Sorry for the lack of updates– things have been busy lately and I don’t have any accomplishments to gloat about. The most important thing I’m working on is getting Orange County Environmental Health (“Health Department”) approval, which we need before we can get our plans approved by the city, which has to happen before we start construction.
The Health Department has been pretty prompt so far, but we’ve come to a bit of a snag. They are requiring the brewery to be enclosed from the large cargo doors. This caught me off guard as in all of the production breweries I’ve been to, I’ve never seen this. Essentially, they don’t want the large cargo doors to be able to open up directly into the brewing area, so I’m trying to figure out how to fix this in an effective way that won’t impair my ability to run a brewery. Last week I sent a letter with an explanation of how my system is closed for much of the process, and completely closed from when the wort is 200 F+ in the whirlpool, among other reasons why enclosing the brewing area wouldn’t have a positive effect on the sanitation of my brewery. I received a response on Saturday that I’d still need to enclose the brewery.
My goal is to find a solution to prevent insects / vermin from entering the brewery as well as maintaining good access and ventilation. Rachel found a good solution: Clear View Motorized Power Screens. These would work great as they’ll keep out everything except the air. There’s a few other ideas I have for enclosing the brewery without putting up walls.
I’d like to avoid putting up walls in the brewing area as it would greatly impair my ability to add fermenters, as well as remove spent grain with the forklift. The ventilation and humidity of an enclosed area is another potential problem. Another way to enclose the area would be building a vestibule around the cargo doors, creating a small gap between the cargo door and a conventional double door. In this case, it would be difficult to bring in the dozens of pallets we’ll receive when we order malt, glass, etc. and it would make bringing in oversized parts like additional fermenters extremely difficult, if not impractical. I’m sure we’ll come to an equitable resolution that will work for the Health Department and for myself.
As for when we’ll start brewing, you’ll likely have to wait a few more weeks from when I’ve been telling you we’d be open. It’s looking more like we’ll start selling sometime in November. It is very difficult to project when I’ll be brewing, as new surprises come up all the time that take an extra day, week, or month than I anticipated. Opening as soon as possible is the ultimate goal, so I’m pushing myself and others to make it happen by Fall.
Opening in the Fall is not just important for maintaining my sanity, it’s important that my beers are on shelves during the Holiday season, as it is a strong time for sales and happens to be my favorite time of the year when it comes to seasonal beers. After New Years, many go on a diet, or no longer have disposable income after buying too much, and beer sales tend to be flat until March. If I’m not selling until after the holiday season, I hope you’ll make an exception in your diet and wallet for my beers!