We'll keep this short and sweet, since the pictures are worth at least five thousand words. The production side of our brewery is almost complete. Both the hot side and the cold side are assembled, plumbed, and wired, and if you don't mind us saying it ourselves, they're looking good.
We've already improvised a few subsystems. Our tap water was coming in at over 70 degrees, which is too warm and can slow down the chilling process as we prepare to ferment. This likely would only be an issue during the summer, but in those months, could add several hours to the end of our brewdays. So, Pete and Steve, the contractor who's been helping us with our pipefitting, devised a glycol-cooled pre-chiller that will fill the two white tanks you can see below the brewstand in the top left photo.
We also installed our new (ok, used) coldroom over the last couple weeks. We now have nearly 450 square feet of cold storage. We'll use this to store newly kegged beer as it comes out of the brewery, though at the way beer has been selling this summer, it may go straight out the loading docks and never even get to stay in our cold room. We'll also be able to store specialty kegs we wish to age here (vintage Worthy Adversary, anyone?), growlers, and the kegs supplying the draft lines in our taproom.
Speaking of the taproom, see the finished space below! Okay, just kidding, it's not even close to finished. Since the taproom bill became Minnesota law in May, we've been working to incorporate it into our layout. It's been a bit of a juggling act since we hadn't originally budgeted for building a bar and seating area, but we think we'll still be able to make a cool space to share some beers with the neighborhood.
We've received our Certificate of Occupancy (CO) from the City of Minneapolis, and just passed our Minnesota Department of Agriculture inspection last week. We're still waiting on our Brewer's Notice from the TTB, and our Minnesota manufacturer's license. Those are at least 2-4 weeks out, but at that point, we're (finally) an officially licensed brewery -- but that's just the wholesale side. Taproom and growler sales each require their own license, which could take 4+ weeks after the manufacturer's licensing is complete. So, as much as we'd love to be slinging growlers in early September (ok, right now), it looks like the stars will have to align for it to even happen before October is done. Not to worry though - we're planning to be here for a long time, so it'll be worth the wait.
In the mean time, stay tuned for more updates, keep sharing Fultons at your favorite haunts across the metro area, read some good blogs when you can, and make the most of the nice weather we're having! Before you know it, the Vikings will be playing, the leaves will be changing, and the new brewery will be open.