As September ends and October begins, I am brewing with some of the greatest brewing minds in the city of Cincinnati working on something special to remember a friend that left this world too early. There will be more information coming on this soon. I’d suggest following The Gnarly Gnome to learn all you need to know.
The main point of this blog post is to fill you in on our vision for what will be Alexandria’s first brewery since the 1880’s. I started our business plan in 2009 when my wife and I lived in a two bedroom condo in Wilder, KY. In 2010, I filed for our LLC and it became official in January of 2011. In terms of craft beer in Cincinnati, that was a long time ago. On the 4th of July in 2011, I had my first bout with a major health problem that became chronic. This caused us to put the dream on hold, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. What I mean by this is that in 2011, I was looking at converting old dairy equipment into brewing equipment. It was a common practice back then. It would have been a small operation of my wife and I with maybe one other employee. Our production plan was a 2-3 barrel (BBL) direct fire system that would operate very similar to homebrew. I hadn’t thought about the difficulty of keeping up with demand, because I hadn’t realized the level of demand and how thirsty Cincinnati was. We were looking to rent a small space in a strip mall and do our best to keep our day jobs.
The problems with my health allowed me to take a step back and reevaluate what’s important to me. I was fortunate enough to attend Seibel School of Technology (the oldest and most recognized brewing schools in the United States). I learned more about brewing and the brewing process than I ever thought possible there and was able to get some great volunteer work in the Chicago area. I came back home and reworked our business plan.
Right now, we are really working from two business plans, which has a lot to do with bank financing. We have financing in place with a bank, but the bank is being very wishy washy with how much they want to lend us. We have investors and our own money put in on it as well. The issue is being compared to other breweries that operate different than we will. For example, they may have a restaurant or a smaller level of production than we are planning. Unfortunately, a bank sees us all as the same and they will look at hard numbers versus a theoretical number any day. It is part of the reason I am no longer in the financial industry. So, with all of that said, of the two plans, Plan B we are good to go on. We are still trying to work on Plan A, but it may be a little further off.
Here is a summary of our Plans:
Both plans we will purchase the same piece of land. We have a place in mind and have several backups as well. We are doing our best to stay within the City of Alexandria proper. Our first choice will allow us to do so and is a prime location.
Build a 6,000 – 10,000 Sq. Ft. steel building to serve as our production facility and taproom
The production facility will be a 3 vessel 15 or 20 (BBL) brewhouse with six fermentation tanks that will be double the capacity of the brewhouse.
The taproom will offer free vintage pinball and arcade games free to guests.
We will build a large outdoor German / Bavarian style beer garden with a fireplace and, eventually, a stage area.
The brewpub will be super family friendly with board games (even some built into our tables) and we will offer a selection of craft soda. We hope to eventually make our own rootbeer.
Guests will be welcome to bring their own food and/or order from local restaurants . We plan to have food trucks as often as possible.
The land we are currently looking at has an existing structure. In Plan A, that would be our office space. In this plan, we would turn the first floor into a taproom. The top floor will become our offices and the basement will become our production.
We will start a with a small 3-5 BBL brewhouse with six double capacity fermentation tanks.
This will allow us to operate and establish ourselves. The taproom will still be family friendly and you will still be able to bring your own food and such. We may not be able to keep up with demand with this plan, so you may see some more guest drafts in our taproom than you would with Plan A in order for us to fill the gaps.
The point of this plan is to prove that our plan and numbers are solid and to expand to Plan A within 1-2 years.
Our beer garden will start out slightly smaller with Plan B, but it will be growing constantly.
So, this is where we are. We will be in Alexandria soon. We have been working with the city and they are excited to have us be a part of the community. Backing our Kickstarter will help us with the challenges we may face when it comes to zoning. To be clear, the Kickstarter is more about showing City Council that the community is behind us and wants us in Alexandria. We have to do either two things to combat the zoning challenges we face. Those are change the law based on production size or convince the planning committee to give us a permit to use the land for brewing purposes. When I say "challenges," they aren't a high mountain for us to climb. We have the city's support. It just becomes easier when we have a community behind us.
Anyway, if you made it this far, thank you for giving this a read. We appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you in our taproom. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments below or message us by clicking on the “Contact Us” tab.