We often get praised for the amount of due diligence we've put into this initiative (i.e. how much effort we've made in the planning, research and product development of all things GrassLands Brewing Company over the past 3+ years). Well, you can do all that planning and still have a big fat question mark when it comes to selecting your primary brewing system. Fun Fact: we still haven't selected it yet.
But not to worry! We are close to making said selection, but it hasn't been a priority until just recently. Our plan, as you know my dear readers, has always been to launch our taproom and grow into the brewery...going with an onsite pilot system first. What's that you say? You didn't know that? Well, now ya do! Right now, there's a new brewery opening every single day in this country (on average). That's a lot of demand on the Feds to process applications left & right. They've gotten better as of recent, but at one point in time during our development, the wait period between when you applied for your Federal Brewer's Permit and when you actually received said permit was freakin' 200+ days! That's a ton of capital to burn if you don't have another revenue model.
Our solution? Get the taproom flowing first and establish a location that gets built out over the first several months we're open as a taproom. Now that the wait period isn't so astronomical, we can manage our build-out a little better. I've always said, if we can get our taproom open and brew on a pilot system at the same time, that'd be EXCELLENT! But I'm a realist and I don't expect that'll happen, even though it'd put a permanent smile on our faces. We'll still try, regardless.
Anyways, selecting your primary brewing system is a major PITA...if nothing more than what you select will likely push your business for the next several years; and potentially beyond that. Do you go brand new or used? What are the pros and cons of both? How about steam or direct fire? What size? How many fermenters? Is your building suitable for a specific system? What's the fabrication timeframe? As you can see, there's a ton of things to consider before you ultimately pull the trigger. We're close, as I already mentioned, but before you purchase your system, you need to plan around it. New Atlanta brewery Eventide Brewing wouldn't even sign on the dotted line until they could travel out to the west coast and actually put their hands on the welded steel. Smart move, IMO.
Then there's the consideration you have to make in your expansion. Scaling up in size is an important thing to remember when you're planning out your business - as we've been told numerous times over & over. We've got those plans in place, but it heavily weighs on my mind each night. At least you can rest assured that we're looking at this thing from every possible angle...and we haven't even brewed a commercial pilot batch yet!
With all that said, we've narrowed it down and we're close to purchasing our pilot system, which will be a 2-barrel natural gas-fired system that'll feed 3-4 barrel fermenters housing experimental recipes galore! We can't tell you how surreal it is to be this close while also knowing how much has to be done between now & when we're a legitimate operation. Let it be known, the next three months are gonna be mind blowing (at least to us) :D - primarily because we'll also be nailing down our primary system too...
Kinda short & sweet this week? We're psyched about providing the beer for our good friends at Raley's Confectionary to celebrate their 1-year anniversary this weekend at a private function. The beer? A collaboration Belgian Quadrupel brewed with Wes' own confectionary candy! Cool, eh? At 10+% ABV, this should be a fun party :)
With that, we'll leave you to it for now. Have an awesome weekend, my dear readers, because you most definitely deserve it! Stoked about things to come!