Let me start by saying sorry for not posting more over the past few weeks. We have been incredibly busy, and I just couldn’t find the effort or time to make repeated entries into this blog. I have been taking notes, and hopefully one day we can update the entire process with the relevant information.
Most of the process has been really enjoyable as there are days with immense highs, and others will deep lows. Overall the project has been one of the most satisfying things in my professional career filled with a plethora of incredible memories. However, the last 2 weeks of the project has been a bit of grind. Never do I believe in fast forwarding through life, as the details and minutiae are really important to developing the experience and perspective that age can bring. But this is one time that I kind of do wish I could have at least run in fast motion.
First let me start with some general news for other would-be craft brewery entrepreneurs.
- Don’t forget about your business licence from the City you operate in and also an occupancy permit
- Be prepared to work 7 days per week and every available hour during the last month. It is non-stop and the list of things to do still doesn’t seem to be shortening
- Encourage trades and contractors to spend extra time to get the project another finished task towards completion
- Hiring staff is hugely important and can take a lot of time, so prepare for it
- You will find yourself dusting the same thing over and over as the construction dust settles
- Make sure all your marketing and advertising is ready, which will mean that it needs a lot of your attention and time to make sure it is print ready
- Take help whenever you can get it. If someone says they can come by the brewery and just chat, take them up on it, and when they arrive, hand them a broom or rag and have a working discussion
- Delegate as much as you can. Luckily for us, we hired some excellent staff that are willing to help us a little everyday, enabling us to focus on another fire requiring our attention
- Working with the LDB, LCLB, Federal government, Provincial government, Municipal government, Coastal Health, Liquor inspectors, Permitting departments and others is a task for someone who is detail oriented, so make sure they are the ones dealing with it from the start
- Failing an inspection is ok and not the end of the world. Trust us on this one. Expect this to happen and make sure you quickly remedy the situation as needed and get the inspector back in as soon as possible. We have firmly believed it is better to get inspections early and fail, giving you time to complete the updates rather than waiting until you think everything is done, only to fail anyway
- Don’t forget inquiring about whether its necessary or not to get an exterior sign permit. In some cases you can’t put up and exterior sign without one
- Don’t forget about getting your plans stamped by the Fire Department for occupancy load and location of fire extinguishers, etc
- Estimate about $650 per month in costs for the following: Weekly cleaning of your tasting room by a professional cleaning company, bar towels including cleaning, floor mats, glass washer chemicals, toilet paper, paper towels, soap for dispensers, and a few other things
- Don’t forget about your signage around the brewery and tasting room
- Keep on top of your financials if you are cutting things close like we are. Running out of money is not an option, so knowing where you stand and how your invoices coming and outstanding are looking is hugely important
At this time as well, and I seem to keep writing about it, your family and friends become a distant memory. Both Iain and I are doing our best to keep up with things on the home front, but really, it is impossible to do this. We are having some issues at home as our kids are acting out a little bit, and its hard to imagine that its any reason other than my lack of attention. Moreover, the burden of just about everything has fallen with my partner, and she has certainly come to the end of her rope with me a couple times.
So hopefully we are less than a week, though I feel like we have been saying this for some time now. There are 5 big outstanding issues for us:
- We need final our inspection and we need to pass it
- We need our lounge endorsement from the LCLB
- We need our architect to sign-off on everything we have done
- We need our liquor inspector to approve everything
- We need our products officially listed with the LDB
Once we get these 5 things completed, we can open our doors. That means we have passed about 6 other inspections and completed a mountain of paperwork to get to this point. Our final inspection happens on Friday, and if we get through that hurdle, the rest of the items will hopefully fall into place.
As such, we are hoping to be open about the middle of next week, but that really depends on so many things. It is still an estimate and it is entirely possible that instead of being the last brewery to open in 2014, we might be the first brewery to open in 2015. Gotta run, we need to keep painting today.