Introducing the Due South Brewhouse!

Yes, folks, we actually set the brewhouse today.  I’ll get to that in a minute but first, a few important updates:

We finally received our permit approval on Wednesday which we had been working for since January.  It took forever but it’s done now and good things are happening.

Our concrete was already cut and our drains were installed but we couldn’t pour the new concrete until we passed our inspections.  We couldn’t call for inspections until our permit was approved.  You get the idea.  But all that is water under the bridge now as our permit is approved and we passed structural, electrical and plumbing rough inspections today.  We still have to pass our final inspections which we expect to happen next week.  All very good news.

Also today, Todd Brown came down from Tampa to help us install the brewhouse.  The brewhouse is the equipment we use to produce the wort (unfermented beer) before it goes into the fermenters for the yeast to turn the wort to beer.  It consists of a mash tun, a kettle, a brewer’s platform, a grant, a cool control panel and lots of valves, bells and whistles to move, heat and cool the wort as necessary.  For more specifics, come take a tour after we open.

Initially we set the platform and leveled it.

Once in place we moved in the mash tun and got it set and level.

After this we brought the brew kettle in and got it set in place.  That’s when we realized that the exhaust stack from the burner was right under a sprinkler pipe.  So we took it all back apart and started over again.

The second time we set the brew kettle in place so the exhaust vents wouldn’t hit anything.  Then we set the platform and mash tun to the brew kettle and it worked out much better.

Next was lots of piping, mounting the stairs and installing valves.

We put the control panel on and even installed the lights in the mash tun and kettle.

We now have the heart of our brewery in place and are days away from firing up the system to test valves, check for leaks, etc. and finally make some beer.

It’s taken us 15 months to get this far and we’re finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

Tomorrow we pour concrete, set all of our tanks upright and prepare to set the fermenters and brite tanks in place which will happen this weekend after the concrete is set.

Next week – final connections.

Thanks to everyone for your patience and support.  Believe me, Due South beer is right around the corner.

Cheers!

Mike

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A few photos of the beginning.

Buildout has begun and things are moving quickly.  I thought I’d post a few photos for those of you that are interested.

More to come soon!

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Moving right along…

Just flew back in last night from Extreme Beer Fest.  Jodi and I had a great time running around Boston and drinking lots of beer.  As for Extreme Beer Fest, well, there’s plenty of info and opinions flying around the internet right now so we’ll leave it at that.

Due South Brewing Co. had a nice write up in the Sun Sentinel today.  Even had a picture.  Looks like I don’t have a ‘good’ side these days but at least you can see some shiny stainless steel in the pic.  Thanks to the folks that put it together.

Speaking of our brewery, progress updates continue to be difficult as always.  We are mired in the permitting process with the city of Boynton.  As we expected, they’ve never seen a brewery before so they pulled out all the stops in requesting additional information.  We’re sending over everything we have and then some with the hopes that someday we can begin work.  We did move all of our equipment to one corner of the building preparing to cut the drains.  Unfortunately there are no drains on the west side of the building where we need them so we’ll be cutting about 180 feet of concrete and asphalt to install new ones.  Fun, huh?  To give you a perspective, we were expecting one page of comments from the building department.  Possibly a page and a half.  We got eleven pages.  I think the word is the ‘gamut’.

So now it’s back to work trying to please the powers that be and continue doing the things we can to get the brewery up and running.  We hope to be making beer soon and we really appreciate all of the support we’re getting from the media, our architects and engineers and of course you folks that go the extra mile to drink beer that’s worth drinking.  Come hell or high water the fermenters will be full soon.

Thanks for hanging in there with us as we’re doing our best.

Cheers!

Mike

 

 

 

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It’s all finally starting to come together.

And I mean all of it.  At one time.  It’s awesome.

Our TTB approval came in allowing us to manufacture malt beverages.  We expected this to take much longer.  Thrilled is putting it mildly.

We’ve got 95% of our equipment delivered with a few things yet to show up.  Our glycol chiller is built and waiting on a truck to pick it up in Seattle, our four 300 gallon serving tanks for the taproom are being finished up in Portland, our 375 kegs are about to be loaded on a big truck in LA and hopefully we can get this guy to stop by Escondido and pick up our keg washer.  Oh yeah, and the Canadians are shipping our mill tomorrow.  The brewhouse, fermenters, brite tanks, and other equipment is in our possession.

Jodi is working hard on coordinating paperwork, ordering glasses, shirts, hats, keychains, growlers, and a million other things to try to get the taproom ready.  Right now she’s trying to figure out where to put 88 lbs. of Crystal hops in our house as they’re being delivered today and we have no cold storage at the brewery yet.

I met with the engineers yesterday and am expecting the final plans for the utility layout this afternoon.  Since Monday is a holiday it looks like we’ll be going to permitting on Tuesday.  Once the package is filed with the city of Boynton we can begin work.  Floor drains will be cut first, then we’ll address the floor covering which should take about a week.  During this time we’ll install the walk in cooler (and get the hops out of our house) and do as much cleaning as possible.  I’m sure there will be a fair amount of painting, etc. as well.  After the floor is dry we can set the equipment in place, plumb and power it, and prepare to brew.  

We’re going to begin addressing our staffing needs in about two weeks.  There have been many inquiries and for now there will be no brewery positions available.  We will be hiring for the taproom and expect to bring in about 10 to 12 people.  I’ll put the word out on Facebook and Twitter when the time comes.  I really appreciate all of the interest we’ve received so far and wish I could hire everyone but we have a limited number of positions and that’s just the reality of it.  I hope everyone understands.

As of right now it is still difficult to put a date on when we’re going to actually be open.  If everything goes perfectly, we should be serving beer in early March.  Since it probably won’t, my guess is mid-March.  We are going to do a quiet opening initially with just our Facebook and Twitter friends and then we’ll have a big blow-out grand opening about two weeks later.  I’ll try to keep everyone updated as we get closer.

Just in case you weren’t aware, there’s a couple of things happening this month everyone should know about.  Tomorrow is Tequesta Brewing Co.’s one year anniversary.  I hope everyone will get the chance to stop by and congratulate Matt Webster and his crew and enjoy a beer.  I can’t say enough about how much help this guy has helped us and you can bet we’ll be there.  Also, don’t forget Jupiter Craft Beer Fest on January 28th.  This will be our first year pouring at this event and we’re really looking forward to it.  More than likely this will be the last chance to taste Due South brew before the taproom opens.  We had a great time at the Treasure Coast Beer Fest and expect this to be a big time as well.  Hope to see all of you there.

 

Cheers!

Mike

 

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I’m a lucky guy…

I woke up this morning to the light creeping between the blinds of the glass sliding doors in our bedroom.  As my wife wished me Merry Christmas, the cat bounded across the bed spreading holiday cheer as only she can.  It was a beautiful south Florida morning and since it was Christmas, I felt it was a good enough reason to take a momentary break from building a brewery, leave the stress behind and enjoy the day.

I immediately got to work making biscuits.  Some friends that live down the street had baked a ham and was nice enough to share.  Spreading good cheer is one thing, sharing honey glazed ham is another thing altogether.  As the biscuits were rising in the oven, I began to prepare our Christmas turkey for the smoker.  I slicked up the skin with a stick of butter, rubbed spices all over the bird, and lit the smoker, waiting for the temperature to rise and the hickory smoke to engulf the back porch around the pool.

As the glazed ham and strawberry jam biscuits were served, I popped a bottle of champagne and we sat down for breakfast.  A few spider webs high in the pool screen glistened in the sun while Dean Martin wished us a Merry Christmas.  While I do miss being with family this time of year, relaxing in the sun out by the pool sipping champagne at 9am is a bit of consolation.  And the biscuits were amazing.

After breakfast we opened a few presents.  My wife’s parents had sent down a handful of things, one of which was a gigantic box of Belgian chocolates.  Since the champagne was already opened, well, you know the rest.  Jodi had given me some new basil plants so we did a little gardening to ensure that they would be comfortable and productive.  I got her a new french press and we decided that as soon as the champagne bottle was empty we’d take it for a spin.  All in all, not a bad morning.  With any luck one day I’ll have another one just like it.

Now it’s past noon and we’re discussing the rest of our day.  We’re probably going to take a drive to the beach and breathe a little salt air.  Afterward we’ll return home and make our reservations for Extreme Beer Fest and the Craft Brewers Conference.  While I am looking forward to San Diego in May, to get me excited about Boston in February you’re going to have to drag out some pretty good beer.  Extreme Beer Fest is designed for just that so we’ll brave the weather and travel 1500 miles to drink some of the best beer in the world.

My guess is we’ll cap off the evening stuffing ourselves with smoked turkey (and more Belgian chocolates), watching National Lampoon’s ‘Christmas Vacation’ and going on and on about how lucky we are to be where we are, doing what we’re doing and being able to do it together.  Building Due South Brewing Co. is our dream and it’s finally coming together.  You have to give thanks for that.

I hope all of you have a wonderful holiday and wish you the best in the coming year.  I’ll update everyone soon on the brewery but for today, I’m relaxing.  Meandering through the day with a stupid grin on my face, feeling the sun and breeze on my skin and making an effort to notice the little things that are missed at my ordinary, frantic pace.

Merry Christmas everyone and thank you again for all that you’ve done for us.  We truly are very lucky.

Cheers!

Mike

 

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In case you were wondering, we’re opening a brewery

It’s been a rough couple of weeks in Due South land lately but I’m glad to announce that we’re finally back on track.  We found ourselves in a situation with the previous property that we just couldn’t manage to work out.  Long story short – we’ve moved!

We didn’t go far, actually about 200 yards.  We’re now at the corner of Industrial Way and High Ridge Rd at 2900 High Ridge.  All of the good things about our old property we still have: 15,000 square feet, high ceilings, loads of power, water and gas, and proper zoning to allow us to manufacture great beer.  We also have a few new advantages to our new property: visibility on High Ridge Rd., dock and ground level doors, space for an outdoor beer garden, and best of all, no limitations by the city on our retail space.  In other words, we can grow as much as we like to make sure we have room for all of you good folks to come have a beer with us.

I can say with confidence that the lease is executed, the equipment is moved, and Due South Brewing Co. will be located at this address.

Now to begin buildout.

As you can imagine, this did set us back a bit.  I’m meeting with the architect, general contractor, and engineers this morning to try to get us back up to speed as quickly as possible.  Since this building already has restrooms, office space and an area for a tasting room we should be able to jump forward a few steps.  We’ll see what the future holds but I have a great deal of faith in this team and we’re all chomping at the bit to get started.

I can’t put my finger on an exact date for us to be open yet but I can assure you that we’ll be working night and day to make this happen.  I should have a better idea by the end of the month but right now we’re shooting for mid-February or so.

Thanks for hanging in there with us.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to build a brewery.

 

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And we’re back…

I realize it’s been a bit quiet around here for the past couple of weeks but we’re finally getting back on track.  We had a few issues holding us up that I’m glad to say we’ve overcome and it’s time to start building a brewery!

We’ve put together a few new things to try to keep everyone involved and updated as we progress.  We’ve set up a YouTube channel so we can upload some video, connected our blog, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook pages to make it easier for everyone to stay informed, and we hope to begin some website updates soon.

We expect next week to start the floor drain installation in conjunction with the tasting room buildout.  We’ll be putting in the restrooms, offices and walk-in cooler at the same time.  The consultants are working on the electrical, gas, plumbing, and A/C.  The architect is finishing work with the engineers for the equipment installation.  The brewhouse is being loaded onto a truck in California.  In addition to spending as many hours as possible on the phone, I’m chasing down diamond blades to cut concrete and figuring out the best way to insulate schedule 80 PVC for the glycol lines.  During all of this, the stack of paperwork that is our federal, state, county, and city licensing applications is currently about as thick as the Miami phone book.  If it were sitting on top of another Miami phone book.  The plan right now is to try to get 8 hours of sleep sometime in mid to late March.

But who cares, we’re opening a freaking brewery!

We’ve had lots of people ask about the shirts and hats they saw at the Treasure Coast Beer Fest.  We only had a handful made for the event but we’ll be making more soon.  We’ll make them available as soon as they’re ready.

As always, thanks to everyone for following along with us and keep your eye out for our inaugural YouTube video.  Although it might just be me leaning up against a 30 BBL fermenter with a stupid grin on my face so I would advise you to keep your expectations low.

Until next time – Cheers!

Mike

 

 

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