I inched a bit closer last week starting with meeting the general contractor for the construction of the Revolution Brewing production facility. I believe I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was able to hook up with Helios Build + Design, the GC for the Revolution project, thanks to my friend Jeff Sommers, the wildly talented architect and principal of Square Root Architecture. I met the folks from Helios last Tuesday for a tour of the jobsite and to get some construction info from them. Wow, what a great experience! Revolution Brewing is a brewpub here in Chicago, and a damn fine one. The brewpub has been so successful that in less than two years of being in business, they decided to build a separate production brewery to serve the retail market. So they'll be kegging and canning their beer for sale at stores and bars. The brewery is H-U-G-E. Something like 30,000 square feet. That's about 6x bigger than what I'm planning for space. The brewhouse is a gorgeous 60 barrel, 4 vessel sculpture of brewing love from Newlands. Their fermenters are 120 barrels and there are several of them. Revolution isn't fucking around here. To put these sizes in perspective, my brewhouse will be 15-20 bbl with fermenters at 30 or 40 bbl. Much smaller.
I was greeted at the door by Hans Fedderke, Aash Desai, and their civil engineer Jeff Werstak. All three gentlemen were extremely friendly and answered all my questions. You know how you can tell when someone just KNOWS what they're talking about? I always find that refreshing in people and the guys at Helios were a perfect example. They are very sharp, young guys who would be an asset to any construction project, I'm willing to bet. They showed me around the entire facility and afterwards we spent some time talking about what kinds of things I would need. I was looking for really general ballpark numbers for concrete, plumbing, and electrical costs. We also discussed various government incentives for everything from enterprise zone tax credits to energy efficiency based grants, things I was only barely aware of. They also spoke a bit about TIF's and SBIF's, which are special funds you can get if you improve property in designated areas. Lots of great info in a very short amount of time.
I'll have much more information to share once I start digging deeper into the construction phase, which is still a ways off.