Coming Of Age

2014-07-11-01.41.36-1.jpg
dupont4
dupont4
dupont3
dupont3
Dupont
Dupont
dupont
dupont
Dupont
Dupont
Dupont
Dupont
Dupont
Dupont
dupont2
dupont2

For a long time here at Bellwoods headquarters -- and by headquarters I mean the keg I flipped upside down so that sitting on it wouldn't be so painful -- our main issue has been the inability to keep up with demand. This is perhaps THE main issue within the craft beer industry, one that lots of awesome breweries struggle with because interest increases but tank volumes do not. Three times last year we had to close up the Bottle Shop for 24 hours because we had sold every last bottle. In the Fall that followed, we brewed like crazy, putting what we could spare into barrels and building up bottle conditioned products so that we'd be able to face the summer of 2014 with more of a fighting chance.

But battles are tough and even with the preparation of last year and the most aggressive brew schedule we've ever tackled, we're just barely keeping beers on draft and shelves. In the winter we were able to regularly keep a line up of 10 beers in the Bottle Shop. As I write this today, we have 2... Lots of people tell us this is a good problem to have, but if you like to drink our beer you probably understand that less is not more. As it turns out, with craft beer, more is more. Sorry, age-old adage!

So we talked about our options, analyzed our options, agonized over our options and came together to make a relatively exciting (and terrifying) decision that we can finally let you in on. And please forgive me for what will be an almost offensive array of exclamation points, because I'm about to drop some life changing news on y'alls: Bellwoods Brewery is expanding!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeah-huh, that's right. Over the course of the next year and a half, we'll be setting up a production brewery and barrel room at 950 Dupont (at the corner of Dovercourt). This is but a mere sentence on the screen, but a huge leap for us as a business (and as people!). As is stands now, we're a really small team of brewers, servers, cooks, and retail staff that come together with a common goal of making and sharing delicious beer. Of course, as we grow our goals will remain the same, but availability will improve dramatically. Roman Candle, Witchshark, Monogamy, Bounty Hunter, Hellwoods and Wizard Wolf (and several more) will be brewed on the big system in larger quantities and Farmageddon, Grandma’s Boy, No Rest For The Wicked and other sour and/or barrel aged products will appear more regularly. This in turn will free up tank space at the brewpub, allowing us to do even more creative and unique bottle-conditioned releases.

We might even get desks! And chairs! And a clock that tells us when to put in the hop additions (instead of checking our cell phones and dropping them in caustic (once) or off the brewhouse (twice))! And that barrel room I mentioned? It's gonna be a mystical cave of deliciousness heavily guarded by goblins that we're importing from Belgium! We're really excited about the goblins! To be honest, we're just plain excited.

These photos are clearly the before shots, on record, so that when we finally unveil the new production brewery we can all look back at the humble beginnings. For now, there is a staggering amount of work ahead, but we're committed to making our beer more readily available. Of course, some will be wary of the expansion and claims will be made of our shrinking britches, but we are excited for an overdue growth spurt.

Some of the details you might be wondering about in making this announcement:

- Yes! There will be restaurant/tasting room similar to our public space on Ossington, as well as areas for small events. The vast majority of the space will be used for manufacturing. - We're super enthusiastic to move into another neighbourhood that many of us live in and love. This portion of Dupont is still largely industrial, but we can't wait to provide a comfortable and beautiful setting within that for locals (and nomadic travellers) to enjoy good beer and food. - We'll be creating 10-15 full-time jobs and up to 30 part-time jobs. - While the building has a grand scale to it due to the ceiling height, we're still going to be a relatively small microbrewery even when we're at full capacity. - The building is being restored and brought up to modern mechanical standards by the building owner. We'll be doing the rest (with help from our bankers. Thanks TD.). - If all goes well we'll most likely open in the summer of 2015.

That pretty much sums up the majority of the juicy details we can reveal at this point, but we do solemnly swear to keep you updated as we solidify more aspects of Bellwoods 2.0. To be honest, we aren't quite at a stage yet where every detail is concrete, but some aggressive folk we'll affectionately refer to as 'the media' have been demanding details. In the meantime we leave you with some photographic evidence of a building that a) has played a starring role in our dreams for many months now, and b) will become the foundation for our wildest, most creative and ambitious projects going forward.

So, welcome. Take off your jacket, huck a bag of popcorn in the microwave, and get comfortable. These are the opening credits of what will surely be a crazy and exciting journey.