Once again, I need to start a blog post with a big apology for my lack of updates recently – things have been overwhelmingly busy for the last 4 weeks, and it feels like I have barely had time to catch my breath. To give you a little background (and make me feel better for being so remiss!) I will summarise briefly what’s been going on, and then you can draw your own conclusions as to whether my public silence has been warranted. (Clue : it has.)
In the early stages of September, the unthinkable happened – we *actually* managed to close a lease on premises. After three false starts, we were finally there, and couldn’t quite believe it. So much so that we chose not to shout about it just in case it all slipped through our fingertips. We picked up the keys from the landlord, shuffled some bits and pieces around, and started to plan the imminent arrival of the brewery, along with the buildout work that would need to happen in tandem and afterwards. (Turns out it’s all happening afterwards, couldn’t mobilise anyone to get anything done in advance, other than putting a desk in. Oh well.)
So armed with the keys to my new premises, I did what any sane and rational person would do - went back to college. I turned up on Monday the 19th of September to join some others starting out on the rocky road of being ones own boss to attend a course which promises to help me plug some of the gaping holes in my would-be entrepreneurial armoury. When I applied for the SEEPP program initially, it was billed as 1 day per week for the academic year, but when the position was offered to me, the format had changed somewhat, and the commitment was now 2 days per week until Christmas, after which time it reverts to 1 day per week. I was (and still am) very wary of this, but I decided to give it a go, and so far have been (almost!) able to keep up, although it is certainly proving to be quite a drain on brewery-time. (I’m a student again. How did that happen? I swore at the last graduation ceremony that I wouldn’t be doing this again, and yet here I am within 12 months. Someone really needs to give me a good talking to.)
After my first week at school, I got to debunk to Dublin for a long weekend to run our stand at the All Ireland Craft Beerfest – and what fun that was! Exhausting, but we had a really great time. Simultaneously, we had to set up a tap for the Funconf folk down in Lismore Castle, where they ran what sounds like a fantastic conference which included a DeLorean, a donkey, our beer, and (from what I can see) a valiant effort to get the donkey into said DeLorean. I don’t know how, or if, our beer featured in this stunt. If it did, then I hope the donkey at least got his fair share!
So in epic-week-stylee, I deconstructed our bar at the RDS on Monday, tore back to Waterford to meet our consulting engineer, went to school on Tuesday, and then got up at 6am on Wednesday to go collect the brewery. (Given that I had also scheduled a quick birthday a couple of weeks previously, I think I can safely say I am too old for this kind of carry-on.) Quite a fun day, all in all, and I don’t think we broke anything (that wasn’t already broken at least) but it took 5 of us most of the day to unpack everything out of storage in Templemore, load it onto the articulated lorry with the groovy little forklift that attaches to the back of it(I feel quite grown up, having hired an artic and a forklift for the day – go me!), and then unload it all again at the other end. I’ve got some pics which I will post and blog about at a later date in a proper write-up about the whole thing. No doubt it will be several months down the line, and will start with an apology for its tardiness.
So since the end of September, we’ve had our brewery more-or-less in situ – the hard part done, you say? No chance. Cue the meetings with plumbers, refrigeration engineers, builders, electricians, customs & excise folk, welders, and who knows who else to ask as many questions as I can think of, but still probably not the ones I should be asking. Factor in school, regular beer deliveries, new customers, installations, and the odd hour of sleep here and there – why it’s a miracle I’m even getting to write this in 2011 at all
“Blah blah blah”, I hear you say, “quit yer whinging and tell us when will the brewery be MAKING BEER!” Fair question., I suppose. My answer? We should be brewing in about 4-6 weeks time. The Universe’s answer? Who knows, but it likely involves Jupiter rising in Virgo when Mercury is in retrograde, once the unicorns have started to fly south for the winter.