Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Building a Brewery: December 27, 2017

We have a nice, big, juicy update for y'all this week. But first, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year! I hope Santa brought each of y'all the perfect present, and I hope you have your shiny new list of New Year's resolutions scrawled out and ready to display prominently, if not passive-aggressively at eye-level on the fridge. First at the top of our list is opening our taproom and events venue AS SOON AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE. 


To that end, the holidays were no excuse for us to take a load off and stop chipping away at the to-do list for our opening. We even drafted our friends and family into helping us with some work on the taproom. We added another coat of gold paint to our mirror mural... our mirral? We also began building the actual counter and bartop over which countless pints, growlers, crowlers, flights, and tasters will be shared with you fine people. 

There is still plenty left to do to finalize these items, but we certainly appreciated several extra sets of hands pushing us a few steps closer to our dream.

Do y'all remember when I set out on this blogging journey over a year ago and said we'd share everything with y'all, good and bad, uplifting and down-bringing, warts and all? 

Wart time.

We bought a walk-in cooler from a fella on Craigslist about 6 months ago, and we've been impatiently waiting to hook it up while our contractors worked on some interior improvements necessary for its installation. Once we got the all clear from contractors and inspectors, we excitedly assembled the box, like Christmas morning in reverse. With no small amount of effort, hard work, and swears sweat, we were finally ready to wire it up and get it cold. Our good friend Ron gave me a crash course in electrical work, and we were ready to recharge the fridge unit and cool that baby down. We even used old fence pickets to give the facade an artsy up-cycled look.

We called some fridge techs to come out and breathe life into the empty shell. You ever heard that bad news comes in threes? One: the unit runs on an extremely expensive, out of date refrigerant that is also far less efficient than the current, cheaper refrigerant. Two: with all the holes drilled for wiring, mounting, and the reach-in doors, (forget about the panels that refused to latch together for a proper seal) the condenser and fan would be working overtime just to maintain the proper temperature, IF it even passed inspection. Three: WHEN, not if, the unit failed every couple of weeks, it would be somewhere around $1,000 to "fix" it, and the techs could not warranty any work they did given its age and likelihood to continue crapping out on us. Yay, small business ownership!

So after some quick mafs, I figured it would be cheaper in the long run to replace the box entirely rather than try to limp to our grand opening with the pile of crap we bought from a stranger on the internet. (Insert cliche about getting what you pay for). We began searching desperately for anyone who could get us a cooler in the next 2 weeks, becoming "those people" who don't care that it's Christmas and New Year's soon, and that the company is operating on a skeleton crew, Sheryl, we need it yesterday, by God! No less than 16 conversations and quotes later, we found someone who could get us a running box by New Years. The box arrives tomorrow, and we're going to bust ass to get it running by January 1 so we can start grabbing the finest beverages available for our opening.

To help us recover from our walk-in woes, we were also joined by some new friends of the brewery, Dirk and Alexa for some much-needed brewery cleaning and sign installation. We rented a 30 cubic yard dumpster to throw away pretty much every pile of refuse that builds up after a year of renovation. Toilets, sinks, boxes, sawdust, old fences, you name it. The dumpster arrived at 11am and was full before 3pm the same day. We shed blood, sweat, and tears getting the building cleared out, and I don't mean that symbolically. Alexa stepped on a nail while hauling fence panels to the dumpster (did you know tetanus shots are good for 10 years? Yay!), everyone was sweating profusely in the 80 degree December-in-Texas afternoon, and I'll admit I shed a few tears of joy after we mounted our sign out front of our building.

There's no rest for the weary, and no shortage of axioms and cliches in the beer blogging world. We still have a lot of work to do to open our doors and officially welcome you to the New Main Taproom and Events Center. Each passing day of hard work and dedication by us, our loyal friends and helpers, and each of you sharing our story with friends and family brings us all closer to that first foamy pint. We hope your holidays are safe, warm, and restful. See y'all again real soon!



Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Building a Brewery: December 5, 2017

It's beginning to look a lot like a taproom! The past few weeks have been monumentally productive for New Main Brewing. We have been working on furnishing our conversation room, completing some major plumbing and mechanical work, building new signage to help bring people in off the street, and getting ready to start building up our beer stock.

 

Social Media & Signage

For those of y'all following our social media, you know that we just reached 1,000 likes on Facebook. That is a huge deal for us! We are so thankful to each and every one of you who mentioned New Main Brewing to a friend or coworker, and we look forward to a thousand more people to meet in the future. You may have also noticed on social media all of the photos on social media of us swinging hammers and toiling tirelessly inside our space. Our main sign will be placed over the existing sign in front of our building (because up-cycling), and should be easily seen and read from Pioneer Parkway - Spur 303. We will be staining and sealing all of the wood to keep it weather-proof, then we will install that bad boy very soon. Expect lots more photos from artistic angles and such.


Taproom Improvements

We have also been working on a creative solution to there being mirrors on almost every vertical surface in our building. We're planning a simple mural to cover a good portion of these mirrors, which should make the taproom feel more like a taproom and less like Zumba class - not that there's anything wrong with that. We have also been replacing some lighting fixtures in the conversation room to bring a little warmth and comfort to the place. We spent the last few weeks scouring DFW and Facebook Marketplace for inexpensive but tasteful furniture for an eclectic mix of pieces that will make your beer drinking experience richer. As a bonus, I've meet even more folks excited to come see us once we open (and maybe sit in their old chairs for nostalgia's sake).


T.A.B.C. & B.E.E.R.

We are also proud to announce that our TABC licensing came through! We are now authorized to purchase beer, cider, kombucha, coffee, or whatever beverage you would like to see issuing from one of our 20 taps. We assembled our cold room this past weekend, and with a few connections here and there, soon we should have her cold and ready to start amassing a great selection of Texas craft beverages. We have a handful of suggestions so far, but we'd love to hear more about what y'all are excited to try. We need you to tell us what you want to drink, so email david@newmainbrewing.com and let us know what we need to track down. 


New Main Studios

New Main Brewing has also become the new home to our beer-centric podcast, Casually Lit. Casually Lit is basically a weekly bottle share where our friends Jason, Rohde, Chris and I share five or so independent brews and chat about what's moving and shaking in the Craft Beer scene. We discuss things like proper aging of beer, the latest trends in new beer styles, and we bring on guests from across the spectrum of beer experience - from your average macro beer drinker to actual professional brewers and beer journalists. If you enjoy the types of conversations overheard at any given brewery tour or taproom, then you should love our show as much as we love bringing it to you. Fair warning, we discuss adult topics with adult language, so it might not be great for the kiddos.


With the help of some great friends, we have been transforming this great big shell into our new home (just like a nautilus). We still have a large amount of work to do, but there is most certainly a light at the end of the tunnel. The number one question on all of your minds, I'm sure, is "When are y'all going to open?!" The best answer I can give you is "Not soon enough," but I can say with finality that we are weeks away from a couple soft opening events. 


We will likely have our Grand Opening in January 2018, but we have not set a date yet. Join our mailing list to be included when we send our invites out for the upcoming events in our newly remodeled taproom, and you'll be the first to know when we are ready to fling our doors wide and serve the finest beverages Texas has to offer. Cheers!


Friday, November 17, 2017

Building a Brewery: November 17, 2017

Ah, don't you just love fall? The crisp, cool air, the sound of leaves crunching underfoot, sweet holiday drinks, the ever-present reminder of the enormous hulking pile of work that needs to be done before you can open your craft beverage taproom and events center? Oh, is that last one just me?


Y'all, there truly is a lot to get done, but we've been chipping away at it steadily for the last several months. I'm sorry we couldn't make the group work party happen last month, but a certain waste removal company botched the dumpster rental so it would have all been for naught. Instead, my hard-working brother Andrew brought his pick-m-up truck and a big ol' trash trailer for us to load up. We took 2 loads to the dump, cut down lots of overgrown shrubs and bushes, and laid some brand new decking in the backyard. It's really starting to shape up into the beergarden of our dreams!

I have also been busy on the paperwork front. Our TABC permit is very close to being issued. We have been meeting and submitting plans to the Town of Pantego for various renovation items like our sprinkler system, new drain for the bar sink, hookups for the cold room, and the like. I've been spending an odd day here and there each week in the brewery to tackle some of the minor plumbing/painting/decking/cursing activities, and slowly but surely, a craft beverage taproom and events center is peeking out from under the pile.

Now comes the fun part. We need y'all to tell us which Texas craft beer, cider, coffee, tea, or other beverages you want to drink when we open our doors soon! We are honored that we get to share some of our brewing friends' fine beverages with our fans, but we'd also love to try something out that we've never had before. So we need y'all to email us with your suggestions at david@newmainbrewing.com for your favorite local craft beverages that you want to see on our tap wall (doesn't have to be alcoholic either, we'll carry craft sodas as well!). We'll try our very hardest to grab what we can for our soft and grand opening events. 

Remember, we want to support and grow the Texas craft movement, so please keep your recommendations inside the borders of the Lone Star State. Also bear in mind that we will not be signing with a distributor right out of the gate, so that means I'll have to physically drive to these breweries/cideries/coffee shops to pick up the kegs (and return them!). Please give me a heads up if I'm going to have to make a road trip out of the area so I can try to source more than one brewery or beverage manufacturer. Kill two brews with one stone, so to speak.

"But David, what if I don't have any recommendations? How can I help New Main Brewing get open?" 


Well I'm glad you asked, random citizen! The biggest thing you can help us out with right now is getting the word out about our upcoming opening. We are still trying to pinpoint an exact date for opening, but it will likely be the end of December or possibly the first part of January 2018. That's a month and a half of liking our Instagram posts. That's a good solid 6 weeks of bringing up New Main casually in conversations at work. That's 45ish days of tagging a friend in our Facebook posts. That's over a 1,000 hours wherein you can go knocking door-to-door to shout out your excitement for New Main Brewing. That's nearly 65,000 minutes that you could spend imagining yourself in our taproom with your favorite people around and favorite beverage in hand.

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, we know many of y'all will be travelling to celebrate with loved ones. Please drink responsibly, and designate a driver. And hey, while Uncle Jimbo is passing the mashed potatoes around the dinner table, maybe mention to everyone that you're excited to be taking part in the Great American Craft Movement with us at New Main Brewing in Pantego, Texas. We can't wait to open our doors and serve you a nice cold pint of friendship. Cheers!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Building a Brewery: October 17, 2017


It's time to swing some hammers, quite literally! Renovations are in full swing at New Main Brewing as we work toward our goal of opening our doors and taps for y'all by the end of the year!


But we need your help!


On Saturday, October 21 from 2PM-4PM we will be working on the backyard beergarden to turn it into one of the coolest features of our amazing New Main Brewing facility. We will be wrecking out some of the existing dilapidated fence, dumping the pile of deck boards, trimming some overgrown branches, and maybe even installing the new decking. As much fun as that all sounds like, it would be ten times easier if there were ten more people besides little old me.

That's where YOU come in!

We need about 8-10 people ready to roll up their sleeves and tackle the brewery's backyard honey-do list with us. Sure, we could pay professionals to do a lot of this stuff, but: a) we ain't got that kind of money and 2) it would take the fun out of #buildingabrewery. Plus, how else are you going to get an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at our taproom, personally guided by the founders of New Main Brewing?

We definitely don't want to work y'all to death, so we're capping it at an even 2 hours from 2pm to 4pm. Plenty of time to come work up a sweat with us, hit the showers, and get back out to your weekend merrymaking. Pretty soon, you can hang out in our brand beergarden, sipping some of the finest beverages made in the great state of Texas, and tell all your friends that YOU helped build this place. There's nothing quite like the sense of accomplishment achieved by a little hard work. 

And you can bet your socks that we'll remember your hard work when it comes time to paint our faithful fans' names on our Wall of Supporters, featured prominently in our taproom. Fun fact, each of our Wall of Supporters members will be treated to discounts, first crack at new beers, and a whole bunch of other cool stuff we haven't even thought of yet!


So come on out this Saturday, October 21st from 2PM to 4PM to help us do this thing. If you can make it, PLEASE RSVP by emailing david@newmainbrewing.com. With your help, we can stay on track to open before the end of this year. Cheers!



Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Building a Brewery: September 20, 2017

I owed everyone an update last week, so I apologize for missing it. We were at mile 26 in the marathon that has been our fundraising phase. Finally, after countless forms, signatures, research, copies, scans, and no small amount of faith, I'm pleased to report that we closed on our SBA loan this morning! This means we can finally schedule some of our heavier renovation items with contractors and start really putting New Main Brewing together.


Our main renovation item to accomplish is the installation of fire sprinklers in the building. The contractor will connect a brand new fire line to the water main out front, feed it to the building, and then hang a lattice work of pipes from the ceiling to cover every square foot of the building with fire protection. Aside from that, we need to extend water and sewer services to our bar area so that we can provide clean glassware for your favorite craft beverages. We also need to run a dedicated electrical circuit over to the cold room to keep those beverages cooled and ready to pour.

From there it's a simple matter of replacing the deck boards we stripped a few months ago, tearing out and rebuilding the pathetic excuse for a fence that lines our backyard, new front door, rework the restrooms, new sign, and, and, and... Okay, so we still have A LOT of work to do before we open our doors to the public. At least we now have everything we need in order to get started on that work in earnest.

The next thing we're going to do is bang out a schedule for each part of the very long list of renovation items. Whenever possible, we'll still work in some opportunities for you fine people to come hang out with us and swing a hammer. Hell, we may even get back to brewing sometime soon to reward all of our patient fans and friends. Opening as a taproom serving our friends' Texan-made fine beverages will help us get off the ground, but we're still dedicated to brewing and serving our award-winning beer just as soon as humanly possible.


In the months leading up to our opening, we'd love to hear from y'all as to which craft beverages from Texas you'd like us to pour when we get open. Drop us a line on our Facebook page or email us at david@newmainbrewing.com and we'll make sure to procure the finest beer, cider, tea, coffee, or kombucha we can get our hands on! Cheers!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Building a Brewery: August 30, 2017

We have a short post for y'all this week. Our hearts go out to all of our friends, family, and fans who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey this week. The strong resolve of Texans will help us recover and rebuild, but it's important to recognize what a massive impact this storm has had and will have on us for quite some time to come. 

If you haven't already, please consider donating to a charity helping the millions of people affected by Hurricane Harvey whose lives will never be the same again. Here are just a few that are working tirelessly to make an impact on the Gulf Coast:








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In New Main news, things are still busy on the business-building front. We have a few quotes coming in for some plumbing renovation we need. Our 60 days notice is complete for TABC permitting, and our license should be processed sometime soon. We have a few more things to do inside our building like painting and some general sprucing-up. If all goes well, we should be able to open by the end of this year, as planned. 

The next work items we could use some volunteer help with are re-surfacing the deck in the backyard, demolition of the old fence, building our bar, and a few more painting touch-ups inside. As the weather begins to cool off heading into fall, I imagine we'll sprinkle a few brew days in there as well!


Thanks for reading our updates. Again, if you haven't already, please consider giving to one of the charities listed above, or patronize one of the establishments committed to offering assistance to those in need on the Gulf Coast. Cheers!


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Building a Brewery: August 15, 2017

The last two weeks have been HUGE for New Main. As we mentioned last time, we have been focusing our energy on our Special Use Permit (SUP) Application allowing for the sale of alcohol in our building. Basically, the Town had to clear us to be able to operate a taproom for on- and off-premise consumption. I'm proud to announce that we received unanimous approval from both the Planning & Zoning Commission as well as the Town Council of Pantego! 


We are very grateful for the support shown by our community and our fans throughout this process. I wanted to cover some of the topics we discussed at the meeting so that y'all don't get the impression that we just breezed through it all. SUP Applications take a great deal of time, effort, planning, and teamwork to get approved. As a Civil Engineer, I have prepared zoning cases for clients before on things like residential developments, gas stations, and assisted living facilities all across DFW. It's definitely a little more "real" when you do it for your own project.

The most important component of the SUP process is to discuss what the intended use will be and how it will impact the community if it were to be approved. The Pantego Town Council and Planning & Zoning Commission brought up a few important points that I think would be good to share with y'all. 

First of all, we believe good fences make good neighbors. The fence at the rear of the property (to the north) is in desperate need of replacement. We plan to replace the existing dilapidated 6' fence with a new 8' fence to improve the aesthetics of the backyard area, promote sound dampening, and show goodwill to our residential neighbors. 

Second, since we do share a property line with multiple Pantego residents, we submitted guidelines for a Noise Abatement Plan so as not to disturb our neighbors' lives with our business operations. Replacing the fence, adding vegetation in the backyard area, prohibiting music in the backyard area, and limiting our hours of operation will all hopefully express our concern with our neighbors' well-being and enjoyment of their properties.

Lastly, parking was an issue that was discussed at length in both meetings with the Town of Pantego. For those of you who have been to many of the other fine craft breweries in DFW, you know that parking is always a struggle because of the nature of industrial buildings that breweries tend to occupy. One of the reasons we selected our building is because it offers 25 spaces onsite, overflow street parking, and several excellent neighboring businesses who are excited to see a brewery come to Pantego. That said, we only signed a joint parking agreement with The Runner Shop, right across the street from us. 

There are many other fine Pantego businesses on our street, but we couldn't reach an agreement with all of them to share parking burden. With a little coordination and signage, we should be able to let our guests know where it is safe to park without the fear of getting towed. We will have signage on our property and temporary signs on neighboring properties to guide our patrons to agreed upon parking areas. We have also learned that quite a few of our fans are within walking distance to the brewery, which will cut down on the amount of vehicles looking for a space as well as helping the environment. Hey, two birds, one stone!

We anticipate weekly parking (Thursday & Friday) to be adequately served by our parking lot and overflow street parking. Saturdays may be a little more busy, so we can direct additional folks over to The Runner (where you can find some of the best athletic apparel and gear in DFW, I might add!). For events where we anticipate larger-than-normal crowds, we will communicate with our neighboring businesses to see if we may temporarily use their lot space. We can also partner with ride-sharing services like Uber and/or Lyft to cut y'all some deals. Either way, a parking diagram will accompany all of our social media event posts, a parking map will be posted on our website, and an additional map will be prominently displayed inside to remind folks where it is recommended they park. Nobody wants to get towed, and we certainly want to make it as easy as possible to visit New Main.

Now that we have approval from the Town to operate as a taproom and eventually a brewery, it's time to get down to business fixing the place up. We have a fence to replace, a cold room to install, a bar to build, a sign to re-face, furniture to acquire, and a deck to finish before we can dream of opening for business. Some of those things are better left to the professionals, but there are plenty of things that some well-motivated volunteers can get done! After the success of our first work party a few weeks ago, we'll be hosting a few more in the coming months as we get closer to opening our doors. 

As always, keep up with our blog updates and Facebook page for more information about where, when, and what we'll be working on. Oh, and now that all this Town stuff is finished for the moment, I think it's high time I got back behind the brew stand and make some more award-winning New Main beer!