Tuesday, June 12, 2012

800 Pound Gorilla...Check!

Call it what you will, an "800 pound gorilla", "red tape", "royal pain in the ass", "elephant in the room"...whatever you call it, we have had it.  Ever since we started the hunt for a location we had heard the possibility that we would have to have a grease trap installed at whatever location that was.  We thought that this "requirement" was due to a misunderstanding of the liquid waste that we would produce and that we could talk to either a person or representatives for various city agencies and they would realize that we had no need for one.

Then we found our location and thought that we had everything covered because it appeared a grease trap was already in place.  Sweet!  Now we don't have to worry about it and we could go forward!  Well, not so fast, we learned.  Turns out that there was no grease trap...just a few floor sinks.  Then we began formulating ideas, hashing out plans and generally chasing our collective tails.  Should we apply for a financial variance and try to get by with smaller grease traps under our brewing area and bar, should we seek out other sources of funds to just bite the bullet and pay for it, should we pack it up and find a new location (meaning there was virtually no way for us to open this year) or should we do something else?

Well, whatever frustration and discouragement we felt over the last several weeks while dealing with this uncertainty has finally come into focus.  We have a definitive plan and the support of our landlord who, throughout this entire process, has been absolutely wonderful to work with.  From the initial lease negotiations to this most recent issue he has been up front, honest and very willing to work with us.  Being a small business still trying to get off of the ground, that has been extremely helpful.

Soon we will begin the installation of a large in-ground grease trap and subsequent piping which should allow us to obtain signoff by the WRA (Water Reclamation Association), which (we believe) is the final signoff we need in order to get our building permits so that we can start building instead of demolishing!  While I am in no way suggesting that we have seen the last of the red tape and frustration, this has been such a huge deal (and potential deal-breaker!) that it is an incredible weight off of our shoulders.

I am really starting to feel like we are picking up steam right now.  It is helped out a lot by the fact that our brewhouse equipment (boil kettle, mash tun, hot liquor tank, etc) are currently in transit and should be at home in the brewery this Friday.  Additionally, we hit the final submit button on our TTB application which officially notifies the federal government that we are planning on opening a brewery and we need them to certify us and give us a license to brew!  On top of all that, this Saturday Dave is coordinating the volunteer army to help the Iowa Craft Brew Fest run (VIP tickets are currently sold out, but regular tickets are still available...get em now!)!  What an incredible week!