The Home Stretch

It’s been roughly three years since Brandi and I started “seriously” working on the business plan and now we are just over a week away from FINALLY opening…..yeeeeessshhh. What were we thinking?!

If you’ve been following along with us on our journey, or simply asked us in person how things are going, I’m sure you’re aware of some of the issues that arise when you decide to attempt to open a brewery. However, it should be noted that the stories you hear from us have been heavily edited with all the explicits removed to try and keep things in the PG13 category. We like to keep our stories from going into “horror territory”. We find watering things down into a “teen angst/coming of age tale” is definitely more palatable and still offers some degree of optimism for anybody who decides to ask.

That’s not to say it’s been all bad. Just a lot……like…..A LOT. Like, other brewers tell you that “it’s a lot” when you tell them you’re going to start a brewery, but nothing can really prepare you for the real thing. There are so many T’s and I’s to cross and dot that you really do start losing track of them, no matter how organized you are. Same with days of the week. We’ve never relied so heavily on our calendars before. Not just to keep our weeks organized, but just for something to tell us what day it is. So, if you decide to open a brewery be sure to use a calendar. Calendars are good. What else did we learn? Ah yes. Permits!

Nobody likes permits. Permits don’t like permits. Even the people who’s job it is to write and approve permits, don’t like permits because people constantly get mad at them about the permits they just wrote or won’t approve. But, they’re super important if you want to get stuff done. See that photo above this paragraph? That’s all possible due to a demolition permit (yes, you need a permit to break stuff). Brandi, has been so involved in various permits that she’s now been programmed/emotionally scarred to analyze the potential permits needed for various things in everyday life. “Wow cool firework display! I bet that the permits for it sucked though”. So, get to know your permits. Fortunately our contractor took care of most of them, but understanding what’s needed and why is extremely helpful when it comes to trying to open on time.

To avoid too much venting in this post, I should talk about what all of the above has lead to. Having all that in place has made for some great rewards after all. Receiving all of our equipment (and finding out that it all actually fit) was an exhausting, but exciting day. As was getting our liquor manufacturing license, passing all of our inspections, and finally landing our business license. Even pouring beer out of our newly installed draft system brought a huge sigh of relief while also bringing a pretty big smile to our faces. The work to get there was intense and extremely stressful, but after years of work we were finally starting to see it pay off in tangible ways. By far the biggest was finally pressing the button to let everybody know when we were opening.

Finally announcing an opening day was both weird and euphoric. It was scary to press the “post button”, but once we did it was exciting and got a little emotional. We had worked so hard to get to this moment. It was a huge deal and it kind of took us by surprise. We were happy. Then the results of the post started coming in. Now we’re not in anyway “leaders in social media marketing”, but we like to think have made a little bit of an effort considering we haven’t even opened yet. Still, holy crap! Compared to what we had experienced before on social media, our accounts had just exploded. People were liking, sharing, tagging their friends, and those friends were even sharing. Things went nuts…..then the fear started to sink in. We are going to open. Whether we want to or not, it’s happening. And how’s our to-do list doing? Still pretty freaking long! It’s only one million things left compared to ten million things. That’s progress though right? Right?!!

Still, we’re almost there. On September 23rd, 2017 Silver Valley Brewing will open its doors for all to (hopefully) enjoy. It’s been an extremely long and stressful road, but the end is almost here. Soon we’ll begin down a whole new road. It’ll also be full of mistakes and have its own set of highs and lows, but we look forward to it. Thank you all for your ongoing interest and support.

Cheers!

SVB

In The Beginning…………..

It seems like ages ago when Dennis, Jesse, and myself finally stopped procrastinating and began brewing our first beers. In fact it wasn’t even a year ago. Jesse and myself were already big time beer nerds and had talked about biting the bullet on a starter kit numerous times. It wasn’t until Dennis had his first sip of Old Yale Brewing’s “Sasquatch Stout” (not a bad choice for your first craft beer) that the question was finally asked “so…is there a reason we’re not making this?”. That was a damn good question Dennis. This was the final push we needed to make us drive down to Dan’s Homebrewing Supplies and gear up to brew our first batch. It was an exciting time!

Dennis' first taste of craft beer.....and it was awesome!
Dennis’ first taste of craft beer…..and it was awesome!

We tried making things easier on ourselves for that first brew by starting with a partial mash recipe (whatever that meant). However, we had big stars in our eyes and went straight for our favorite style at the time. Scotch Ale here we come! We had our gear, ingredients, and some great beers ready to enjoy back at Jesse’s while we brewed. Everything was set and it was gonna be awesome.

Minus 9 and Broken Label bubbling away!
Minus 9 and Broken Label bubbling away!

Was it ACTUALLY awesome though? Yes and no. A more appropriate word to describe it would be “CHAOS”. Up until that point we had done little to no reading on what we were supposed to do and were relying HEAVILY on the instructions that came with the recipe, which seemed to assume that the reader had brewed before. Our measurements were right’ish, temperatures were taken with a meat thermometer and our times were…eh…close enough. Our original gravity reading was…oh…is that what that floaty thingy was for? We even dropped a label from one of the extract buckets in the boil for good measure, which inspired its name “Broken Label Scotch Ale” (Don’t worry we fished it out). It was one hell of a learning experience that’s for sure and we learned a lot. On top of that we were hooked.

The very first bottle we ever capped!
The very first bottle we ever capped!

It wasn’t long until we picked up more ingredients, borrowed some better gear (THANKS JACK!!), and began brewing our second batch, all the while dreaming out loud about what this could be leading to. “If we actually get good at this, could we turn it into a business?”. That question was running over and over in our heads, as I’m sure it has for many ambitious first time home brewers. Our first two batches tasted ok. Definitely drinkable, but the highest compliments we’d received were “not bad” and the occasional “good”. Are you kidding me? “Not bad”?! “Good”?! We were after words like “fantastic”, “amazing” or something similar with a well placed explicit. These “good” descriptions just wouldn’t do. After only two brews we were done messing around with extracts. Things were about to get serious.

Minus 9 Cream Ale and Broken Label Scotch Ale.
Minus 9 Cream Ale and Broken Label Scotch Ale.

Check back soon for our next post “Adventures In All-Grain”!

-Kevin