The Brewery’s Unsung Hero

Sink delivery

Step one: obtain a brewery-sized sink.

 

We’d like to take a moment to shine the spotlight on the unsung hero in any brewery: the sink.

Think about it. The mashtun gets tons of attention (excuse the pun). The brewhouse is always in the spotlight. Even kegs are constant topics of conversation.

That’s all for good reason, we admit. But consider this: without a sink in which to wash the glasses… well, you’d have to guzzle straight from a growler or a tap. And that would be so unhygienic. (And probably against myriad regulations.)

So, without further ado, we present The Tale of Valiant’s Sink.

 

Hook it up!

No matter how awesome the sink… it isn’t of much practical use without being hooked up.

 

 

We got good use out of the sink as soon as it was delivered–but let’s be honest: the purpose of a sink is not to support tubes and pipes and other supplies! So we went ahead and connected it to all the necessary plumbing.

 

 

 

But we didn’t stop there.

Add-ons

Once it was hooked up, we figured–let’s accessorize! So up went the shelves.

And, just like every other part of opening a brewery, we got the job done–one step at a time.

All systems go!

Our to-do list was about a mile long as we got closer and closer to opening our doors. When the sink was finally installed, water was running–and draining!–just the way it was supposed to… well, it was just so beautiful, we had to take a picture.

A working sink

Okay, it was beautiful when it was shiny and empty and perfect–but let’s face it: seeing our sink (and our dishwasher!) hard at work, cleaning emptied Valiant glasses, is all we could have asked for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doors Are OPEN! (almost)

building door

Check out this sturdy framework.

 

 

 

So, did we ever tell you we had to build two ginormous doors inside the two ginormous doors that lead into the brewery? This is that story.

It’s a story of regulations we didn’t expect, requiring double doors. A story of woodworking, drywalling, painting, and hinges. A story of why we’re even more excited about being able to say (at our Grand Opening 2/9): “Doors are OPEN!”

insulating door

The insulation was a nice shade of pink… but it didn’t really go with our color scheme. So we slapped up some more drywall to cover it up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

painting door

Next step: painting. A serious undertaking when you’re dealing with such serious doorways.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finished
Are we artists, or what?

 

sign

And all that work leads to….

opening door

…GRAND OPENING!

 

…And they all drank happily ever after.

(It’s a good story, right??)

Announcing Brew Day!

It is hard to believe that, after all this time, we are finally about to really become Valiant Brewing Co.

I know this may sound odd, but look at it from our point of view. Up to this point, VBC has not really been recognized as a brewery—after all, we don’t sell beer yet!

But this blog post is the turning point for VBC. Tomorrow, 1/5/13, we will be producing beer (and finally leaving the construction phase behind us!). This is a major milestone for VBC, and we wanted to immortalize it here!

As our loyal fans know, we have been keeping everyone updated on our brewery build, issues, successes, difficulties, equipment arrival, installation, and beer lineup. We hope this info has been useful for those who are thinking about walking the same path to brewery ownership—but also for those of you who just love to drink a great craft beer. We’d like you to understand the sheer amount of dedication required to endure the pain of opening a brewery!

Sure, opening in another city, state, or county might have been easier—but then again, it might have been harder! And besides, Orange is really at the root of who Valiant Brewing is. As we have stated, our mission is to bring a breath of freshness to Orange’s brewing scene. Don’t misunderstand us—we know we have much to learn and understand about the brewing industry; but we do have goals for VBC, and freshness really is top priority.

Yes, for the first time in about six months we feel relaxed, confident, and excited all at the same time. Knowing that we’re about to make our first batch of beer is beyond anything we can express to our fans.

And what will that first brew be? Our Biere De Garde, Veranda—for many reasons. This beer encompasses our entire philosophy: it’s a very complex beer, yet simple, balanced, and completely drinkable. (It’s also nice knowing that it comes in at 8.5% ABV.)

From this point on, our days working at the brewery will only get longer and more challenging, but at least we’ll be doing what we set out to do so long ago: brewing great beer for people who love it.

We are blessed to be able to have such a chance to operate and own a craft brewery as a family endeavor. We are now that much closer in sharing our passion and pride with you. Our next move once our fermenters are filled is to tackle our tasting room bar (oh, you guys have something special coming your way!).

Well, here is to history! Thank you for following us.

Only One Thing Left to Do!

What a week!

picture perfect

Orange County Health inspection—check!

577956_561828167165315_1492580985_n

ABC Brewing License active–check!

blessing

Brewery and equipment blessed–check!

And it’s only Friday! To round out this whirlwind week, there’s really only one thing left to do.

mission control

Get Brewing!

 

 

 

 

Brew Day Is Almost Here!

It wasn’t even three months ago that we were rejoicing because we got our CUP approval. Back then we thought we were busy trying to take care of all the paperwork like applications, licensing forms, architectural drawings, load calculations, and overall brewery layout. We had no idea that we could actually get even busier. (A lot busier!)

When we say we broke ground on the brewery… we’re serious!

The last 1.75 months have been a total blur. From the moment that we broke ground (literally), downtime has been a thing of the past. You might remember that Brian has two full-time jobs, and Kelly has her two full-time (actually, lifetime!) jobs of taking care of our daughters. And taking care of Brian. And keeping the books up to date. And managing the paperwork. (Whew!)

To say it’s been difficult would be an understatement! But we know that good things don’t just simply happen; you need to give it your all. We’ve done that, and we’re doing it still—wrapping up the build-out so we can get to the most important part of the brewery: the beer!

And so (drum roll, please) we’d like to announce our anticipated first brew day: December 14, 2012!! Post that on your calendar.

Jack doesn’t often stand still. We were lucky to snap this pic.

As we were saying, this opening-up-a-brewery-business takes a ton of hard work, long hours, and dedication. But we’re not the only ones giving Valiant our all! We have dedicated family and friends who have given up their free time to help Valiant get up and running.

For starters, the newest member of the VBC group is Jack Thomas, Kelly’s brother. Jack just graduated from Thomas Aquinas College and decided that he would like to start his career in the craft beer world. Once we got wind of that, we thought he’d be a perfect fit for Valiant (and vice versa). We are truly a family-owned and -operated business! Jack has been putting in 14-hour days six days a week, providing the extra support VBC needs to get up and running. We are truly grateful for his dedication and hard work and we look forward to more of the same (kidding!).

Here’s Rick (inside the cold room) hard at work with one of our many other assistants.

Another person that must be mentioned is our good friend Rick Belcher. His countless hours of support and devotion leave us speechless. Rick has a family and a full-time job as one of the best photographers in Orange County, but he still manages to spend his evenings with us at the brewery doing whatever he can to support our opening. We are truly indebted to him and his family. (If you are ever in need of a photographer, you’ve got to check out Rick’s website and give him a call. Weddings are his specialty, but really, anything he takes a picture of comes out amazing.)

Jack and Rick have been fabulous—and they’re just the tip of the iceberg. We’ve gotten great support from our families, our local homebrew group, other microbreweries, contractors, our neighbors here in our Orange location, and even inspectors. (It takes a village to build a brewery, obviously!) Their support has allowed us to build Valiant exactly as we visualized it, rather than turning everything over to someone else to manage… and not getting the brewery we’d envisioned.

We hope you’ll appreciate all this hard work when you come to visit Valiant Brewing. We’re excited to show off our handiwork— as well as our masterpieces: the beer!

Speaking of Thanksgiving…

In honor of Thanksgiving, we wanted to take some blog space to note some of the things for which we’re really thankful.

  • Beer. If that didn’t exist, opening a brewery would be WAY tougher. (On the other hand, regulations might be way easier to navigate. Maybe we should think this one through…)

 

  • People who know their stuff: electricians, plumbers, woodworkers, truck-drivers, brewhouse constructors, floor-epoxiers… Without all their hard work, we would never be able to do the work we love so much!

 

 


Progress. Even though there have been periods over the past year when we wondered if we would ever see the day Valiant would be serving thirsty people beer… by this point, we can look back and see how far we’ve come. Equipment is installed. Bourbon barrels are ready. Walls and floors look spectacular. We’ve still got a way to go, but seeing all we’ve already accomplished gives us energy to attack the rest of the to-do list.

 

 

 

  • You guys. Thank you for your support, your interest, your excitement about Valiant… and, of course, your practically unquenchable thirst.

 

  • Did we mention beer?
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