Thursday, November 29, 2007

New Logo / Art Direction

You probably noticed a slightly different look to the blog-- there's actually a logo on the page. My older brother Casey designed the original logo, and Randy Mosher took it in a slightly different direction. I like both of them, but I've been told the new one is a bit friendlier. The shape of the shield it is in front of is a silhouette of the label design for one of our labels. I put the two together, so don't blame Randy if nothing is centered and it looks like crap.

By the way, I just wanted to thank Randy publicly on his great work with my labels and branding. Randy is a very talented artist who understands the craft brewing industry very well, and I hear his homebrew isn't half bad either.

Framing Complete And Lots of Other Stuff

Yet another milestone (there will be lots of those coming in the next few weeks)-- the vestibule has been framed, the city inspected it a few hours ago, and dry wall is going in today.

The plumbers are currently installing the copper piping for my sink area, and this area will be drywalled at the same time as the vestibule.

Tomorrow insulation will be replaced for half of the warehouse. They'll have to come out twice because the other side of the warehouse is packed with brewing equipment and bottles, so once the equipment is put into its final spot, I'll move all of the bottles outside and they will finish the insulation for the rest of the space.

This Monday and perhaps Tuesday the Stonhard urethane (UT) flooring is going in. Once it is in, I'll be able to start putting tanks where they belong and start connecting everything.

Another exciting event on Monday-- Tyler begins working for The Bruery. He will be much needed in setting up the brewing equipment and getting miscellaneous tasks done before Christmas so we can get our first batch brewed on January 2nd. There's a lot of things to do, and one minor omission could hold up the first batches by a few weeks, so Tyler will be of great help in getting things done. He appears to be excited about doing whatever it takes to get the doors open, so I know he will be a pleasure to work with.

Speaking of brewing our first batch on January 2nd, that leaves only 34 days to finish everything up. In reality, I only have 22 days to get everything done and pass inspections as after Dec. 21st, nothing will get done. The City is closed from Dec. 22nd until January 2nd, and I imagine the OC health department has a similar schedule. Did I say January 2nd we'd brew the first batch?

Wish me luck!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Mashtun has legs

Since my last cell phone blog entry worked so well, I'll continue to
post this way until I have something meaningful to say. Todd, my
stainless welder came over this morning and attached legs to the
mashtun. Its very tall (about 10'3").

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Concrete finished

The concrete work was successfully completed. I sprayed the whole
area down and the sloped floors worked like a champ!

I'm posting this from my phone (testing out "mobile blogging"), so
l'll be brief. Have a great Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Concrete Going In

Fifty to sixty cubic yards of concrete are going in as I write this and it's exciting as hell. The concrete and sewer are the most time intensive parts of the construction process, so things should be progressing nicely after this. Brewing equipment installation is scheduled for December 5th, the day after the Stonhard flooring is put in. Back to take more pictures and watch more concrete get poured.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Not Just a One Man Show Anymore

Over the past few months, a lot of things have happened while setting up this brewery, but two in particular have greatly changed my approach of running the business. The first is I've realized I can't do everything myself. I can't be the only person making the beer, maintaining the brewery, selling the beer, delivering the beer, promoting the beer, and so on if The Bruery is going to be successful. The second thing is I've had the opportunity to get to know a talented brewer at a time when he's ready for the next step in his brewing career. A few months ago, Tyler King told me he wanted to work at The Bruery from the very beginning, and he'd do it for free (don't worry EEOC, he'll be getting paid). Tyler wants to have the experience of being at a brewery from the ground up, and I need his help and expertise, so it was a match.

Tyler has been brewing with BJ's for around 5 years and is particularly skilled in yeast culturing and quality assurance / lab analysis. He is a great homebrewer as well, and is interested in brewing with wild yeast and souring organisms which will be right up our alley. If you stop by the brewery relatively soon, you can try his excellent Flemish Red on tap. He will be graduating from Cal State Fullerton in the Spring, and his last academic hurdle will be completing an internship in Marketing/Advertising at The Bruery. He'll be in charge of marketing our summer seasonal. Tyler and I will share in the brewing responsibilities, and at the beginning when our brewing schedule isn't too demanding, he will be working on sales as well.

Cheers to Tyler-- I'm looking forward to working with you.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Construction: Concrete Demo Completed, Plumbing Started

Things are moving right along here. All of the concrete demolition is finished, and the plumbers are now laying out underground sewer lines for sinks and the trench drain in the brewing area. Here's a few pictures of the concrete demo:

Monday, November 5, 2007

Construction Has Begun

Ahhhh, finally!  On Friday the concrete floor was cut in the perimeter of where it will be removed, and today the jackhammers come out and the floor (plus a foot of dirt) will be taken out.  There's a pretty decently sized tractor parked in front of The Bruery, so it shouldn't take too long.  After that, the rebar will be added to reinforce the concrete, the plumbing will be placed, and the floor will be poured back with a 1 foot high x 6 inch wide curb and sloped.  All of the plumbing and rebar will be put in this week, and it looks like pouring back the concrete will be happening next week.

I recently found out that the concrete will need to cure for at least 14 days (probably more like 21 days) until the Stonhard Polyurethane mortar flooring system can go in.  I was hoping to start placing the tanks a week or two after the concrete went in, but that's not the case.

Construction and equipment setup should be finished just before Christmas time, so I'm hoping to get the first batches in the fermenter before the new year.  If that happens, it'll be late January / early February before we open the doors.

I'll make sure to post timely pictures of the process.

Pictures I Should Have Posted But Now It's Too Late

I was looking through my iPhoto collection (I'm a Mac guy) and saw a bunch of pictures I meant to publish here over the last month, but never got around to it.

The tap room at Great Divide Brewery in Denver

A view of Great Divides' brewhouse from the tap room

Flying Dog Brewery in Denver

Oak foundres for aging of La Folie and other funky New Belgium beers. Anyone know where I can find one or two of these?

Rachel in front of Brewhouse #2 at New Belgium in Ft. Collins

The new bottling line at New Belgium.  This shot is really bad, but this place was amazing.  The line is fully automated, a full pallet of beer is packed every 2-3 minutes.  Definitely the pride and joy for the people at New Belgium.

On top of New Belgium's fermenters. It is pretty freakin high up here.

Rachel stayed on the smaller fermenters. I didn't blame her, but I had to man up and keep going.

New Belgium's offices / tasting room

Rachel at the GABF hall before the action started for the day.

A crappy shot of Logan's pre-GABF party.  This was a lot of fun, a huge variety of rare beers and some crazy art placed throughout the party

A few days after we got home, the fire started.  It got a few hundred yards from our house (this photo taken from our home), but luckily it didn't get past the fire station on Portola.