One very productive week later...
It's hard to believe we posted just over a week ago- we have made great progress on our space and moving forward on permits and approval for production. We are overwhelmed with the support we have gotten so far, and truly appreciate your encouragement and well wishes! On that note, let's recap what we did in this past week.
We continued the brewery build-out this week, and things are really coming together. We finished the walk-in cooler build (minus the refrigeration units), which was a very interesting process. To finish the inside walls, we used a one-part acrylic epoxy from PPG; once we applied two coats over primer, the walls hardened like plastic, mimicking the typical FRP material used in these applications (you see FRP everywhere -- it's the durable textured plastic panels, which are very thin but useful in creating a surface that will not rot or warp, and is easy to clean over and over again).
We went with a special order door from Len-Co Lumber, which gave us the R-value we needed and came with some added bonus sealing components to make sure we don't let any heat in when the door is sealed. We are working on ordering our evaporator and condensing unit very soon!
We also built a partition wall to define the customer access portion of the brewery. The wall also provides us with some much needed semi-hidden storage.
The brewhouse is fired up and the kettles are on -- they are being tested daily with guidance from the manufacturer, who happens to be a wonderful gentleman named Tim at Colorado Brewing Systems. Since the system was designed to brew beer, we are amending the control software so that it works more directly for our needs.
So far, we have been practicing which ports work best for heating elements and which for whirlpooling, etc.. We are basically like little children after Christmas morning, eager to open everything and play with it!
Drew from WaterCure USA has been a friend to kombucha for as long as I have known him. Today he sent his tech Josh to the brewery to install water filters to keep our booch as fresh and delicious as possible. It is very important to use filtered water with kombucha as the chlorine and fluorine in the municipal water can attack the healthy bacteria that we are trying to propagate and deliver to your tummy. Josh did a great job! We learned that he also works as a firefighter for the city of Lockport, which is pretty cool. Many of you may not know but my father is a retired Captain on the Buffalo Fire Department, and my two older brothers both served the same department -- needless to say, we welcome all civil servants with open arms. He will definitely be back for some samples once we are up and running!
In other news...our new kegs arrived!!! And they look awesome! We decided to lease our kegs from eLease Funding, Inc., out of Florida. Their salesperson Brandon has been extremely helpful. We went with 1/6 bbl, or sixtels, because they are very portable and relatively light. Brandon hooked us up with threaded Sankey D spears on the kegs, which makes it a cinch to unscrew and access the inside of the keg for cleaning (kombucha does leave a good bit of residue inside of kegs because it is alive and continues its processes, which include the creation of healthy acids, and a minimal amount of cellulose). Aside from the added ease of use that these kegs offer, they also look pretty sweet! Such a beautiful package for our wonderful product -- we can't wait to fill these bad boys up and get them out to some fine retailers near you.
The rest of this week will include dealing with the Cornell University's Food Research lab to help with our scheduled process for kombucha. This process ensures that our kombucha will not exceed .05% ABV (alcohol by volume). Completing this process will allow us to finally sell our kombucha as a wholesale product! We will also check in with my father-in-law, Mr. John Lehner to see how our beautiful new bar is coming along.
Onward and upward...