Monday, January 28, 2013

Final Building Inspection

Well, we passed our final building inspection.  Huzzah!  This means that the city now sees us as fit to make beer and have members of the public in our tasting room.  All of our improvements are up to code, and we are now zoned as Food Preparation instead of Light Manufacturing.  The City of Seattle and Populuxe Brewing are BFFs!

However, we're a bit late with it.  Why?  Well, because we failed our 1st inspection.  Below you can see a simple illustration of why we didn't pass the first time:


Signage!  How else would you find the exit inside the cavernous expanse of our beer palace without this illuminated wonder?   Not to mention "Doors must remain unlocked during business hours".  

I kid (a little) but rules are rules and we needed these signs in place prior to calling in the inspector.  Not having them up in the first place cost us a couple of days waiting around for our re-scheduled inspection.  

Regardless, things continue to move along.  We're brewing up a small ESB this weekend, and have our Health Department inspection on Friday.  We are doing our inspections one at a time so as to not have the various government agencies tripping over each other.  The Health Department is going to review our facility and determine if we're up to snuff to become a "Permanent Food Service Establishment".  Not that we will be making food, just beer-food, but that's the language they will use to describe us when we're done with that.

So...progress!  Opening day is....soon!  We have our liquor license (State) and our Brewers Notice (Feds) and our Certificate of Occupancy (City)...just waiting on the Health Department (county).  Technically we're a functioning brewery, but we need the OK to open up the tasting room.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

An eventful week

Wow, what a week!  Things are really moving fast now as we start wrapping up the build-out and get ready to open.  We passed our final plumbing and electrical inspections and will be doing our final building inspection on Friday.  Then it's the health department next week.

That puts us just a little behind on our opening day goals, but not too far.  We could still technically open by January 31st, but regular business hours probably won't start until the 1st or 2nd week in February.  It really all depends on how the inspections go.  Keep your eyeballs peeled to this blog, our facebook or twitter accounts for the latest on that front.

Speaking of regular business hours, now might be a good time to remind any new readers just what Populuxe is.  We are a nano-brewery, which depending on who you talk to can mean one of several different things:

1) A brewery making under 3 barrels of beer at a time.  That's about 90 gallons.  Since we're a 1.5bbl brewery, we more than qualify under this definition.

2) A brewery with no employees beyond the owners/operators.  The second you hire someone, you become a micro-brewery.  This definition is a little less generally accepted, but I still abide by it.  The beer you consume at our brewery was made by us - Jiri, Judy, Amy and Peter.  Friends and neighbors who are passionate about bringing you great beer.

 3) A future failed business venture.  Some people think that nano-brewing is an unsustainable business model because they are sad people with cold hearts who forgot how to dream.  Go away sad people.

So, how does this relate to our business hours?  Well it means that we'll be open as often as possible.  We're going to need to keep things somewhat flexible in the tasting room so that we can make sure that we're able to get the best tasting, freshest beer to our customers.  Most likely we'll be open Thursday through Sunday, but we're going to play it by ear the first few weeks before we can say for sure what our tasting room hours will be.  Summer hours might get extended once our outdoor seating is in place.  When in doubt check back here since the website will have the most accurate hours posted.

Enough of that, lets look at some pictures...

First up, our brewstand build.  We had our brewing platform welded last week and it went great:








Turned out pretty good.  That's our mash tun on the left and our brew kettle on the right in the last photo, opposite of how they will be used.  The high stand will hold our hot liquor tank which will gravity feed the MT.  We'll dry run the system with hot water this week so that we know where all the leaks are.

We also installed our plastic strip curtain which separates the tasting room from the more industrial brewing area..


Plastics make it possible!  To keep our tasting room heated.

You can see a little bit of the wood work on the back wall in that photo.  Here's one of Judy finishing up the stain:



Swanky!  Our tasting room will seat between 8 and 10 people, and is pretty cold with the mostly cement construction, so this wood really helps to warm things up.

What else happened this week?  Press!  We got great write-ups on MyBallard and Emerald City Burgers and Brews.  We also got a mention in this King5 story.  Thanks King5!

A lot more happened this week, but it's too much of a blur for me to remember right now.  I'm running around eastern Washington tomorrow to round out our equipment list and then testing it this weekend.  I'll try and get some pics up of that as well.  Until then...

Cheers!