That's a Wrap!

Guess what? That blog post title is a pun! Yup, when I'm not planning my brewery, I spend all my free time ignoring my family and just working on really, really clever puns. Here's where the pun is explained: So the big news right now is that I've hired Wrap Architecture (pun revealed!!!) to do all my design and drawings required for permits/construction.

Here's Wrap Architecture's first pass at creating a schematic drawing of the space. These folks are leaving no stone unturned!

Wrap are a husband and wife team of Cheryl Noel and Ravi Ricker. In the brewing world, they are probably best known as the architects behind both Revolution Brewing's brew pub and production brewery.

They came highly recommended from numerous people in the business and after meeting with them, I could immediately see why. Very knowledgeable and just damn nice people.

So now, we wait while Wrap and their consultants do their thing. We're talking general layout, mechanical, plumbing, and electrical plans and building code research (always fun in Chicago). This is going to take a few weeks.

After all the plans are completed, we'll be submitting drawings to contractors for bids and submitting for building permits. The building permit process in Chicago is a complete nightmare, but we'll get through it.

Since my last post I've also taken care of my general liability insurance for the business, got my surety bond for my TTB application (which is 99% ready to submit), and have firmed up what hops I can get from a variety of suppliers. I'll FINALLY have my hop contracts in place before the year is over. Slim pickings, but we'll deal with it. I've also done more detailed research on steam boilers and glycol chillers.

As usual, many wheels in motion. Lots of cogs in this machine, but we're getting there!

Milestone: Numbers (No, really this time. Honest.)

If only it were that easy. Last week I posted about having all of my costs for the brewery including start up costs and monthly expenses, except for glycol chiller installation. Well, I also discovered that I didn't have the cost for steam boiler installation too. That's kind of a big expense to miss.

Now I have both. Boom. So now I really, really have all of my numbers. It's amazing to me how fast this has taken off. Back in January I had only a vague idea of a few of the major costs required to start a brewery. Now I have everything I can think of.

It helps when you literally walk through a brewery with the owner like Doug at Metropolitan and write down every item you see and the names and numbers of some of the people who install or sell said item. That's exactly what we did and I highly recommend doing that with a local brewery if you can. Just take an hour and walk through the brewery, pen and paper in hand, and write down everything. Doug not only pointed out some components I hadn't thought about (like an industrial air compressor), but he also told me how much said item might cost, where he bought it, and the contact info for the installer who set it up for him (like the walk in cooler). This was extremely helpful.

Sure, there are a few things here and there I've missed, but I feel very confident that I have all the estimated costs for 99% of the equipment, installation, and monthly expenses that I need to get Panic Alarmist Brewing up and running.

Feels good. Real good.

Ice And Steam

Another busy week this week, but for different reasons than last week.  My plan last week was to get all my construction costs ballparked this week.  Well, that didn't happen but I definitely made progress and I had two other  equally important issues to address this week, one was income taxes, the other will be discussed in the next post. Steam boiler?

I managed to finally have a phone chat with Tony at Meilner Mechanical, a steam boiler reseller out in the Chicago suburbs.  Meilner represents Columbia steam boilers, which are quite popular in the craft beer industry.  Columbia is based out of PA and their products are made in the USA, and I like that a lot. Meilner has worked with many craft breweries all over the world so I'm pretty thrilled that they're local and have the knowledge I'm going to need.  Tony and I had a very long discussion and I learned quite a bit.  As of this writing, I'm still waiting for my quotes, but the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and I can be pretty damn squeaky.

I also spoke to Bill Martin at Superior Refrigeration.  Bill is THE walk in cooler installation guy for craft breweries here in Chicago.  He obviously deals with all kinds of customers who require walk in coolers, but he's been involved with most of the craft breweries here in Chicago, so he knows his stuff.  Bill was very friendly and knowledgable and will be emailing me some quotes in the next few days.

I'm absolutely thrilled to have the knowledge and resources of these two entities and I know they're going to be extremely important once build out begins.

Update 03.11.2012: Quote received from Superior Refrigeration.  One down, one to go.