December is coming to a close, and 2019 is only a couple days away. We made enormous progress on the brewery construction this month. Here are a few highlights:
We assembled the 250 sqft walk-in cooler early in the month. We had the cooler pieces since June, and I was dreading the assembly effort ever since. We started bright and early on a Saturday morning. I began with prepping the area that was going to be the cooler footprint - clean floors and walls, appropriate tools at-the-ready, helping hands on deck. But we were missing one critical component - the assembly instructions. When I asked Dan if he had them (perhaps in a convenient electronic form), he replied with a wry smile - it didn’t come with any. #letthefunbegin
It was like putting a giant puzzle together. There was no mystery around what pieces fit together, and in this regard, it was like a puzzle for 4 year-olds….except all the pieces weighed > 80lbs. Wall panel, ceiling panel, wall panel, lock them together, repeat. Over and over. The assembly actually turned out to be one of those projects that is mildly difficult, but nothing insurmountable comes up, and everyone ends up having a good time joking around and getting it done. Zero trips to Home Depot also contributed to the overall level of fun. And in the end, there was an enormous cooler to gaze upon - a monument to our hard work and future cold beer.
But building a brewery is not all roses and butterflies. We made a few mistakes. Some were made a while ago and we just realized them as we began installing equipment. We planned for a few pieces of equipment to use 480V because that was what the builder said was going into the building...well, when the structure was finally erected, it turned out to only have a 220V feed. We didn’t realize this until the point where we were about to hook up power to our controls.
We ended up having to swap out some motor controls. Bummer. Not a delay to opening, but these types of things dampen the overall efficiency of our work, and thus I generally try to avoid these hiccups with careful planning and coordination. This won’t be the last problem we run into during the construction, but I hope the next one is resolved just as easily.
The holiday week afforded us lots of time to dive into some other meaty projects around the brewery - like painting. We painted the entire space (almost). This was a task that no one looked forward to with any pleasure. 5000 sqft, 20 ft ceilings. Even with an army of help, it was going to be a grueling few days. Except it wasn’t because we wisely borrowed a paint sprayer and that thing absolutely crushed it. One day = done.
Overall, it was a good month, but I’m glad that work is behind us and we’re close to finishing the construction. We might even turn on our brew system in January!