Granite Coast Brewing

Granite Coast Brewing - Coming to Peabody, MA in 2017

The joys of looking for commercial real estate

     As you may or may not know, we are currently building out our new home at 77 Main St. Peabody, Ma.  While we are very excited for this dream to become a reality, it’s been a long, windy, and bumpy road to get here.  We started our journey for a commercial space over 3 years ago. Jeff said to me, “I just found this really cool spot in Salem you should go look at it.” At that point we had no funding secured, no proposed budget, no business plan, etc.  Well, needless to say, those first locations that we found were never going to be ours; we weren’t ready yet, and of course they got leased to other businesses. Seeing these spots come and go helped us to get more serious in our search and get all of our paperwork organized.

     Flash forward  a few years later; we looked at over a dozen locations, some good, some bad, some too pricey for us, some in person, and some over the phone.  We could envision our brewery opening in some, while others we couldn’t see how it would work. We found some landlords that were willing to take a gamble on us and other landlords that didn’t seem willing to work with two guys just trying to make their dream of brewing beer for people to enjoy a reality.  We had meetings with architects, meetings with landlords, and have worked and reworked blueprints to see if our equipment and the equipment we want to be able to scale up to will fit. Through this whole process we were very blunt and honest with potential landlords, maybe to a fault, but we would rather be completely upfront with them instead of trying to say what they want to hear.

     Then we were introduced to 77 Main St.  We walked into this shell of a space and could see the possibilities.  The unit had already gone through demo, so all we saw were bare walls, framing, floor, and ceiling with all the utility connections in open view.  This didn’t scare us, but instead inspired us since we didn’t have to imagine moving walls or changing the layout. Then we saw the basement and dreams off barrels and casks filled with aging beer danced in our heads. 

     Then came the hard part: securing the space and getting approval to open in Peabody.  For 2 friends who just want to make, share, and enjoy good beer we are learning about zoning regulations, architectural plans, occupancy limits, and interior design (which we know nothing about, just ask the women in our lives).  This whole process of getting all the details together, such as: production and growth forecasts, equipment specs, brewhouse layout and more, has taken up most of the past year. And all before we ever had a lease. However, as you hopefully have seen, our build out is in process and we are getting closer to that great day when we get to fire up the brewhouse for the first time in our new home.

Back to the Grind Stone

       We’ve had a busy January to start the New Year already.  We’ve gotten back into the brewery doing what we love: making the beer you love. And we’ve been pounding the pavement scouting for a location so you can easily enjoy the beer you love. 

        Before New Year’s we brewed up a Munich Dunkel.  This style originated in Germany and we brewed it using 70% Munich Dark malt from Stone Path Malting Co (a local maltster), German noble hops, and we broke from tradition with the yeast and used a Kolsch yeast; this style is traditionally fermented with a lager yeast and our Kolsch strain is an ale not a lager yeast.  We are tentatively naming it: Fallen Maple Dunkel, due to the tree that recently fell on our brew house while the Dunkel had been in the fermenter.  Lucky for us and you, the beer was unaffected by the accident.  After we regained access to the brew house, we got the Dunkel transferred so it can lager (rest in cold temps) for a bit and it recently got bottled.  Look for us to be handing out samples in the near future. 

      Recently our mad scientist of recipes (Jeff) has created a few new beers for us to brew. First up was a Strawberry Blonde.  We changed up our normal blonde recipe to use a new hop: Barbe Rouge, which is supposed to give off strawberry notes.  We were happy to have a nice weather day for that brew day a little over a week ago.  Our first handful of brews on our systems had so many hiccups and unforeseen issues that now that we have our process streamlined we get worried when things go smoothly.    This brew day was no different; and sure enough, we got caught up in a discussion with a local silk-screener that we forgot to empty the mash tun before cooling down the wort. We normally try to reclaim as much of the water used for cooling the wort down as we can, to use in the cleaning of the kettles.  Waste not, want not.  Well, there we were, the boil had ended and we had a mash tun filled with spent grain.  Opps.  Time to rush and do something we should have taken care of a while earlier.  Oh well.  Other than that the brew went well and then we were off to Notch for an “after brew” liter. 

      Our post brew beer led us to a meeting with a new friend who is helping us secure a permanent location.  This month through our various friends around the north shore we have seen multiple locations and have had some follow up meetings with the landlords.  We are currently looking at floor plans and doing some preliminary plans along with cost analysis to see if these locations that we like will work for us.  One of the spots we looked at is in a great location and has the opportunity to look awesome, but might not be the size we can optimally grow larger in.  One spot has awesome growth potential with a lot of the infrastructure we need already built.  Another may not be the prettiest, nor the best location, but price can be a big selling point.  We will soon be looking at another spot that we have had our eyes on for a while, but we don’t know if it will work for us or the costs yet.  The ideas are brewing about all of these spaces: how many seats, how big of a bar, how will we decorate, and most importantly how large can our future tanks be?  When we know the final answers to these questions, we will announce it in some terribly ironic fashion.  So stay tuned and enjoy a local frosty beverage as we move forward with our dream of bringing you the best beer we can make.

New Year more beer

It’s our beers’ world; we just brew in it.

        When we started this journey almost 4 years ago we had hoped to be brewing in our professional space by now.  We have been busy over the past 4 years.  We have built our test brewery (which we have been brewing in for more than 2 years), discovered the limitations of some of the equipment, broke and upgraded said equipment, met and made friends with awesome people in the fermented beverage world, brewed some great beers, dealt with infected batches, dealt with frozen water lines in the brewery, and worked through the steep learning curve of brewing great beer consistently.  Through it all we have kept our eyes on the goal of opening our own professional brewery. 

        Over this past year and a half we have increased our pursuit, and this dream has started to look more and more like a reality.  However, with this becoming reality, it comes with ups and downs; some of which we can’t always foresee and prevent, like paperwork, headaches, promising situations and meetings with landowners, paperwork, zoning laws, securing financing, and did we mention paperwork.  We have looked at many different potential properties all around the greater Salem area and introduced ourselves to various city officials, who were always happy to receive our samples when we met.  We soon learned that nothing works as quickly or efficiently as we would like (especially for Jeff) and there are always more unforeseen obstacles to arise. 

        Here we are, at the start of 2017, we made 10 different recipes last year, gave samples out to many great people around Salem, and got some great publicity.  Yet we still do not have a lease, we’re not really any closer to opening our professional space, and just the other week a giant tree fell on our test brewery.  At that time Rob was the only one who could get into the brewery, by climbing in through the side window since the door was jammed shut from the structure getting shifted by the tree, all the while when there was a batch of beer fermenting away in there.  After a visit from our buddy who made our bottling rig we are back in and ready to brew some more delicious beer for all of you to enjoy.

Let’s raise a glass or bottle to cheers the New Year.  We hope you enjoy some good beer with the folks you care about (hopefully ours) and we’ll keep you updated as our journey continues.

 

                Jeff and Rob

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