Monday, June 30, 2008

One less vacant spot in Chicago

If you were to judge by our blog alone, it would seem that we've been lounging around, popping bon bons over the past weeks.

Probably the biggest accomplishment has been to secure our brewery's location. We looked at a lot of places. I'm guessing around 20-25. All in the city, and all with some promise. This was the first time we'd researched commercial space, so we found ourselves once again ferociously schooled in the Ways of the World. Any kind of manufacturing has physical logistics. When it comes to a brewery, most of those logistics have to do with the need to use gratuitous amounts of water. In the brew vessels, around the brew vessels, under the brew vessels. This requirement definitely narrowed our choices conveniently.

Anyway, if you want to know more about what finding a space for a brewery is like, buy us a beer sometime and we'll regale you with stories. For now, let it be known that the new home of Metropolitan Brewing is: 5121 N Ravenswood, Chicago. Folks, this was exactly the location we wanted! We lived in the Ravenswood neighborhood for 4 years. Had we not been booted by the condoization of our apartment building, we'd still be there.

Of course, we love you all dearly but don't come to visit just yet. The space was an auto-body shop for the last 15 years and the phrase "we need to clean this place up" has taken on a whole new scope. Sandblasters have stripped the rafters down to the wood and the walls down to the brick. In dramatic and ironic contrast, the floor is covered with 6 inches of oily, paint-soaked sand. Next, we patch and customize the cement floor. See again, there's the whole water aspect coming into play. The brewhouse needs to sit on a floor that slopes and drains to a trench. Personally, I'm hoping to get a chance to try using a jackhammer.

Now that we have our location, the floodgates have been rent asunder. Now we start dealing with our licensing, the TTB, build-out, etc. Our equipment broker told me that he's never delivered a brewhouse to a complete space, just sitting there ready for the equipment to be screwed down. I told him that we would be the first. I went further to predict that we'd be reclined in lawn chairs in the dock doorway sipping coffee on the morning of our delivery. I can already smell that plate of crow he'll be fixing for me.