whim of the above-listed factors. We do hope that setting a very coarse timeline for the next year’s club will help our members prepare for bottle pickups and plan their finances a little more accurately than in the past.

What else can you expect from the El Catador Club in 2017? More ambitious beer projects, more El Catador Club exclusive events, more improvements to our online portal and in-person pick-up processes. We’ve always aimed to create a bottle club that we ourselves would like to be a part of, and that means constantly evaluating our processes and procedures. If something is going to make El Catador Club membership a better, more valuable experience, we’ll try and make it happen.

We at Cigar City want to thank you again for your patience and understanding as the El Catador Club develops and hope that this email has shed some light on the past, present and future of the club. Here’s to a great 2016, a better 2017 and to the best fans and supporters that a brewery could ask for.

Prost!
-Cigar City Brewing