Due South at the Treasure Coast Beer Fest

This past Saturday we were fortunate enough to be invited to bring some of our beers up to Fort Pierce for the Treasure Coast Beer Fest.  Jodi and I attended the event last year and had a great time.  We had a great time this year as well, although we did quite a bit more pouring than we did drinking.

We took our Caramel Cream Ale, Southbound Brown, Honey Wheat and our new Red Hoptober.  The organizers, who did a fantastic job by the way, placed us right at the front entrance so we had the luxury of being the first beer of the day for many folks.  We could tell right from the start that the Caramel Cream Ale was going to be a big hit and the hopheads were buzzing about the Red Hoptober.  Once it was all said and done, I don’t think I could have imagined a better response from not only the attendees, but the organizers and the other brewers as well.

The line at the booth was steady and we noticed lots of people coming back again and again.  If I had a nickel for everyone that walked up and said, ‘Everyone is talking about this Caramel Cream Ale stuff and said I’ve got to try it’ well, I’d have a bucket full of nickels.  There were many sad faces when the keg ran dry.  We’re considering changing the name of our Red Hoptober so we can offer it all year.  After the response we received from this beer Saturday, I would expect this to happen.  I did mention many times that I was considering changing the Southbound Brown recipe to make it just a touch less bitter and the general consensus was that I would be a fool if I did so and everyone would hate me.  I’ll leave it alone so you can all sleep well tonight.

In addition to being able taste some of the beers from other Florida breweries (let me insert here that if you haven’t been to Tequesta Brewing Co. in Tequesta you should stop reading this and grab your keys), I also met lots of great folks from Brown’s Distributing, various restaurants and bars, people I’ve talked to on Twitter and never met, and lots of Facebook followers stopped in and said hi.  Also, it’s not often enough that we get to see our pals from around Florida like Phil from Cigar City, Matt from Tequesta Brewing, Mike from MikeLovesBeer.com, Dan the Beer Guy and the guys from the Funky Buddha so it was great to have a chance to visit with everyone for a bit.  One day I’ll figure out how to organize an event where the public gets to pour the beer and watch the brewers stand around and drink.

As I said, we were well received and I thank everyone for their kind words about our beers.  No one wants it to be available more than us so I can assure you we’re doing everything we can to get it in your glass as quickly as possible.

I’ll continue to update as much as possible and keep everyone in the loop as to our progress.  We’re still shooting for the end of this year and hopefully in a few weeks we’ll have a narrowed down date.

Thanks again to everyone for their support and we look forward to serving you again real soon.

Cheers!

 

 

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A few updates…

As some of you already know, the Boynton Beach City Council meeting was held last night and they were expected to vote on the amendment to allow breweries into the industrial zoned areas.  They voted and passed the amendment.  Now we can get a letter of conforming use and the door is open for us to begin work.

We expect to take possession of our property on October 1st and begin work soon thereafter.  The architectural drawings are complete for the most part and we’re bringing in the consultants to lay out the electric, plumbing and air conditioning.  We’ll go to permitting as soon as the consultants have their plans finished and we’ll begin work.  At the same time our engineers in California are laying out plans for the brewing equipment.  We have placed the equipment within the plans as we would like to see it and the engineers will draw out the plumbing, electric, glycol lines, etc.  Once complete, we’ll begin the equipment install.

Speaking of equipment, we received a shipment of fermenters, brite tanks, and our hot liquor tank.   The brewhouse will be delivered when it’s ready to be set in place as it’s not much fun to move.   We barely slept for a few days until the alarm was installed but we’re all secure now.  We only had one casualty.  Our 30 BBL brite tank was strapped incorrectly and is damaged on the top.  It’s being addressed now and shouldn’t hold us up.  By the way, there’s more photos here.

Thanks to everyone for your support and I look forward to less time between updates in the near future as things are finally getting interesting.

-Mike

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So we were on tv last night.

Yesterday afternoon I got a call from Fran at Brewzzi’s letting me know Channel 5 news was doing a story on the brewery amendment vote in Boynton Beach.  Fran was up brewing with Matt at Tequesta Brewing Co.  in Tequesta.  These two guys were nice enough to give the reporter my number and involve us in the story.  We ended up on tv.  How cool is that?  Thanks to both of them and we owe you big.

In case you missed the story, you can view it here.

 

They actually did two different spots, one at 10pm on Fox news and one at 11pm on the local NBC news.  The feedback has been very positive and we were thrilled to be a part of it.  Unfortunately we’re not finished with zoning yet.

Apparently a while back the City of Boynton changed their code so adult entertainment establishments couldn’t sell alcohol.  The fear now is they could move in next to a brewery since breweries will soon be allowed in the industrial areas.  I’m told a simple language adjustment to ensure this doesn’t happen is all that’s necessary.  We’re on the schedule for a final vote on September 20th and hopefully all will go well.  We’ll keep everyone up to date.

On other fronts things are going well.  We’re brewing and getting ready for the Treasure Coast Beerfest in Fort Pierce in October.  The paperwork is piling up, which is a good thing.  It means more is being completed.  We’re navigating as best we can and although our time frame is adjusted daily we’re still confident that we’ll make it to the end, regardless of the date.

Thanks to everyone for your support and feedback throughout our process and we look forward to pouring all of you a beer as soon as possible.

-Mike

 

 

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A few people to thank…

I’d like to take a minute and thank a few people that have taken the time to help me over the past few days.  

First, Matt Cox at Big Bear Brewing in Coral Springs.  I was fortunate enough to spend Tuesday with Matt in the brewery while he was brewing a Kolsch.  Not only did he allow me to participate in the brew but he tolerated my relentless questioning.  He even let me clean the mash tun and the kettle!  He’s also taken the time to look over our brewery plans and make several suggestions.  Matt is a great brewer and a great guy.  If you’re ever down that way you absolutely have to stop by.  All of Matt’s beers are terrific and they’ve got fantastic food there as well.  And if you do make it by, tell him Mike from Due South said ‘hi’.  And thanks.

Also, I’d like to thank Joey Redner and Justin Clark from Cigar City Brewing in Tampa.  They were in south Florida for a couple of days this week, had tons of events to attend, and took the time to stop by our new location and offer some great ideas for our floorplan.  They even went out of their way to come to Boynton from Ft. Lauderdale when they were headed to Miami!  Justin was also a great help at the Cask Ale Festival in St. Pete.  These are some of the best folks in the business and they prove it every day.

I hope everyone that reads this has the opportunity to have a conversation with each one of these guys someday and gets to experience the kindness, knowledge and passion for the brewing industry they all have.  Until then, I hope the next time you have a Hibernation from Big Bear or a Maduro from Cigar City, maybe knowing these guys are out there will make the beer taste that much better.

Thanks guys.  Cheers.

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One step closer.

The city of Boynton Beach unanimously voted to approve our amendment to allow our brewery in the industrial zoning area.  While we’re thrilled about this, there is one more reading before it’s finalized.  The second (and last) reading will be heard on September 6th.  As James Brown would say, “I feel good.”

We’re currently mulling over the brewery layout and placement of all of the equipment.  We’ve got the tasting room situated and it will be an ‘L’ shaped room with three 8 foot windows on the back walls to see out into the brewery.  The concern is not only the functionality of the equipment, but we hope to leave a fair amount of space available for expansion.  In considering all of this, we also want everyone to be able to view as much of the operation as possible and we hope that everyone in the tasting room will feel as though they are part of the process.  Because they are.

I’ll be posting some plans on our Facebook page as soon as things start coming together.

We’ve been kicking around some logo ideas on Facebook as well and the feedback has been great.  Thanks to all of you that take the time out of your day to make our brewery better.

We have a new addition to the family as of today.  We’ve incorporated a new 25 gallon brew kettle into the pilot system so we have enough volume to fill firkins and barrels.  The maiden brew is actually going on right now and I’m typing this between hop additions.  In case your curious, it’s a big batch of our Honey Wheat.

Before I go I’d like to take a second to thank a couple of people that have been and continue to be very helpful to us throughout this process.  Matt Webster from Tequesta Brewing Co., Fran from Brewzzi’s and Matt Cox from Big Bear Brewing have all done more for us than I can possibly thank them for.  If you get the opportunity, visit their breweries, drink their beer, and thank them for all of their hard work.  These are good people.

Until next time, take care everybody.  I’ve got to go add more hops…

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I’m standing next to a mountain…

I realize after meeting so many folks that are interested in our progress that I haven’t done a great job putting out information.  While I certainly don’t mind answering the same questions over and over again, it seems a disservice to the people that are following us to be required to run into me at a pub or be left in the dark.  I hope that this will be an outlet for information that will keep everyone up to date and answer most questions.  Feel free to ask about anything I haven’t covered here in the reply boxes at the bottom of the posts.  And as always, feel free to inquire in the wonderfully human way – at the pub.

We are opening a 15 BBL brewery in Boynton Beach, FL.  We will open with three 15 BBL fermenters and two 30 BBL fermenters.  During our buildout we will be installing plumbing, wiring, glycol lines, etc. to install four more 30 BBL fermenters and an additonal brite tank as soon as production requires it.  After many discussions with other brewers, the common problem seems to be making enough beer.  We’ll do our best.

Our location is 99.9% secure.  That .01% of doubt remains as there is much left to do.  After our experiences over the past 8 months, no chickens are yet counted.  We should be located at 505 Industrial Way in Boynton.  Buildout is scheduled to begin as soon as the permitting process is complete.  Our plans for the tasting room, offices, bathrooms, etc. are going to the city permitting office sometime around the 10th of August.  Then we wait.

Speaking of tasting rooms, once we’re open you will be able to come to our brewery and actually drink a beer.  We will be building a 1500 sq ft facility for sampling our beers, picking up growlers to go, and stopping by for a pint of your favorite brew.  As we will be distributing, no food will be served.  We will encourage folks to bring their own take-out if you’d like to eat with us or order delivery from the many local restaurants in the area.  We will be open most days (schedule to be determined) and will be closing at 10pm during the week and 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays.  Tours will be available as well.

Many folks have asked what kind of beers we will be making.  This can be a tough question to answer.  We have a range of beers that we’re narrowing down right now to the five or six that we’ll be opening with.  In addition to these brews, we’ll be doing many special edition beers on our pilot system that will only be available in our tasting room.  We do know that our honey wheat, our espresso vanilla porter and our signature IPA will be available all the time.  I’m currently taking some heat for not having our caramel creme ale on that list, and it very well may end up there, but this is a process and we’ll see it til the end.

I continue to get questions about hiring.  While our people will be one of the most important aspects of our business, we haven’t quite made it to that bridge yet.  We expect to begin taking applications for a few positions in the brewery in mid-September and hiring for the tasting room will begin around Halloween.  Seems appropriate.

I’m going to make every effort to keep this up to date and keep as many questions as possible answered.  Certainly, milestones will be posted here, on our Facebook page, on Twitter, and on our website at DueSouthAles.com.

 

Finally, I’d like to say thanks to all of you out there that stay interested, ask questions, and support us on our journey.  It means the world to us.

-Mike

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