Tuesday, March 25, 2014

William Street Beer - March Update

Well, today is March 25th, 2014. When we initially crafted our business plan; the master opus around which our brewery project has revolved, we projected an opening date in January. When we suffered delays surrounding our location, we had to very quickly revise our opening date to March 1st. Now, we have been waiting on the delivery of a crucial component of the brewhouse equipment, without which we cannot brew beer. Let me tell you, I hate delays. I hate long lines, I hate tardiness, I hate late dinners and I despise asking others for patience when I myself have little. However, as the weather warms and Cobourg has access to it's first brewery in over 100 years, I am confident that these little delays will be forgotten.

All of that being said, here is all of the good news...

Firstly, we are a fully licensed brewery. We are able to manufacture and sell beverage alcohol in the province Ontario. We received our federal license from the CRA earlier this month, and last week we received our provincial manufacturing license from the AGCO. On the heals of those two documents, we had our site inspection which confirmed that we are also licensed to sell product directly to the public from our onsite store.

Of equal importance, we learned this past weekend that the final component of our brewing equipment is being completed as we speak and that we should have it in our hands in the coming days. As soon as we had this info, we have been in a purchasing frenzy, arranging delivery of brewing grains, bottles, kegs etc.

In the past week we also had a thrill of finalizing our label designs with an incredibly talented artist and packaging designer. We can't say enough about the talent and creativity of Luke at The Design Firm.

As we continue through the final days of hard work leading up to our opening, we want to thank absolutely everyone who has supported The William Street Beer Company in it's development. We have been lifted up by the enthusiasm of friends and family, officers from all levels of government, the Cobourg and Port Hope small business communities, local radio and newspaper venues, the Ontario Craft Beer community, and our ever growing social media support network. Above all, we are thankful for the enthusiasm of our very thirsty neighbours who have expressed an unwavering enthusiasm for a community based brewery, crafting small batch beer from high quality ingredients.

All of that being said, the countdown is on. The coming days will hold some of our biggest milestones, as we complete the brewery, launch our onsite manufacturing and announce the opening of our facility to the people of Northumberland and surrounding areas.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Beer in the 'Bourg

Wow. It was certainly a week of firsts at the little brewhouse on William Street. We had some extra hands available to us because of March Break and we did our best to hit the gas and race towards our soft opening. Unfortunately, a mid week snowstorm broke our pace a little bit. However, things are so close we can taste it...and it tastes a little bit hoppy!

The theme for this past week was really about presentation. We worked hard to finish the store, installing flooring, painting trim, creating our blackboard menus and prepped for the installation of the bar and draught system.

We are also working hard on our labels. We really want to have something fun and interesting in that regard and could not be more excited to unveil what's coming down the pipe. The William Street label will stand out, that's for sure.

Tending mash is excellent for
opening your pores!
Obviously, the biggest news is that we brewed our fist test batch at the brewery on Thursday. We're still not at full capacity because of an incomplete brewhouse set up. However, we could wait no longer so we ran a 1bbl batch of a Cascade SMASH, just to get a feel for things. We wanted to be sure that we had all of our pumps, fittings hoses, chillers etc. in order so that we can hit the ground running when our final components arrive.

Truly, the brew day was not our most precise or dignified, but what can you expect with so many new tools. Despite some leaks, a scalded thumb and some wet pant legs, we managed to hit our numbers and our house yeast strain seems happy in their new home.

Lucky Duck!
We were also able to donate our spent grain to a small farm who were kind enough to stop by and collect it, as well as sending us some pics of their poultry diving into it. It's our goal to keep all of our spent malt out of the dumpster, so email me if you have any hungry animals who might be interested.

We still aren't able to confirm our opening date. However, what we can confirm is that we will be opening soon with limited product availability which will increase dramatically over the following days. What we can say for sure is that you should keep a
close eye on our FB Page for an announcement. We want to be sure that our friends get the first crack at Cobourg's beer. So stay tuned for short notice!

Seeya soon!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Who's ready for beer?

I know we've made this point a few times, but we really like making beer...and we like making beer in large quantities...and we like the opportunity to sell that beer to nice people. Well, it looks like we're going to be pretty happy in the near future.

OK - Here's what's been going on at William Street.

Firstly, we have been working at getting the brewhouse ready for production. We have been cleaning and prepping stainless steel tanks and kettles, sourcing and buying pumps, hoses and fittings and ensuring that everything is water tight. As I write this, everything is calibrated and ready for production. There is one element missing, but more on that later.

We have been placing all of our orders for ingredients and materials. There are truckloads of malted grain, bottles and kegs heading in our direction.

We have really been blessed with some great assistance from friends and family in the finishing of the brewery store. We have been splashing paint and tacking trim in preparation for our pending opening.

On Thursday, we received our Federal licensing in the mail. This is the item that allows everything else to fall into place. On Monday, I will deliver it to the provincial governing office and they will issue our other crucial license. This will allow us to commence the manufacturing of beer at 412 William Street with the intent to open our retail store and wholesale distribution in the weeks to come. Sweet.

So what does that mean to you?

If you live or work in close proximity to the brewery, you may notice some really great new smells over the next week or so.

If you like to sample beer, buy beer or if you are just curious about what a nano-brewery built in an old service station might look like, we will be announcing several invite only open houses starting later in the month. When we say invite only, we mean that they will be announced through social media and if you hear about it, we would love to have you. The dates will go out via FACEBOOK and TWITTER. We will hope to be at full productivity and open for full retail hours later in the month.

But what of the missing element? What could be missing?

Well, there is one element of our brewhouse equipment which is being custom built and is a bit behind schedule. Until it arrives, our brewing capacity will be reduced. Don't worry, we will be working feverishly to ensure that there is beer available to you in March. We may sell out of beer periodically in the first few weeks, and we appreciate your patience as we get up to speed. Your refreshment and enjoyment is our raison d'etre and we are excited to serve Cobourg and the surrounding area for years to come!

We look forward to seeing you on William Street!