Ramble On

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Planning Day @hawksbillbrew

We started planning Hawksbill Brewing Company, to be opened in Luray, last winter.  Actually it started back in 2013, but we got serious this year.  Now we have a building, financing for equipment and construction, lawyers and accountants, and a pilot brewing system.  The thing we didn't really have yet is a schedule.

Old school planning day at Hawksbill Brewing.  On the newly
extended bar - we added six feet in a field adjustment.
All those things have taken time - the building needed to be rezoned, and the first bank we worked with discovered that they couldn't make loans for this purpose after we had been working with them a couple of months.  Then there was the paperwork exercise to get the brewery license, an effort that took me a little longer than I would have liked.  But all of that is behind us now.

On Saturday we met at the brewery to gather the information we had about various aspects of the project:  construction timelines, equipment deliveries, and cash flow projections, with the goal of getting them all onto a calendar so that we could begin thinking about when these preliminaries were going to be done so that we could open.  We've been doing this informally up until now, thinking at first maybe we could have it done by August or September (here we are), or maybe December or January.

It turns out that the federal licensing process takes a couple of months, mainly in a review cycle.  So we are being conservative now with our estimates of when that will be completed.  There's good news and bad news associated with what we have figured out.

On the good news side, all of the construction will be completed, and our equipment will be delivered and installed by the time we receive our license.  We'll probably postpone commissioning until we get the license, since during commissioning, our vendor will show us how the system works at that time with hot water and brewing cycles.

The bad news is that with the holidays likely intervening in the license review cycle, we may not have our license until February.  So it's beginning to look like a St. Patrick's Day opening for Hawksbill Brewing.

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