We will be posting information and pictures here as we progress on the construction project among other cool details. We plan four to five months of construction and renovation of the facility. Most of the work at the beginning will be indoors.
Well, we are less than a week away from opening. We are working late hours to wrap things up in the taproom. Thursday we get our occupancy inspection so contractors are wrapping up last minute items. I’m starting to worry about the small things like…coffee creamer, stir stick, toilet paper. But it is all coming together nicely. Cody, our brewer, is hard at work making great beer.
On the brewery side, it has been quite a process dialing in the brew system. We have had a few hurdles like our heat exchanger that is used to cool down the wort before it hits the fermentation tanks. We disassembled it last week. We dreaded that but we did it and it fixed our issue. So now we are rapidly trying to catch up on our production. We will have five beers ready to release on August 14th with more coming later in the week.
So now its about time to switch modes from construction to serving you, our loyal customers. This is quite a new experience but our goal is to provide you a great place to relax and have great craft beer. I think you will love our taproom and want to spend hours there with friends or even just you and your laptop savoring a pint. See you soon.
Oh yea, kilts are welcomed!
So in the past, I have read many brewery blogs when they are starting up and there was little detail at the end of their blogs. Well, now I know why. It is crazy busy getting everything up and running! But soon you will be sitting in the taproom and drinking a Red Dragon Brewery beer!
So what’s been happening? Well we have two parts going on…the brewery side and the taproom side. The brewery has been completed and last week we received our brew system. We brewed our first two beers and will be brewing five more times this week to fill all seven fermenters. What’s brewing? We’ll post that on our “Our Beers” section of the website right before opening day. I’ll talk more about our opening date below.
The work in the taproom is moving rapidly to a close. The bathrooms are almost done, the bar is just about finished, and the outside is looking….I must say… very cool. If you have driven by lately, you can see the new windows on the front and side facade. Lights have gone up as well and it’s getting a nice coat of Charleston green paint. It looks almost black but in the sunlight you can see the dark green tone.
Throughout this entire process, we have been blessed with many volunteers. I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you. Without you, we would not be where we are today. You are a part of this wonderful community that is the center of Red Dragon Brewery. And that’s what we offer to you…our customers… a place not only to get great craft beer, but a to bring a sense of community to the area. We are a place to come hang up your hat at the end of a long day, to sit and talk to a friend or someone that you never met. As William Blake wrote: “There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met”. I think that says it all.
So when do we open? We are going to open to the public on August 15th at 4 PM. We will have our Grand Opening on Saturday, August 20th at 11 AM. We will put our event agenda together as we get closer. The excitement is building! We are as anxious as you to open. Not much longer now!
I am sorry for not writing more lately. We are at this peak right now where lots and lots of parts are moving and there is so much to do. Not only are we working on construction, but we have bills to pay, budget to balance, employees now to pay, and order parts, parts, and more parts. It definitely is a juggling act especially when you throw in your responsibilities to your family and your full time job. But, we are not complaining but merely stating why I have not blogged and have been a bit lacking in the social media. That will all change shortly.
So, what has been happening. Well, we have almost finished the brewery side. Most of the electrical has been run and the last of the drywall is up and is about to be sanded. The cooler has been completed and is fully operational. Since we don’t have AC yet, it’s nice to step into the 38 degree room for a few minutes to cool down. I have been working on the glycol system and putting together the lines. Dan has moved his efforts to the taproom side and the exterior. We fully opened up one of the windows over this past weekend. It was awesome to see the original frame seeing daylight for the first time in many decades. It will look awesome once we get the glass in and expose all the windows. The drywall is about 75% done in the taproom side including the bathrooms. The restrooms are quite big so there will be no lines there!
We are constantly receiving orders…. brewery parts, bathroom parts, banners, merchandise, hops, tools…you name it, we’re getting it. We do have a full time brewer now. He is at the brewery checking in all those parts, working on recipe formulation, cleaning tanks, and wearing many other hats right now. We expect to get our brew system in two weeks. We hope to have our TTB license around that time as well.
We are still shooting for mid-late July for our grand opening. So stay tuned. We will be at Rock the River event at Old Mill Park in Fredericksburg. We can’t sell beer yet…we can’t even brew yet… but will be there selling our awesome t-shirts, bottle openers, glasses, and growlers. We hope to see you there. Come by for your free sticker and/or car magnet and say hi!
Before I close out his post, I want to say a big thank you to all that have come down and helped over the past months. Dan and I thank you for your labor. We could not do this without you.
We have had a big push on the brewery side of the building. Tanks and the brew system should be here in two to three weeks. All the plumbing has been laid in the building and concreted over. We have been epoxy patching large cracks in the floor and will be grinding it hopefully this weekend. Dan and his wife, Bobbi, have been up on the scissor lift painting the brewery ceiling. Some drywall still needs to get done on the tenant partition wall. That’s quite a chore and expense since it needs to be 3-hour rated. The walk-in cold room arrived as well. We will set that up once the floor has its epoxy coating.
It has been crazy busy but soon you will see the results of this project. If all goes well, we will be prepped to brew in four to five weeks (if the TTB comes through). Then we can start the renovation on the taproom side. As I write, the bathrooms and office are being framed! Exciting times!
I want to thank all the volunteers that have come out and given us a hand! We couldn’t do it without you!
I know it has been a while since I wrote a post about the status. Things are quite busy as you can image. We got our building permits so construction is in full swing. We are concentrating our efforts on the brewery side now. Walls are going up and the concrete floor has been cut for the plumbing since there is no plumbing currently.
Equipment is rolling in and my garage is filling up with barrels, sinks, brewery supplies, etc. The tanks have shipped and they should be here the second week in May. The cooler should be arriving this week.
Yes, we have been cleaning and cleaning still. Our building was a commercial laundry facility. We have rafters that we have to clean. We do this by going up on a scissor lift and using a shop vac to suck up dusk and lint that is inches thick! Fun…not really but part of making this place awesome. We are also scrubbing and prepping the floors in the brewery area for epoxy. We are about ready to submit our plans for a building permit and then the plumbers can come in and put in all the drains.
Last weekend, a bunch of supporters came in and removed a huge storage rack that contained bundles of poster, scrubbed floors, helped with odds and ends. Finally, all the landlords items are out of our space. Thanks to everyone that has come by so far to help us out! We have more cleaning this weekend.
On the admin side, we have submitted our application with the Virginia ABC and are moving forward with our public notices. We have also secured a bond for the VA ABC as well. We applied for a facade improvement grant with the City of Fredericksburg to help with some of the costs of the exterior renovation. We have been sorting out supplier for our ingredients.
Really, we are moving forward although we are not making huge strides with construction. Lots of details are going on in the background…orders being made, bookkeeping, taxes, meetings, documentation, creating operating procedures, etc..etc..etc. Stand by… next time I write we may be in full construction mode!
This week consisted mostly of cleaning the walls and ceiling. Dan spent the week 20+ feet up using a scissor lift to vacuum the ceiling and walls. You know how bad your laundry room gets with dryer lint, well this place was a commercial laundry. So there is dirt, lint, and dust everywhere.
We continually have administrative tasks going on as well. Tasks include prepping documents for our accountant for 2015 taxes, ordering equipment and getting invoices, to keeping a detailed ledger. Also, we are aligning all our expenses to our budget. We are submitting our applications to the City for our Corridor Review and our Minor Site Plan. Next, we will finish paperwork to attempt to get grant money for our facade improvement.
By the way, this is Dan’s birthday weekend…so Happy Birthday Dan!!!
We got our demolition permit from the City and have basically finished the demo. The large gas pipes that were in the brewery area are now gone. It opened it up and looks ever larger. Dan still continues to work on the windows, removing the glass and assessing the condition of the wood. We continue to just clean things up in preparation for the construction.
I have been working on paperwork….lots and lots of paperwork. We filed our TTB application and are now working on our VA ABC license. We got our business license and signed up for meals tax. Draft beer will be taxed by the Commonwealth and the City. We are going to submit two more City applications next week and are applying for a facade grant from the City to help with the expenses on renovating the exterior. Dan’s wife Bobbi has done a great job creating the building plans. The City will not accept those since she is not a licensed architect. So, we are searching for an architect to review and stamp the plans. There goes more cash! It’s not like we are doing serious engineering or altering the structure but we have to comply with the City if we want a building permit. I never imagined there would be this much red tape to open a business. All the City employees have been wonderful to work with. They are following their guidelines and we feel like they want us to succeed. There is a financial burden for all the time it takes to go through all the processes.
The fermenters and brite tanks, brew system, and glycol chiller have all been ordered (different companies). More orders will be going out soon and hopefully in three weeks we can begin construction inside. The first priorities will be getting the plumbing done and the tenant walls put up. Lots going on!
Dan and I spent most of the weekend working on the brewery. I worked mostly outside cleaning up debris, trimming the grass and edging around the sidewalks. Dan spent time inside uncovering the boarded up windows. We also cleaned out a lot of the trash and moved around the landlord’s items to clear up our space. It was fun to have our families helping out.
Again, we have a week of meetings… zoning applications, get ready for 2015 taxes with our CPA, then a meeting with the City’s Economic Development Authority. We should be ordering our tanks and brew system by the end of the week.
Below is a panoramic photo of the brewery before we started to clean it up.
It is January 15th 2016 and we get our the keys to the building today. We are starting some minor work today and doing some clean up on the building. We are working on our TTB application and about ready to order our equipment. We are going to be a 4 barrel brewery with 7 fermentation tanks and 7 brite/serving tanks.
The building is located at 1419 Princess Anne Street in Fredericksburg, VA. It in located in a commercial transitional zone. We have residences nearby which has some complications as far as the City of Fredericksburg is concerned. We went through a change of use process for the zoning. We made it through that. Then we had to go through a Special Use Permit process as well to be able to serve the alcohol we brew due to a new City ordinance. That process contained two public hearings: one with the Planning Commission and the last with the City Council. We made it through both processes with flying colors. The key to this was working and meeting with the members of the neighborhood in advance of the process.
So, now we have a few more processes to go with the City. One is a minor site plan to account for where we are putting the HVAC system and adding parking spaces (among other items). Then we have to get our façade improvements approved and then we have to get signage approved. This is all in addition to the building permits. And all of these processes cost money. No only does the City bill, they require certified and return receipt letters mailed out to the residents in the area.
Dan and I will be doing some minor things in the beginning while we finalize the interior and exterior plans with the designer. Stay tuned for updates and pictures.