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.
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.
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.