Our most-likely future building is part of this skyline

Building a Brewery

Building a Bigger Brewery: Weeks 22-24

Apr 5, 2017

How is it already April?!?  Time flies when we're having fun...AND WE'RE HAVING FUN!!!  Like I mentioned last post, transitions are tough.  We hired two new servers to alleviate some stress (Paige and Chelsea).  Beginning this week, Jesse and Chris are transitioning to some newer roles allowing me to focus more on production.  Everybody has been performing exemplary.

We got Zoning Approval!

I submitted a zoning application to the City of Akron last week to see if one of the buildings we are looking at is fully zoned for what we want to do.


The following is part of the letter that I received back:

"May we further state that within this Zoning Classification of Opportunity Park Urban Renewal District and under the City of Akron Zoning Code as it presently exists, it is permissible to establish an industrial/commercial/retail use of a production brewery, tap room and restaurant on this property..."

YAY!  The first hurdle is cleared.

The second hurdle

The second hurdle is with this building itself.  It is below grade with one freight elevator.  The problem with the freight elevator is that it can't accept 9-10' tall pallets of empty cans.  It CAN accept two skids and lift 16,000 lbs.

We spent a few hours with the building and new parking lot architect to see what options we had.  There weren't many outside for a giant ramp out of our potential space.  We then went back through the spaces to see if we can bring tall pallets of cans in another route not involving elevators.


One plan was to cut the floor here to build a ramp for a tow-motor from our basement brewery to this upper level loading dock.


The ramp would extend down into the below space which is next to our space.


Then product/cans has to get through several of these beams…which we would have to demo.




Not gonna work.

We scrapped this idea as it's way too much cost for everyone involved at this stage.

Another option

There is an option to put a lift on the parking lot side with tall bay doors.  I had to fire-up my spreadsheet and figure out exactly how many pallets I will be moving in and out every day when we are at capacity to see if a freight elevator and a lift will not bottleneck us.  By my calculations, it shouldn't...and I'm a conservative guy.  I haven't been wrong on my spreadsheets yet.

wall-mounted-lift-250x250 (1)

Wall mounted lift. Problem solved.


So the lift will go in the right corner.  We now have two ways in/out.  Tall pallets of cans through this one lift and heavy loads through the freight elevator.

A visit

The COO of the property management company even came in to meet with me and talk about the issues involved.  I am very impressed by the entire organization.  They really want to build relationships and have a great vision for their buildings and uses for the City of Akron.  They also really want to and have plans to continue to revitalize the downtown.  Our production facility could be a great anchor and they are very on-board with my vision.  Dave, the Asset Manager, has been equally great to deal with.  He has personally unlocked the doors when I/we needed in or had somebody do it - even on 15 minutes notice.  Dave has also been on top with zillions of texts (by myself) on a myriad of questions.  I have a good feeling about these guys and this company being my lessor and not just another absentee landlord.


With this building almost in-the-bag, I turn to endless spreadsheets to secure the financing necessary to get this project going.  Yeah.  A five year plan with the first several years spec'd out month-to-month.  Every penny accounted for on what's coming in and what's coming out.  We're having fun now.  I am also in contact with the City of Akron economic development team to see what the city may have for loans and grants...I mean, we are in the Opportunity Parkway Urban Renewal District...that should count for something?


I love to create things.  I want to create something super-cool for you to go to just like I did in The Valley.  We are absolutely going to continue to operate The Valley location.  That location will be super-important as it will serve as our R&D facility - we will keep cranking out new Lab Rats, Constitutions,  Knockouts and Super Smash Brews ONLY THERE.  Many production breweries, in my opinion, lose their innovation as they don't have a reliable small-scale system to do test beers on and to continuously crank them out.  I mean, who wants to risk a 20bbl+ batch of an experimental beer...and do it weekly?  The Valley location will be our continuing research facility while this new production facility will only be producing beers that you have given us the thumbs-up on in The Valley location.  They are going to work hand-in-hand but have every different food and vibes.

This production facility is a giant but manageable leap for us.  I hope to soon fully release my vision for it.  The core of this production facility and taproom will be people, service and atmosphere (and good beer of course).  I like to keep you happy, it's what drives me.

I'm going to leave you with this last parting shot...my favorite of all the pics that I have taken of this building.  All-natural, no filters.

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