While we haven’t reached the opening, we have reached a point where looking back we can appreciate living through a plan that’s been years in the making. It has been an awesome experience.
While the idea of opening a brewery, and flashes of inspiration or concepts, were percolating for a long time, reality began after we discovered our future home. That’s a story in-and-of-itself for another day, but what we thought was a project that maybe would begin later in 2017 by finding a site for a brewery, was suddenly propelled to a hopeful opening for full operation by the end this fall.
Of course it’s never that easy. At the time we started our endeavor Hudson had a ordinance which kept breweries from opening in the downtown zoning districts. Of course this is exactly where our building is located: directly on 2nd street, on the main downtown drive, a mere two blocks from the pier and dock. It’s always fun to tell a story of struggle and perseverance when it comes to dealing with legal and regulatory fights, but honestly, I can’t even use the word fight. The City of Hudson, from it’s employees, to the elected officials, to our fellow business owners, has been nothing but cordial, helpful, and excited about our brewery. There were the initial eyebrow raises and statements to the effect of “well there’s a law about where you can’t open you know; we just thought that would end it.” Luckily for us not giving up, a few conversations, a little education, and just being open about what we intend to do has gone a long way. On May 15 (my wife’s birthday btw, obviously she was very, very cool with this timing) the City of Hudson changed their ordinance on our request to allow breweries to apply for a conditional use permit for the downtown districts.
Working on the brewhouse and equipment has been a surreal experience for a beer-geek. We are currently on floorpan #9 (Thanks Swaney!), which I think that’s the final version, but I was pretty confident 6 was final too… Direct fire or boiler, single stage or two stage heat exchanger, to decoct or not to decoct, will the chiller handle the load, do we have enough fermentation capacity, sourcing kegs, what’s the water profile, do we need RO, cans or bottles (cans), refrigeration space, placement of the grist case, auger system, more brewer’s hose (yes, the answer is always yes) will this all fit, how much tipping space – while exhausting, this is certainly not an exhaustive list of the questions volleyed our way.
Throughout all of this there have been the usual business start up concerns on everything from vendor quotes, marketing, decor, payroll, financing, and employees.
What I’m verbosely building to is that finding a way to enjoy the little moments matters. Every “big moment” in executing any plan, is merely a moment among many that create an impression of an experience worth recalling. Chasing after a goal is all that much better when you anchor it with the ability to recall the moments that made it possible. Whether it’s having a beer to celebrate a deal for the next piece of equipment, grabbing a meal with a new co-worker, or just reading a thank you email from someone you’re going to be doing business with, make the moments of achieving your end goal the things to celebrate; there will always be other goals, but you only get to reach them once.