Time shall unfold. It’s a line from Shakespeare’s King Lear that has periodically popped into my mind over the past two years. In the play, the virtuous Cordelia addresses her sisters about their motives, telling them “time will tell.” Ever since I started this venture, I’ve had a picture in my head of how it all would go. It started with selecting an awesome location and then partnering with two incredibly talented and passionate people. Together, the three of us meticulously planned every detail of the brewery, from the brewing process, to the taproom, to the design of each mouthwatering recipe. Every step of the way we’ve tried to do the very best with what we’ve had. So here we are, days from opening our doors to all of you, and I’m smiling. I know how hard it was to get here, but I also know we didn’t cut any corners. And now, time shall unfold as you all have a taste of what we created.
We finally experienced that moment when you’re no longer just a construction project, but rather an actual brewery. Or at least you look like an actual brewery. We’ve been working feverishly over the past month to complete the taproom, finalize utility connections, and prepare the building for lots of shiny, beautiful, stainless steel tanks. And after a crazy two weeks, the equipment is now in the building.
We hit some pretty rad milestones over the past month. As mentioned in our last blog, we received our federal permit earlier this year. Since that memorable day, we have also received our Massachusetts license as well as town approval for our pouring permit. On the surface it’s just a pile of paper, but these wonderful, government-stamped papers mean we are now fully licensed to operate a brewery and pour full-size, insanely fresh, flavor-bursting beers in our taproom! Put your hand up right now, because we’re giving you a virtual high five in 3, 2, 1…
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
We watched the whole thing take place, but it still feels like it happened overnight. We were there in October when we first broke ground, but here we are in April wondering how the past 7 months went by in the blink of an eye. First there was a foundation, then walls, and now we have a magnificent 5,000 square foot space that is just dying to become a full-fledged operating brewery. Amazing.
When I reached the point where opening my own brewery shifted from a far-fetched idea to a legitimate career decision, I was especially excited about one particular aspect of starting a company. This brewery would be my new baby and as its parent I would provide it with arguably the most important attribute that would follow my baby for the rest of its life: its name.
It’s been a hell of a year. We started 2016 with a business plan, some lofty goals and lots of ambition, but that’s about it. Everything we “created” was just abstract ideas written on paper and there wasn’t much else in terms of tangible progress or results. Fast forward 12 months and we have a real company, a construction site, and a much clearer vision of what this brewery is going to be.
I’d rather be lucky than good, and in the case of finding a dynamic duo who are both incredibly talented and also crazy enough to start this venture with me, I was unbelievably lucky. Having these two around allows me to sleep soundly every night because I know our brewery and our beer are in good hands.
“Stop trying to make everyone happy all the time. You’re not beer.” -A brewer (probably)
In all of our excitement over getting this brewery open, we’ve been ignoring a very important subject in our blog posts so far: the beer. While I’m sure most of you are fascinated by things such as our floor plan, permitting, and state distribution laws, my guess is you’re probably more interested in what you’ll be able to drink once we’re open. So let’s actually talk beer!
One of the coolest things I’ve experienced during our planning and construction of this brewery has been the integration of brewery design and local history. On the inside, our brewery has been deliberately designed in a way that incorporates many modern-day brewing enhancements and efficiencies, allowing us to make the very best beer possible. Working as a brewer for two years in Seattle opened my eyes to so many things that I never would have considered had I made the jump directly from homebrewing to my own commercial brewery. From seemingly simple concepts such as process flow to more complicated procedures such as lab testing, so many important details would have been far beyond my experience level and likely would have been left out of our business plan.
There has been a lot of activity around the brewery over the last month, although our current work has been very different in nature from our previous work. We spent months writing a business plan, raising money, spending money, and ultimately putting our vision for the brewery into the hands of very talented builders, architects, equipment manufacturers, and government officials. Well, now we’re letting these individuals do their thing. And in most cases, their “thing” involves lots of phone calls, discussions about draft plans, and permitting. It’s not the sexiest part of opening a brewery, but it’s a necessary step so one day soon we can pour that first beer from our taps. While all of these important activities are happening behind the scenes, we wanted to quickly touch on another important issue that is being discussed in the craft beer world and in the Massachusetts Legislature: distribution.
More and more people have been asking me what it’s like to open a brewery. I always tell them it’s awesome, and that’s not a lie. It is awesome. I’ve been dreaming about doing this for years and to finally be following through on this dream feels really, really great. There is still a lot of work left before we open, but the craft beer industry is so amazing and special that even with so much on my plate, most days it doesn’t actually feel like work.
Often I think of the beautiful town
That is seated by the sea;
Often in thought go up and down
The pleasant streets of that dear old town,
And my youth comes back to me.
-My Lost Youth, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
When I first decided to open a brewery, I talked to a lot of brewery owners to set my expectations. Many of them told me that finding a good location took much longer than they had anticipated and was a huge bottleneck affecting everything else. Well, I can now confirm these statements as accurate.
And so it begins. I have to be honest, I’ve been thinking about this moment for a long time. It’s always been my dream to open a brewery (said everyone who’s ever had a late night drinking with friends), and even when I quit my desk job in 2014 to become a brewer, I often thought of the day when I would formally announce my plans to open my own brewery.