LEAVES MUCH FALL DOWN: BUCKS, SUDS AND BUDS
December 30, 2014 By Josh Counsil in Brewing, Construction, Finance, Friends 4
HOLY SHIT!!! We've got money, recipes and connections! Where can I even begin this blog post? How about with another excited outburst? MY GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY!!!
Sean laying down the law
Now, I know you folks are dying to read about the regulations and provisions of our constitutional documents, so let's talk turkey. We wouldn't be here without the ever-scrupulous eyes of Marcel, our accountant, and Sean, our lawyer (pictured above). This guy is a wonder to behold. I almost want our company to get sued just to see him in action. Over the span of several months and one particularly gruelling eight-hour meeting, we covered everything one could hope to cover in corporate legalities. What happens if one of us dies? Gets sick? Switches professions? Falls in the woods and nobody's around to hear? Even lighthearted banter is up for linguistic dissection. Take Sean's favourite joke, for example: "A rabbi, a priest, and a monk walk into a bar - WHEREAS
Each of the parties hereto (also referred to as the "Subjects") collectively are the subjects of the JOKE herein.
The Bar (also referred to as the "Business") carries on the business of a public house and related commercial activity.
The Bar, to the fullest extent of its corporate capacity, has agreed to become a party to this JOKE agreed upon herein by the terms of this JOKE as they relate to the matters within its control.
The aforementioned Subjects are presently all the Subjects in the Bar.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF the Parties hereto have executed this JOKE as of the day and year first above written."
Clearly a staged photo. That's not even real paper.
Within our shareholder money in place, the banks began dispersing their funds. Above, you'll see our BDC Account Manager, Mark. He has been a gem throughout this process, which began in August 2012 and finished, in signature, on December 3, 2013. BDC is an amazing resource not only for funding, but planning and execution. They critiqued our business plan, marketing strategy, distribution tactics and general hygiene. The only real humps were proving to BDC that: 1) we are not a bar, which they do not finance (in Mark's honour, we are considering naming the taproom the "Definitely Not A Bar Taproom"); and 2) Angus' mother is not a crack dealer from Edmonton, as the background check indicated. No joke. Once BDC processed the brewing equipment financing loan, our Credit Union Atlantic rep, Krista - a sharp cookie - finalized our taproom renovations financing loan. We're in the money.
From college to career, Dixie cups have served us well.
Of course, what is good money without beer? After tweaking old recipes for months, we've finalized about five styles that we believe are ready for public consumption:
- a hoppy, citrusy summer ale perfect for co-ed softball;
- a dark, coffee - and chocolate - infused breakfast stout perfect for pancakes;
- a hybrid ale-lager "steam" beer with a toffee nose and bitter end;
- a salty, citrusy and wheaty gose made with brackish water; and
- a warming, banana-heavy German weizenbock with big American hops.
Our HVAC floor plan for the warehouse. Who says MS Paint is archaic?
Of course, what's a beer without a brewery? With Angus' background in construction engineering and my background in exploiting Angus' background, we designed and drafted our own floor plans. Working with Glen of Halifax Permitting, we completed our package and received our construction permits in early December. Angus has since been contracting out the work to tradesfolk and, in some instances, getting his hands dirty.
Since we live above the brewery, we had to apply a fire-protective epoxy coating to the partition Apparently, a liability letter indicating we were okay to accept the risk of burning to death should the warehouse catch fire was unacceptable.
Of course, what's a brewery without people? The greatest satisfaction of the past few months has come from all the personal and professional connections we've made. Alexander Henden of Local Connections Halifax invited us to showcase our beer at both his 12 Beers of Christmas holiday party and the Craft Beer and Local Food celebration in January, which will mark Wrought Iron's official public debut. Lindsay, Pam, and Tracy of Ladies Beer League have drank, donated, and danced their way into our hearts. Every time we run into Todd "The Beer Dude" Beal of Maritime Beer Report, we feel as if we just slipped into a bathtub that is just he right temperature. Another blogger, Chris McDonald of Atlantic Canada Beer Blog, invited us to our first meeting with the Brewnosers, a group of beer and home-brew enthusiasts. These dudes really know their beer and Doug and I were nervous heading in, but they were gracious, welcoming, and, uh, candid with their feedback. Chris also shared one of the most interesting beer styles I've ever tried: a light, sour and smoky beer known as a "gratzer". The sourness pairs nicely with Chris' sweet disposition.
Canada Malting Group event.
Perhaps most amazing about the community is the support from other brewers, people who, by all rights, should be stomping on us. John, Josh, Andrew and Mike of Propeller Brewery hosted an awesome party at their place, including a private tour and wine barrel sniffing with Chris of Stillwell. Brian, Kellye (pictured above, second from left), Alex and the rest of the team at garrison Brewing have been generous with their business advice and bourban cocktails, while their head brewer, Daniel, has the most infectious laugh in the city. Kevin of Granite Brewery offered a spot in Craft Beer Week and a hit off his e-cigarette. Emily of Boxing Rock welcomed us into the Nova Scotia Craft Brewers Association with open hearts and livers. Jeff of Bad Apple Brewhouse, Greg Nash, and Hams of Jost Vineyards and Tatamagouche Brewing Co. have contributed construction tips and commiserated about legislation woes. We shared many laughs with Randy and his wife, Kathy, of Sea Level Brewing, who are pictured about dead-centre. Jake of Rockbottom Brew Pub, gave us perhaps the funniest brewing advice to date: your beer doesn't have to be consistent, just good. Lorne "Lefty" Romano (pictured below) of Rogues Roost always pops by to share tales, ales and Cuban cigars, as well as to bust our balls about hop additions. I've previously sung the praises of Don (Barnone Brewing) and Jeremy (Big Spruce Brewing) who continue to aid us and others. The list goes on and on, and there are still many brewers and reps we're looking forward to meeting.
Brewing up trouble. And wort.
One relationship worth mentioning as a send-off here is that of me and the boys. Countless people warned me not to open a brewery with my friends and the last six months have been the most trying of my life. It’s difficult to separate business from pleasure, especially when the business is beer, and the boys and I have undergone everything from simple disagreements to damn-near physical altercations. And yet, we continue to persevere. We air our grievances. We tackle our demons. Our friendship supersedes our partnership. I love these lads, which means taking the good with the bad and making something work in the face of overwhelming odds. And in the event we do end up murdering each other, at least we’re insured for $3 million.
HSSC co-ed softball team, "Poundin' Iron".
Josh and Angus at The Foggy Goggle
Angus and Doug at Bluenose Ghosts Festival.
A game of Kings gone wrong.
Oh, and Nichy's a doggone saint for living with us.