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!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Building a Brewery: August 1, 2017


It was shaping up to be a VERY hot weekend, so we decided to sacrifice a few sleep-in hours Saturday morning to get busy building this dang brewery while it was still relatively cool. We put out a small flyer on Facebook last week, and some brave and generous souls answered the call to arms (well...power tools).


I want to acknowledge and thank our amazing volunteers that came out this past weekend to help us with renovations on the building. Jeff Knussman, Jim Kunkle, Gerry Cooper, and Jim & Brenda Case, you guys are all rockstars! I don't know about y'all, but I'm still sore from ripping the old, rotten deck boards off the backyard deck and painting the interior room. Your hard work and support are the most important part of building this brewery, and we are forever grateful.

We were hoping to be able to reuse the deck boards for various crafts and improvements, but they are largely rotten and unusable. Sadly, we're going to have to find a trailer and haul the stripped lumber off to the dump. The good news is that all of the joists under the deck are in pretty good condition and won't need to be replaced. All we'll have to do is replace the decking with some treated lumber, and we've got a brand new-ish deck for the back yard!

While us poor saps were outside sweating to the hits of the 80's, Amanda and Brenda were inside painting what will become the conversation room. This is the interior of the smaller free-standing building inside our main space. When we get up and running, we envision this space will provide a quieter, more intimate setting to toss back a pint and catch up with friends and family. It's amazing what a fresh coat of paint will do to a room.

Amanda and I must be gluttons for punishment, because we returned Sunday afternoon for a little more painting in the building. Now that the interior of the small building was looking good, we decided to get rid of as much orange as possible on the exterior. As many of you know, our name comes from a family story wherein two brothers got into hijinks at Texas A&M University. We decided to pay them further tribute by painting over the orange with a nice fresh coat of maroon. WHOOP! 

The next big renovation items looming on the horizon include assembling the cold room we purchased a few weeks ago, building the bar, furnishing the taproom area, resurfacing the deck out back, building a sign out front, and probably a million other things we haven't thought up yet. We'll organize another work party soon so y'all can come in and help us get this show on the road as well as getting a sneak peek of the taproom before we get open. 


Many of y'all are asking, "When will you be open?" The only answer I can give you with 100% accuracy is "Not soon enough!" However, we do have some milestones coming up that you can help us with to make our opening come sooner! We posted a few weeks ago about submitting our paperwork for our Specific Use Permit with the Town of Pantego, and we are pleased to announce that the Planning and Zoning Commission will be hearing our case at 7pm, Monday, August 7th at the Town Council Chambers on Bowen Rd. 

We would greatly appreciate it if any of our Pantego-resident fans could come and show us some support as we describe our goals and visions for New Main Brewing. If everything goes well with the P&Z meeting, our case will go before the Town Council the following Monday evening, August 14th, also at 7pm for final review (and hopefully approval). Both of these meetings are very important in terms of eventually getting open and becoming your neighborhood gathering place. We hope to see y'all there! Cheers!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Building a Brewery - July 18, 2017

Rather than try to keep up with how many weeks we've been at this, I thought I'd just slap the date on the title and get on with our progress reports. Y'all get it. You're smart. It takes a while to build a brewery. Anyways, we've been busy bees lately, and we have some cool news to share!


But first, a tale from the depths of Craigslist... 

We at the brewery find ourselves in the midst of finding cheap deals on equipment and materials to furnish our taproom build out. Daily, Amanda and I sift through postings and pictures for things like sinks, pallets, furniture, and lately small pickup trucks. 

A few years ago, Amanda and I lost some Texan points by getting rid of our two pickups in favor of more fuel efficient vehicles to make our hour-long commutes hurt a little less. Alas, though we have saved some cash in the long run with better gas mileage, we are at the mercy of our friends who own trucks when it comes to hauling large items. We finally decided enough was enough and began looking for small body pickups to help us search for taproom loot in DFW.

We went through countless posts and contacted about 5-10 sellers per day, all last week. We scheduled times to come look at the trucks and test drive them any spare moment we had. And you know what we found out? People LIE on the internet! I know right?! Seriously, if I have to read one more description of "a pretty good little truck," I'm going to lose my pretty good little mind.

Things like claiming it has 120,000 miles on the odometer, only to drive out to the middle of East Texas to discover it has 190,000 miles. Oh, and the ceiling is sagging so much that there are two perfect oil slicks where it has touched the driver's and passenger's heads for who knows how long. And also every glass surface is cracked or tarnished. And also rust. And a check engine light, even though the place selling the truck IS ATTACHED TO A MECHANIC'S GARAGE. And that wasn't even the cheapest one we looked at!

To be fair, that was just one of the 10 vehicles we test drove, but it was pretty damn disgraceful compared to the general sunshine pumping going on in the CL post. By and large, the biggest transgression from most sellers on Craigslist was taking photos of their trucks in such a way as to hide windshield cracks, claiming the interior was "clean" when there was literally an apple and candy wrappers strewn about, and for some reason, a half-empty (half-full, whatever) bottle of water in each of the beds of these trucks. We began to think it was all a big prank, and Ashton Kutcher was around the corner waiting to tell us we got Punk'd, bro.

We finally found a great deal from a guy in Garland where the interior hadn't been straight-up destroyed, the miles were reported accurately, and the vehicle was in overall pretty good shape. Long story longer, we bought the truck and drove it back to Pantego for use in official brewery building business. Folks, say hello to New Main Brewing's newest team member...

Bob Barley, the New Main Brewery Truck

Aside from our North-Texas-trotting escapades, we managed to accomplish a few other major milestones. We filed for and received our Sales and Use Tax permit (hold the thunderous applause until the end, please). We also busted our humps to gather all relevant information to submit our Special Use Permit to the Town of Pantego in order to open as a taproom. This one was actually a big deal, folks, and it wasn't just the New Main crew that worked hard to make it happen. 

I want to give a HUGE shout out to Larissa at The Runner Shop in Pantego for helping us secure our joint parking agreement, one of the most important facets of our SUP application. Thanks to her extremely prompt responses and kindness, we will be one of very few breweries in DFW with adequate parking that doesn't make you walk several miles to get to the air conditioning! The Runner has not only some of our favorite running and athletic gear, but also a stable of amazing people ready to help you get where you want to go. Make sure you show them some love, because there's a good chance we would've missed a narrow window to get open this year without them!

More updates on the way, and details for our first work party should come out this week. Spoiler alert, we're resurfacing our deck in the beer garden area. We'll post later this week on our Facebook page with details. Until then, stay cool. Cheers!



Friday, July 7, 2017

Happy Independence Day!

We're starting to get down to business fixing up the building. We have a lot of irons in the fire at the moment with TABC licensing, Indiegogo order fulfillment, our SUP submittal for the Town of Pantego, business plan re-re-re-re-re-re-visions, and of course starting to acquire some equipment and materials to turn our space into New Main Brewing Company.


First things first, you all are being incredibly patient with us on the Indiegogo order fulfillment, and we sincerely appreciate it. We apologize that it's taking so long to get these items out to all of you, but we are working our hardest to get the items made, printed, and ready for shipping. We are waiting on one more vendor to get our glasses, tin tackers, and stickers to us before we can start shipping everything out. 


We are incredibly happy with the items we've ordered so far, so we want to give a huge shout out to Nice Dudes Servicing Craft in Denton and Cornerstone Impressions in Fort Worth. Both of these businesses gave us prompt service, outstanding product quality, and you can bet we'll be using them again. We think you should too!

Amanda has been working hard to get our licensing process underway, and we're proud to announce that our 60-day notice has been put up at our location! We are also starting our paperwork for our brewpub licenses, both with the State and the Feds because we know it takes a long time. By the time we're ready to brew our first batch of our own beer (after we start up serving our favorites from our friends in the DFW craft scene), hopefully we should have all the licensing and paperwork in place.

We're also submitting our plans and applications to the Town of Pantego, who have been a great bunch of folks to work with so far. We've met with the Town Manager and Development Director as well as the Assistant Fire Chief a few times so that they know who we are and what we want to bring to Pantego. Even though our plan shifted from the first time we met, they have been very helpful in letting us know the process to get our plans before the Planning and Zoning commission as well as the Town Council. We will keep all of you updated on our progress at Town Hall, including ways for you to help make your voice heard when it comes time to show your support of New Main.


This week, we gathered our team to help us secure some equipment that we need. We have been scouring used equipment sites and Craigslist to find some cost-effective cold rooms to house the beverages we plan to serve. We located an excellent prospect in Burleson, and after verifying that the cooler was in good working order, we had ourselves a deal. 

Mega-huge shouts out to Rohde and Jason for stepping up to help us dismantle, pack, and unload the cooler panels and parts at the brewery. I also want to thank William Enox of Crossroads Station Storage for selling us the cold room, helping us disconnect and load the pieces, and of course renting us the truck we needed to haul it all. If y'all need storage or U-Haul trucks in the Crossroads/Burleson area, William is your guy. Next step is to call in some friends who speak fluent HVAC to help us puzzle-piece everything back together into a working cold room.


The next items we will need to get working on will be some painting and trim work inside the building as well as some TLC on the outside of the facility. We're talking fence, deck, signage, doors, and whatever else pops up on the way to getting open. We also need to get back to brewing so we can have some New Main beer to share with our volunteers. Once we have a batch or two ready to drink, we'll set up a Saturday or two for y'all to help us swing some hammers. In the mean time, we're also working with a contractor to install a fire suppression system inside the building. These are busy times indeed. Cheers!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

1 Year of Building a Brewery

May 24th was the anniversary of our announcement that New Main Brewing was going pro. We've learned a lot about starting a brewery in this last year, but we've also learned that it takes a whole lot more than passion and good beer to get started. Looking back on a year's worth of posts, our goal is the same but our path has changed nearly constantly. We are still committed to this dream, and we are still doing everything in our power to make New Main Brewing Company a reality.


That said, we've hit a few rather sizable bumps on our road to opening. We are very blessed to have received such a warm welcome at each of our tasting events over the last year. The friendships we've forged and fans we've met mean the world to us. We fell short of our crowdfunding goal, but we were able to reach more craft beer fans than ever before thanks to the tireless efforts of our friends and teammates. For those of you who contributed to our Indiegogo campaign, thank you for your contributions and your patience. Ordering and assembling the perk packages to ship out is taking us a little longer than we hoped, but we are working on getting everything shipped by the end of the month.

We spent more than a little time trying to find investors who were interested in our plan as well as seeking funding through various lenders and banks. To pull the curtain back a little bit, any time I said we had stuff going on "behind the scenes," that was pretty much code for trying to find substantial funding for our business plan (which has changed several times now). After several months of speaking with lenders and financial institutions, we kinda get the sense that they don't want to lend you any money unless you don't need it. And despite 30 years of evidence that craft beer isn't a fad (seriously, thirty years of craft beer scraping and clawing its way to more than a quarter of all American beer produced), funding a brewery still seems risky to people outside the industry.

We've learned to be flexible with our means, but rigid in our goals. We've learned how to tell when someone is stalling for time and when someone is genuinely interested. We've also learned that not everyone is as passionate about craft beer as we are. We've learned that no one cares as much about our dream as we do, and that there's really nothing personal about that. We've learned that everyone draws the line between business and personal life very differently.

We've learned that there is no "one way" to open a brewery, and everyone's experience is very different. There are many books that brewers have written about the origin of their brewery, with many similarities, but there is no sure-fire way to make something out of nothing. You kind of have to feel it out for yourself and not be afraid to make some changes to the image in your mind to make it come to fruition. We have been very fortunate to have so many amazing and genuine people giving us advice from their own experience opening breweries in DFW, and the new friendships we've forged throughout this process reassure us that we want to be a part of this community.

The dream of New Main Brewing is to bring interesting and tasty beer to our community in a comfortable, inviting place. We are still very much committed to this dream, but we're going to be building it from a slightly different angle now. 

Since brewing equipment is hella expensive, we will be opening our doors as an events center and guest taproom until we can save up enough to commercially produce our own beer. I know that's not what most of you were hoping for (hell, we were hoping to make our own beer right out the gate, too), but cultivating the local craft community is very important to us. It is our hope that we can show you our commitment to Texas craft beer by providing y'all the atmosphere that we have come to know and love in the past 5 years of brewing and drinking across this state. In addition to a curated list of local craft beer, we will be offering non-alcoholic options as well like craft sodas, kombucha, and cold brew coffee.

This is most definitely a longer road than we thought we were setting out on, but who gives a damn when the journey is infinitely more interesting than the destination? We are literally going back to the drawing board to determine our next steps, but we are going to start taking action to make our space an interesting and fun place to visit and/or party.

In order to get our Certificate of Occupancy, we have a few major renovation items to get done. First, we must install a fire sprinkler system, then remodel the bathrooms that were formerly gym locker rooms, then we're going to get busy painting the inside spaces, and finally we're going to build a bad ass bar across which some of the finest liquids in Texas will be served (whether or not it's ours). The support and love that all of you have shown us throughout this process is overwhelming, and we are truly grateful for it. As we get our plan of attack laid out, I'll announce when our work weekends will start up so that you all can volunteer. (By the way, we've never stopped brewing our own beer, so there will be liquid reward at the end of each volunteer activity!)

It's been a long year, but our future is still bright. We have several months of hard work ahead of us before we can open our doors. With your continued support, the strength of our team, and the vision to build the place we want to see in the craft beer community, we will all discover the roles we play in building our New Main Brewery. Cheers!