Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Build-Out Plans

We submitted our plans to the city last Thursday. The timeline for the plans to be back in our possession is 10 days from submittal. We are hoping that there is not going to be too many changes needed to the plans. Since this is a new venture into the city, things could get tricky. The many changes and details that were made to the plans prior to submittal should help with the process. The timing of the build-out plans, Health Department plans and ABC license seems to be on a collision course. They should all be approved within two weeks of each other. It is funny that even though I read various blogs and talked to many brewers, the timeline for the opening seems to be what everybody mentioned. "Take your projected opening date and add five to six months to that". Our initial opening date was sometime in September 2009. It looks like we are in-line to open in the month of March 2010. With much luck, it will be worth the wait.

ABC paperwork

OK, I believe that the Alcohol Beverage Control finally has all of our paperwork in order. The next step is for the paperwork to be reviewed by a supervising agent. If the paperwork is still in order after that step then it is sent up to Sacramento for one last review and approval of the license...two in our case. Even though the process was tedious and lengthy, the agent that we worked with was quite pleasant and insightful. She put up with all of our questions (which were many), responded quickly to our inquiries and kept the communication lanes open throughout. We can only hope that all of the paperwork will pass seamlessly through the next step.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

We put the final touches on our build-out plans this morning then took them for reproduction copies, dropped 3 sets off to our engineer with hopes that we can get them stamped soon. With any luck we will be able to get the plans to the city by the end of the week. In the meantime, we will be heading to the Health Department Wednesday morning to submit 3 copies for their assessment and hopeful approval. Spent all night arranging cut sheets for all of the equipment that will be installed and or placed into the brewery. The Health Department wanted a list, model and description of the items, so we thought we would go a bit further and give them some more paperwork to look at.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Brewer's Notice

We received our Brewer's Notice yesterday! It was not as painful as we thought it would be. We have heard the stories of needing to have your brewing system up and in place so that the TTB could come out and inspect it prior to receiving the Notice. During the TTB interview, I mentioned that I thought that they would have to inspect, like I had previously heard. The woman stated that they no longer operate like that. The interview was basically just a reiteration of what we had filled out on the packet, it lasted about 30 minutes. We then discussed our layout, which was not the current layout we had designed. I immediately emailed her the current layout without the partitioned walls. We had proposed only a curb around the brewing area, much like Patrick has at The Bruery. She then stated that they are requiring new breweries to partition the operation from the public. With that discussion along with a somewhat similar discussion with the Health Department, we decided to do away with the curb and construct a 10' wall with the top 6' being of a plexiglass material so the public can still see into the brewing area.

Next up approval and receipt of our ABC license, which we hope happens soon!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Today was spent between the Health Department and re-designing our plans. As we have already decided to (plexiglass) wall the production area, there is always more things that the HD would like to see. We noted that we are planning this "walling" of the brew area, which is something we have not seen much of in the Southern California area. They want to see our walls extend up to the ceiling of the warehouse. We have it designed to be a ten foot wall with the upper six feet being designated as a plexiglass material for viewing. There truly wasn't too much that needed changed regarding our last proposed layout, which was quite nice.
We will need to install an air curtain over one of our roll-up doors, while not being able to utilize the other, unless we install an air curtain for that one as well. Our standard door will only need to have a closing arm installed which would alleviate the need for it to have an air curtain as well. I asked if we could have all of the doors open at the "off brewing" times since we will not be in production at those times. I was told that we could not as we would be serving the public. I then mentioned that I don't understand how Costco can get away with serving food with no air curtains operating on any of their rollup doors. I was told that they have walls for their food preparation areas (which is true). I then stated that it was not the prep areas that I was concerned about. I mentioned that I am more concerned about the nifty little sample carts that are scattered throughout the warehouse, which I am sure that all of us Costco members enjoy...some more than others. The response I received was a chuckle with no explanation of how Costco can do that or how they can get away with it. I hope that I didn't stop the cart service as I enjoy them while shopping there. Anyway, I feel that the conversations went quite well and am confident that we can get through what we are proposing fairly quick.