Posted on 11 December 2014
It has been an extraordinary past four months since our last blog post. The short version is that we opened on December 3rd to the public and have been brewing and selling since. If you want to come in, we are open seven days a week to serve pints and flights. Now on to the long version.
On August 1st, we received the keys to 217 W Main St, Genoa, IL 60135 and found ourselves with an empty building, ready for work. We proceeded to spend the next four months and thousands of hours renovating the location, including but not limited to: designing and building the copper, steel, and maple bar, building a custom draft system, building four high-top tables and a communal table out of wood and steel, building a walk in cooler from scratch, building custom light fixtures, and building a brand new bathroom for ADA compliance. Collectively, we estimated that about 5,000 hours went into getting the brewery and taproom ready for opening. The result, however, is a fantastic, unique location that is warm and inviting for people to come in to enjoy beer and conversation.
Unfortunately, the reason we spent four months working on the building is due in large part to the plethora of stumbling blocks on the licensing and regulation front. Our federal brewer’s permit took 97 days of processing. That number would likely have been far larger and cost us far more had we not reached out to our local US Representative’s office and asked for their assistance in expediting our application.
After the federal process, we had rather lengthy delays at the state level due to issues with our transition from Sycamore to Genoa and processing times. Instead of a 2-3 week turnaround time, this took five weeks with an additional month for our craft brewer’s license, allowing us to distribute to businesses directly.
After all of that work, and a quick county health inspection, we thought we were out of the regulatory woods. We were, sadly, mistaken. Remember that bathroom renovation that was previously mentioned? Well, we needed a plumbing inspection before county health would authorize us to utilize the production area. Our first inspection resulted in several minor things and one major thing: our toilet was too close to the wall for ADA compliance. To correct this, we needed to move the toilet and change the toilet handle from the left to the right. To kill two birds with one stone, we rotated the toilet ninety degrees and placed the toilet further away from the wall. On our second plumbing inspection, we were told that now the toilet was too far away from the wall, and that even at the proper placement we would still be 1” short on our turning radius for ADA compliance.
Now, all of this started to delay our ability to brew. We reached an agreement with County Health that since our only problem was the toilet, we could brew as long as the beer was sealed in the walk-in and couldn’t leave the room. After our first failed inspection, we put four fermenters in the walk-in and brewed. After our second failed inspection, we called up County Health and they allowed us to build a second fermentation chamber as long as it could be sealed. We quickly built a fermentation chamber and brewed three more beers. On the day of the soft opening, we still were missing our replacement toilet tank with the handle on the proper side. The city granted us a thirty day permit and we had full approval to operate two hours before our soft opening on December 1st. In homage to the issues with plumbing compliance, we decided to name our pale ale Code Violation.
We are very excited that our doors are now open. We are currently open Monday through Thursday from 12pm to 8pm, Friday and Saturday from 12pm to 11pm, and Sunday from 12pm to 6pm. We are not currently doing growler fills due to production levels, but we are quickly rebrewing in order to start them by the end of the year. We look forward to seeing you in our taproom soon!