White Labs began through friendships in the San Diego region in the mid-1990s. The ﬁrst store to carry White Labs yeast was Home Brew Mart, in the Linda Vista area of San Diego. They carried one strain, WLP001 California Ale Yeast, for 3 years, selling out every week within 3 days.
The store continued to stock White Labs when the company expanded to 4 strains, to include WLP002 English Ale Yeast, WLP300 Hefeweizen Yeast, and WLP810 San Francisco Lager Yeast. Soon White Labs was available throughout San Diego and the rest of California, then the nation. Decades later, this store and White Labs are still thriving. Now, anywhere homebrewers are pursuing their hobby around the world, White Labs yeast is available as an option.
In its early days, White Labs innovated by providing higher cell counts and was the “original pitchable yeast.” Nowadays, providing a pitchable quantity of yeast for homebrew batches is the industry standard, but White Labs is again innovating by providing the ﬁrst yeast that has never been exposed to the environment after inoculation. Its patented FlexCell process for making yeast involves growing and shipping the yeast in the same container, from the smallest users (homebrewers) to the largest commercial enterprises. PurePitch® for homebrewers was expected to be released in mid-2015.
A number of programs support and promote White Labs in the marketplace. Soon after its founding, White Labs created the Customer Club to reward its loyal homebrewing customers. Club members can redeem the labels from empty yeast containers for new fresh yeast or other items (the list of prizes was revised in early 2015).
Another program that greatly beneﬁts hobbyists and the stores that serve them is the Freshness Assurance Program, the only return program in the industry. Stores that agree to stock a certain variety of yeast can return an amount that varies depending on sales, and all of this is calculated automatically by Yeastman, the online ordering and tracking technology at White Labs. This guarantees fresh yeast in the stores and a wide variety of options for consumers to choose from, a true win-win for all involved. The revised White Labs store listings at whitelabs.com that was set to debut in early 2015 were expected to highlight the stores that are enrolled in the Freshness Certification Program, further bolstering this important alliance.
Today, although making yeast for commercial users is White Labs’ #1 business by volume, the homebrew and hobby market is still a primary focus and the engine that drives yeast production on a weekly basis. More than 70 strains are made weekly for homebrewers. White Labs began with one strain in one store, but now regardless of the hobby – beer, wine, cider, and more – there is a White Labs strain to help and a store that will carry it. All of these hobbies are further supported by a network of FAQ questions, reviews, research, and tips for beginners on this website.
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