Zoning In

zoning-in

The I last wrote about the actual process of planning and opening a brewery was back when I said that a location announcement was imminent. That was in July, and here it is November and I still haven’t made any announcements. I do apologize about that, but we are not planning to send out any info prematurely. We want to make sure that when we tell you where we are going and when we are going to open, that we will not be guessing.

In the previously mentioned post, I also talked about two really incredible opportunities that had presented themselves. Both of the properties were in close proximity to each other and both had incredible PROs and only minimal CONs. But in the end, one property stood out to us. One property gave us, just Pearce and I, full ownership of the actual dirt and building and one property did not. We would have had to give up too much equity in our business and still never really owned the building or land in the second option. It pretty much made it a no brainer. We put in a contract to purchase Option One. 

For the next several weeks and months I will be writing about the process and the trials and tribulations of building a brewery at Option One.

Option One is a vacant piece of land in an up-and-coming, well-trafficked (no puns intended) area of North Charleston. We have the property under contract and are working with a local urban planner to help develop the property. This means that we will be building a new building in a hip area and will have a loyal population all within walking distance. This is completely exciting for us because it completely fits our vision of this brewery.

The first obstacle in our forward progress was that the property was not zoned to allow a production brewery. The zoning would have allowed for a brew pub, which means that we could have had a brewery but we would not have been able to distribute any product outside of our tap room. This was not in line with our business plan, so we decided to push for the City to change the zoning on the property to a similar, but more favorable zoning.

Changing the zoning of a property is not a terribly HARD process to get started, but it is time-consuming, takes a while to jump through all of the hoops, and if the new zoning doesn’t make sense for the community then the City may not grant it.

mayor-saluteWe started the process and made application to the City at the end of September and they posted a notice on the piece of property calling for any public comments. The first step was to go before the Planning and Zoning Board to get a recommendation to take the zoning change request to City Council for review. There were a couple of folks who came out to speak against the zoning change. One lady was opposed to a new alcohol establishment being allowed. She is the president of one of the neighborhood groups and doesn’t want to see the area become “alcohol alley.” But the Planning Commission cannot concern itself with the intended use, only whether or not the zoning fits with the area. The other opponent was more vocal about changing the zoning and it would seem that he opposes MOST of the requests for zoning changes in the area. The City had sent their recommendation to approve and the Planning and Zoning board followed suit and sent the request forward with the one condition that we visit with the neighborhood groups and introduce ourselves and what we are planning. We met with the group not too long after the first meeting and felt that we were able to address all concerns and we left the meeting with the feeling that our presentation was a success.

The next step, two weeks later, was the first reading with City Council. Once again the same opponents showed up and said their piece. They were noted but the motion was sent to the next step, Public Safety.

The Public Safety meeting was the following week. It also allowed public comments, but there was no opposition at that meeting. The Public Safety committee voted unanimously for approval. That left one final step.

The next week the motion went back to City Council for final vote. There was no discussion and the vote passed unanimously.

That means that our property is approved for a brewery and the ball keeps rolling forward.

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Next steps: Planning and Design…

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GABF Pro-Am Follow Up

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There have been a lot of things happening in the life of this “start up” brewery lately and I have a lot to catch you all up on, but for right now I just wanted to give you a quick post to follow up on the GABF Pro-Am.

Long story short:

We did not win a medal in the GABF Pro-Am. We are waiting on our score sheets to tell us how we did do. Once we know, we will let you know. Maybe. Ok, probably.

Short story long:

What an awesome experience. First and foremost I would like to thank Ryan Coker and the guys at Revelry Brewing here in Charleston for asking us to participate with our beer, Wise One.  Shout out to Jay, Sean, Brendan, Hunter, Michael and the rest of the crew for letting Pearce and I come in and brew our recipe with them and be a part of the team. The reception that we got around town for the beer was incredible and even though we didn’t win a medal for it, the market validation was great. It sold out quickly all around town.

GABF was incredible. There were over 3,000 breweries represented with over 7,000 beers in 100 different categories. Meeting other brewers from around the country and getting to try some of the World’s best beer was quite an experience. Not to mention that Denver is a beautiful city. One of my favorite parts was getting to attend the Brewer’s Appreciation Lunch at Avery Brewing where we got to mingle with some of those world-class brewers, eat all the BBQ we wanted and drink a bunch of one-off and special beers from Avery. Good times.

The REALLY excellent news coming out of GABF is that we got to celebrate with our homeslices from Revelry as THEY WON A MEDAL!

Revelry took home the silver medal in the Scotch Ale category with their beer Oh My Darlyn! The whooping and hollering from the South Carolina contingency was quite outstanding.  Winning a medal at GABF is like winning a medal in the beer Olympics. There are no higher honors in the competition world.

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Congrats guys!

Another really cool thing that happened at GABF is that Pearce and I got to meet one of my personal beer heroes, Jay Goodwin and his dad Brad from the Rare Barrel. Pearce even said I fan-boyed a little bit. Sorry Jay.

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There is a lot more that I could say about GABF, but I’m not going to. It was awesome and I cannot wait to go back as the proprietor of our own place. Maybe it will even be next year.

In closing, I want to let you know that starting with the next post, we will start truly delving into the process of starting a brewery. Although I have not posted a lot about the process up until this point, there have been a lot of things happening and a lot of moving parts set into motion. We have some super exciting updates coming up shortly.

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Stay tuned!