Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Brewery Plans

First, we finally got a full set of plans from our engineers this week.  As soon as we received the plans we went down to the town to submit and discuss the permitting process again.  Luckily the town was willing to accept the drawings and the permit applications without the names of the contractors who will be doing the work.  

We decided to split the permits into two different applications.  All the demolition work we plan on doing to the floors is going to be in one application, and the rest of the work will be attached to another application.  The logic behind the split is that the demolition work does not require a lengthy review and it is the first work we need to get completed, so the construction official said they could get us those permits more quickly if it was separated from the total application—so we did.  

We were told to expect our demolition permits in a week or two and our full set of permits within two to six weeks.  Not the time line we were hoping for but there's nothing we can do about that.   

The way the engineers designed the brewery they gave us a few options so we could decide on how we wanted to proceed once we started getting some quotes in from contractors.  We would like to pull up the existing concrete floor in the entire brewing area and pour a new concrete floor that is sloped to a center trench drain.  However, if that is beyond our budget, at a minimum we would just cut out a center strip of concrete that would allow us to install a trench drain in the center and leave the floor mostly in tact.  If we go in that direction, we will probably install a curb around the brewing area to keep the water from flowing all over the brewery.

The photo above shows the layout of our brewing equipment.  It’s a bad photo and kind of small but we can try and describe what's going on.  This section of our warehouse is the outside wall of the building.  The top rectangle is actually outside the building and its where we intend to install our glycol chiller unit.  The two smaller squares on the left are our steam boiler that will heat our boil kettle and hot liquor tank.  In most breweries these units are somewhere out of sight, but since our gas, electrical and water supplies are located in the utility room partially show in the photo, that was the best place to install them.  The two vessels with what looks like stairs between them that are perpendicular to the wall are the brew house vessels.  The four tanks that are lined up against the back wall are the hot liquor tank and three ferementers, and our bright tank is at the end of the drain.  The small square unit next to the bright tank is our keg cleaning and filling equipment.  The room all the way to the right is our mill room where we will store, mill and auger our grain to the mash tun.  

The idea behind the design was to keep everything centered around the sloped floor and trench drain.  We wanted to be able to everything clean and keep water from running all over the brewery.  There are a few things we plan to change about the design, for example, right now the grist case is outside the mill room next to the fermenters.  We are planning to move that into the mill room to contain any potential grain dust and to keep it away from fermenting beer.  The keg cleaning and filling equipment will probably be moved into a separate packaging area in the future, but for right now there is room and its seems like a convenient place to put this equipment. 

I know the picture is small and the description is questionable, but it hopefully gives you an idea of how our brew house and cellar will be organized.     

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Plans & Permits

While we were waiting for our engineers to finish the plans for our brewery we went over to talk to the construction officials about the permitting process.  As you may recall we needed to get a more detailed set of plans from a licensed engineer for two reasons (1) in order to get permits to do the work and (2) so we could get accurate bid from contractors. 

Our engineers told us that the way the permitting process works is that you submit the plans to the town for review, then once the town approves them you can send the plans out for bid from local contractors.  Makes sense to me.  The logic there is that if you get bids before the town approves the plans and then they change the scope of the work will change which will most likely affect the cost. 

When we spoke to the town about this process they said you submit the applications for construction permits, including the names of all the contractors doing the work when you submit your plans.  Naturally we asked what would happen in the event of any changes the town required.  They lead us to believe that if a licensed engineer signed and sealed the plans and they were up to all NJ state codes there shouldn’t be any changes.   

The problem we had with this process was that once the engineers finish the plans we would then need to take a few weeks to get bids and line up the contractors.  Only then could we submit the plans to the town for review.  If we could have the town officials reviewing the plans while we were working on getting the contractors lined up that would have saved some time. 

We mentioned this to the construction officials and they said we could submit the plans with “to be determined” in the contractor section of the permit application if we wanted to get the process started sooner.  Hopefully that will move the process along, but we image not too much will happen until we get them the names of the people doing the work. 

The plans are supposed to be ready this week so we’ll see what happens once we get them.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Final Comment on the Brewer's Notice

As we mentioned on our Facebook page a while ago, our application for the federal brewing license called a Brewer’s Notice, was approved in late February.  We know the date on the Facebook announcement was early March but we’re pretty busy trying to get open and doing our best to keep things current.  One of the purposes of the blog is to provide information to anyone who is currently going through the process of opening a brewery or is planning to do so in the future.  That’s why we wanted to add one final comment on the Brewer’s License process. 

We sent in our application on December 21, 2010 and were told that the current wait time at that point was 90 – 100 days.  We had our phone interview 43 days later on February 2, 2011.  The application was approved on February 23, 2011, making the total waiting period for our application 64 days. 

We were surprised it was so quick and tend to think we helped the process along by providing the TTB with all the information they requested upfront and as organized as possible, but the TTB does a great job with the application process considering the large and ever increasing  number of applications they have been receive over the past few years.  As we mentioned before if you have any questions contact a TTB analysts before submitting your application.  They were extremely helpful in answering any questions.  If anyone is in the process themselves feel free to contact us with questions.  Good luck.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Head Brewer

We are extremely excited to announce that Clayton Brackley will be joining Kane Brewing Company next week as our Head Brewer. Clay is a native of Reno, NV, but comes to us most recently from Downingtown, PA, where he was a brewer at Victory Brewing Company.   

We couldn’t be happier that he decided to take a chance and leave one of the largest, most well-respected craft breweries in the country to join our little project.  Although he’s not starting officially until next week, he sent ahead an introduction and brief biography:

Born and raised in the Sierra Nevada mountains, I began my brewing career as an apprentice at BJ's Brewing Company in Reno, Nevada in 2005.  I learned all the basics of proper brewing etiquette as well as the challenges of running a production brewery.  Working under a brewmaster from Southern California and another from Portland Oregon I learned all about brewing west coast style beers and in my free time I would try my own take on the styles on my pilot system.  

In 2007, I was offered a position as Head Brewer of Sleeping Lady Brewing Co, in Anchorage Alaska and I jumped at the chance to exercise creative control.  There I honed my standard recipes as well as explored the most extreme beer styles I could imagine.  From Berliner Weiss to Imperial Stout and beyond, I made a name for myself by creating delicious and interesting beers while constantly trying to push my customers to try new things.  I won consecutive medals in 2008 & 2009 for Best Barleywine in Alaska at the Great Alaska Beer and Barley Wine Festival (GABBF) and won a Silver medal at the 2010 World Beer Cup for Belgian Strong Golden Ale aged on sour cherries.  

I loved the success I achieved at Sleeping Lady yet I felt that I could still learn more about my craft so I accepted a job offer from Victory Brewing Co. in Downingtown PA.  While at Victory I learned a lot about brewing lager styles in the German tradition, as well as, using some of the most cutting edge brewing equipment.  I was also given the opportunity to initiate Victory’s first barrel aging program and created their first coffee beer.  

The creative control I had at Sleeping Lady was something I missed far more than I expected and I felt that I was now in the perfect position to not only utilize my newly honed skills but to bring the recipes I developed to New Jersey.  I am honored to accept the position as Head Brewer at Kane Brewing Company and look forward to the challenge. 



After our first conversation with Clay it was obvious that he is extremely knowledgeable and passionate about craft beer and all things brewing.  He will be a tremendous addition to the brewery and the New Jersey craft beer scene. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Craft Beer and Food Festival

We took a break from working around the brewery Sunday night and headed up to the Craft Beer & Food Festival in NYC.  The event was organized by Get Real NY and it was one of the better local beer events we’ve attended.  They had 80+ cask conditioned commercial beers and a number of excellent beers brewed and served by local homebrewers.    

Some of the more interesting non-commercial beers we tasted were from the Bierkraft table.  They were serving a robust porter straight from a second use bourbon barrel and had a 20+% ABV IPA.  

Keep an eye out for the other Get Real NY events this year.  They are planning a Belgian Beer Festival in June and an event to coincide with NY Craft Beer Week in September.         

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Kane Brewing Company hats are in.  They’re cotton hats with the little league style snap-backs—one size fits most, as they like to say.  Not sure why they were the first thing we ordered but glasses, t-shirts, stickers, etc. are on the way.