There are many ways to measure a year: beers consumed, opponents bested, friends made, extra-dimensional incursions repelled with swamp gas, etc. The list is seemingly endless. But let’s try some compare and contrast.
This time in 2009, I had made a total of six Steins of Science. Now, the next stein I build will be #169. There are a lot of people around the world who now know the joy of beer that stays properly cold. So far the reach of global domination has spread from the USA to Australia, New Zealand, China (both mainland & Hong Kong), UK, Canada, and Brazil. I have reports that they have traveled more widely than that, confusing the TSA every time they see it in carry-on luggage. I also have the sad news that three have perished from intimate, high speed impact with hard objects (asphalt, concrete, and a Royal Navy pewter stein during an inadvisably vigorous toast, respectively).
The Black Blood of the Earth has not globe trotted in the same respect as the Steins of Science, but has gone out in far greater volume. This time last year, I could only hope to crank out about 6L a week with the Iteration II processing and it was an arthritis-inducing endurance battle. Now, with the Iteration IV process I can do 6L a day and have been maintaining that level production for the better part of three months. By my estimate, I have brought the better side of a 800L of BBotE into the world, though I must admit most of that was for my personal consumption, to keep the gears turning at St. George Spirits, and helping produce excellent science from the UC Berkeley Chemistry Department.
A good chunk of that 800L has gone out via the BBotE Pimps & Pimpstresses that stepped up to the plate so they could spread the love more readily to their local denizens. This time last year, I was still trying to figure out if I was going to kill myself playing with this stuff, reticent to share it with others I couldn’t look in the eye. Today, you’ve got locals in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Portland, and Detroit willing to hook you up. Seattle and Champaign-Urbana maybe coming soon, so look out.
The questionably applied science of Funranium Labs has crept into strange corners of the internet that has introduced me to some interesting people. Between Warren Ellis threatening to develop POWERS, a shout from Mr. Ed Zitron in the Huffington Post, Ryan Flinn at Bloomberg, the UC Berkeley Alumni Association, and the people that kicked it all off, Thrillist SF, tens of thousands of people have come to read my blather and see the wares. Admittedly, most folks bounce after looking at the price of a stein but hey, you’re still reading this, so thank you. Let me not forget the highest honor I think I can achieve, which is to be listed as a real-life example of Sir Terry Pratchett’s “Klatchian coffee” on tvtropes.com.
And then there’s every tweet, every “HOLY CRAP, he wasn’t kidding about the 100ml/day”, all the denunciations of the steins as witchcraft (tasty, tasty witchcraft) that the Test Subjects and Steinwielders have made. You’ve all provided me the excellent addiction of trying to figure out just how people discover my dark corner of the internet.
Of course, the fact you can read this at all is a testament to the work of two people who were depressed by my lackluster web development skills and offered to drag this site out of the mid-1990s: Jason Pulliam and Brad Hubbard. Thank you guys for making this something real that people can enjoy, rather than endure.
And really, the true thanks goes to you that have read this far. It comes with the reward of a coupon code. “YEARONE” on checkout will knock 10% off your purchase through the Ides of January in thanks for all of you being, well, awesome. The guiding ethos of Funranium Labs is improving lives with More Awesome and you’ve definitely added some to mine.