Sunday, October 30, 2011

Construction Update 10-30-11

The old saying goes that when planning a construction project you should count on it taking twice as long and three times as much money as you planned....or is that twice as much money and three times as long.  Either way it is a painfully true statement.  I like to believe that I have made appropriate accommodations for the money side of things, but the timing side of things gets on my nerves sometimes.  I started getting the drawings for the brewery together in late July.  Permits were applied for in early September.  After some revisions and a trip back to the architect they were approved a few weeks ago.  Great, now I can get to work doing the modest amount of renovations needed to make the place inhabitable....sorta.

So last weekend we did some framing.  By we, I mean my brothers-in law, with me fetching tools for them.  It took all day but we (they) got it done and I must say it was nice to see something substantial being done in the space.  We also have to frame a new entry door, but due to an ordering snafu on my part, I had to return the original door (special order) that I bought so we did not have it available.  Rather than potentially framing it incorrectly we decided to wait.  So why am I telling you these minor details?  Well it all adds to the "time lag" that is the source of my primary frustration these days.  Even though I have the general building permit in hand, I can't just start swinging a hammer at anything I want.  Everything has to go in a certain order.  Right now the order goes like this:

1.  I can't get the electrical work done until everything is drywalled.
2.  I can't hang drywall until the framing passes an inspection.
3.  I can't get the inspection until the aforementioned doorway is framed.
4.  I can't frame the doorway until I have the door (which I just got a few days ago).

So something as simple as ordering the wrong door has plugged up the whole works.  I've been staring at a pile of drywall for a while now and I can't do anything with it!  Please don't misunderstand.  I don't mean for this post to sound like a rant against the building permit process (I'm not quite to that point yet).  I'm just learning as I go so this is another in what will be a long line of "learning experiences".  However, I am very optimistic that things will jump into high gear soon.  Once the framing gets the OK from the city I'll be able to drywall and work on covering the ceiling.  That will definitely keep me busy for a while.  Plus, the plumber is coming tomorrow so we can lay out the trench drain for saw-cutting.  I can't wait to get the saw fired up!

It ain't much but it's a start!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

All Hail the Coming of Yuengling....except me.

OK.  In my first post for this blog I mentioned that I might occasionally diverge from my ramblings about starting this brewery to other random thoughts on the "state of beer" in this city and beyond.  I've yet to do that so far.  The imminent arrival of Yuengling in Ohio seems as good a time as any to start.

Let me first start by saying that I in no way intend to offend anyone with these occasional diatribes.  If you find something in one of these posts that you feel is a personal affront to your sensibilities then I apologize in advance, as that is not (and will never be) my intent.  End disclaimer.

I don't hate Yuengling.  I've had a few of their beers a few different times.  Any brewery that can survive as long as they have and still be a family run operation is aces in my book.  I applaud their success and careful expansion into new markets when they feel the time is right.  That being said, I can't see what all the fuss is about.  The beer was......OK.  A fine example of what American Lager is supposed to be.  It's a better beer than Budweiser/Miller/Coors.  In the end though, it is still plain old American Lager.  But for as big a deal as everyone is making out of them finally coming to Ohio you would think it is the most amazing beer ever to grace this Earth.  People that aren't even that "into" beer come up to me and say how excited they are about Yuengling coming to Ohio and they've never even tried it before.  I know way too many people that have made road trips to Pennsylvania or Tennessee to fill their trunks up with the stuff and then stash it away and hoard it as if it was Pliny the Elder or something.  I even know a guy who buys it to stock his fridge and he doesn't even drink beer.  He just likes to give it to people when they come over to his house.  He proceeds to rave about how good it is and harps on the fact that you can't buy it here as if he is doing you some great service by giving you this "rare treat".  Weird.

I just don't get it.  Is it the nostalgia of it?  (I refer to this as the "Burger Beer" effect - "My Dad used to drink XYZ beer so now I do too")  Is it the scarcity of Yuengling that has elevated it to this mythical status around here?  Is it the allure of being able to drink a reasonably priced lawnmower beer that didn't come from the big corporate behemoths?  Is it because a Bud/Miller/Coors guy finally has something else he can drink that doesn't "offend his tastes" like other craft beer?  I guess we'll see.  Once the novelty of not having to drive to another state to get it wears off, will it still be the coolest thing around?  Who knows.

Again, I am not begrudging Yuengling at all.  I hope they are very successful in Ohio and beyond.  I'll even drink one myself occasionally.  I just don't get why everyone is going so crazy over it.  If we were just getting Leinenkugel's or Old Style or Iron City into this market would everyone be so damn excited?  Besides, there are a lot of things happening in the local craft beer scene that are getting overshadowed by this "big news".  Just remember there are only so many tap handles in a bar.  Bud and Miller will still have theirs.  Now a third "fizzy yellow water" (to borrow a phrase from Greg Koch) will be on tap at a lot of bars too.  Who's the one who loses out?  That's right.  The tap that used to have that nice local Pale Ale or craft IPA (for example).  Taste diversity is a great thing.  The coming of Yuengling may set this town back a bit in that department.....

ADDENDUM 11-5-11

I was just in a Kroger perusing the beer aisle as I am known to do and I couldn't believe what I saw:

They have actually cleared a space on the shelves in *anticipation* of having Yuengling 10 days in advance!  I really think this has gone too far.  Anybody in the beer business will tell you that grocery store shelf space is a VERY valuable commodity.  And yet here it sits....empty.  Are they purposely trying to drum up more excitement by this ploy?  Couldn't you put some craft beer on this shelf at least until the 13th?  There are a lot of small breweries out there that will KILL for this shelf space...even if only for a little bit.


Sometimes I hate it when I am right....Today I was in a local tavern that I occasionally visit and noticed they now have Yuengling on tap.  No big deal, that's happening in a lot of places these days.  This particular establishment has 12 taps and a relatively OK selection including DogfishHead 60 minute, Left Hand Sawtooth, and a few other good craft beers to go along with the requisite Bud and Miller taps.  They also carry Rivertown and Mt. Carmel.  Guess which tap the Yuengling is now on?  That's right, they bounced off one of the locals.  In this case Mt. Carmel.  So at least for this bar, my prediction came true (unfortunately).

Of course the bar has the right to do what they feel will sell the best, and maybe Mt. Carmel was the slowest moving beer there.  Still, makes me a bit sad.  I'd rather drink a Mt. Carmel than a Yuengling anyday.....