Friday, February 22, 2008

Almost There

I won't keep you in suspense-- the Health Dept. approved us!  We can legally brew beer!

Yesterday was a crazy day.  I had just come back from being away for two days picking up bourbon barrels, wine barrels, and barrel racks, and the Health Dept. inspection was at 3:30 in the afternoon.  The 3 phase power wasn't turned on, the gas wasn't functional, and I needed both in order to pass the inspection.   The Gas Company was to turn on gas today, so I wasn't worried that we wouldn't have hot water.  Edison is another story.

I pled to Edison to turn on my power.  I called up the Edison planner I had dealt with before and explained my situation.  The City had released my meter to Edison last Tuesday, and they didn't receive the authorization fax.  The City sent it again on Monday, and it was released in their system on Tuesday.  They probably weren't planning to turn on power until next week, since they usually give it 5 working days from when the authorization is received by Edison.  The Edison meter guy shows up, I locate the meter for him, and he's there for 15 minutes and then leaves without telling anyone.  I call up my Edison planner again, and ask what's going on.  He gets the meter guy to come back, and he tells me he can't put a meter on a panel where Edison can't put a lock on the main breaker switch.  It had been torn off a long time ago, and this policy just came into effect last week.  I run to get Tyler, and tell the Edison guy not to leave.  Tyler welds on a piece so it can now be locked within 10 minutes, and we then expect the guy to turn on the power.  He calls his boss to see whether he's allowed to turn on the power now that we fixed the problem, since this is not the normal way of doing things at Edison.  He goes to lunch, comes back, and tells us he's able to turn on the power.  

I realize this is not a very interesting story (This one time, in band camp...), but if we didn't get power, we would have to reschedule our Health Dept. inspection, which would have set us back one to two weeks.  Some days things just go right.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

I Can Almost Taste It!

Contrary to popular belief that The Bruery has liquidated all of its equipment and its owner is sitting at Hollingshead from 11 AM until 8 PM during the work week, and at Beachwood BBQ on Saturdays and Sundays drowning his sorrows, The Bruery's first batch is on the horizon!

The City of Placentia signed off our final inspection on Wednesday, February 14th.  I was elated to have the inspector come in, tell me the place is ready for business, and sign the last box on a long checklist of items.  It almost immediately changed my perspective from being in the brewery construction business to being an owner of a brewery and a brewer.  

This upcoming week the gas and electricity will be turned on, and we'll finally be able to use hot water and our pumps to clean the brewing equipment.  The Orange County Department of Environmental Health (Health Dept.) will be inspecting this Thursday, February 22nd.  If this inspection goes well, we'll be able to start brewing.  

We're looking to start brewing on Feb. 29th, which would allow us to start selling beer sometime in early April.  Hollingshead Deli will be our first customer, so they are graciously hosting an informal tasting to celebrate our first sale.  Kenny and I will be sure to let you know when that'll be!  

Also, keep Saturday, May 10th open for our grand opening party.  We will be open for business prior to then, but my priority right now is to get the beer out there once it's ready.  We will likely release a special seasonal beer at the party as well!

Thanks to all of you for being patient in this long process of opening a brewery.  I now understand what it is like to deal with construction and the bureaucratic process and why it takes such a long time.  While I hope The Bruery grows steadily, I'm not looking forward to building the next brewery!  Right now, I'm just looking forward to selling my first case.

Congratulations to Ben Cook of Hangar 24 Brewery in Redlands, and Aaron Barkenhagen of Bootleggers Brewery in Fullerton for brewing their first batches recently!  It looks like there's going to be a lot more great beer in Southern California very soon.