Wednesday, January 4, 2012

"Dude...It's starting to look like a hospital in here."

Well not really, but someone actually said that to me the other day.  I guess in comparison to how it looked before the analogy isn't that far off.  As of today the walls are officially done.  Over 2500 square feet of pristine white semi-gloss as far as the eye can see.  For the first time the place is starting to look sanitary enough to make beer (except for all the dust all over the floor).

 I think by the time I'm done I'll be wishing it was a hospital.  The truth is I am beaten and broken.  I guess I just can't handle physical labor as well at 35 as I could at 25.  But the good news is my ceiling stapling/ditch digging/drywall hanging/concrete finishing days are over.  While there is still a lot of work to be done the scope of the remaining projects is a lot smaller and doesn't involve hanging off a scissor lift 20 feet in the air.  In fact, the scissor lift went back to the rental company today.  I'm fully content never laying eyes on one of those things again!

In other news, the kettle was delivered as promised last Tuesday.  It took some work to get it off the truck but it's resting comfortably in the brewery now.  I unexpectedly found a good deal on a couple of single head bottle filling machines so it looks like I may be able to do some limited release bottling sooner in the business plan than originally expected.  I wasn't planning to do any bottling until late 2012 or early 2013, but it looks like maybe by the summer it will be possible now on a limited basis. The trench drain concrete is done and in my opinion looks pretty good for a guy who has never poured and finished concrete before.  As I mentioned the walls are done so I can now call the plumbers and electricians back to finish up their work.  First priority will be to get the toilet and sink installed and operational.  It's getting way too cold to pee outside.  I still need to decide what to do about sealing/coating the floors in the next few days.  I'll update more in depth on that later.

So shiny.
Now that's a drain.
The big news is that I received my Federal Brewers Notice Permit yesterday.  This is the first and (usually) longest permit to get.  I had been reading that it was taking anywhere between 4-9 months so I was worried.  Luckily it ended up being slightly less than that (105 days).  If you are reading this and thinking/working towards opening a brewery take this one piece of advice above all else you may read in this or any other blog concerning the federal permit process.  MAKE SURE YOUR APPLICATION IS AS COMPLETE AND ACCURATE AS POSSIBLE BEFORE YOU SUBMIT.  It's a big long pile of paperwork, but double and triple check everything before you send it in.  If you have a question about ANYTHING call the TTB and get it answered.  My reviewing agent said that the biggest reason why some applications take up to 9 months was due to a lot of missing/incorrect information that took a lot of "back and forth" to get corrected.  Luckily mine only had a couple of very minor corrections that were needed and we were able to correct it over the phone during my interview.

So I'm glad that hurdle is done.  Now the pressure is back on me though.  The next step is to schedule the site inspection with the ODLC (Ohio Liquor Control) so that my state A1 permit can get finished.  However the place needs to be a little more set-up than it is now for that to happen.  Before the federal stuff was done I always felt like I still "had time" to get everything set-up as the time frame was "out of my hands".  Suddenly that's not the case and now the regulators are waiting on me as opposed to the other way around.  It's a good problem to have, but now I really need to kick things into high gear (if I have any higher gears left)!