Our Journey begins over 20 years ago. John's High School friend Jonathan Crowe created some mead for his wedding, he was hooked! If Jon could create such an amazing treat, so could John, and Jon taught what he knew and John took it from there. We still have some bottles of 5+ year old Mead aging in the basement for just the right time to take it out and drink!
In fact the first time we made beer together, Sarah and John, abiding by the first rule of home brewing (Don't worry, be happy, have a home brew) enjoyed a couple 5 year old bottles of mead. That took all the worry away and made us very happy!
We have been making some fun beers for years for celebrations and parties of all kinds. It was at another friends Anniversary celebration when another idea was presented. Joe, Johns Collage friend pulled out some genuine Moon Shine at his annual clambake and started mulling over planning a distillery. After two years, John told Joe that if he didn't start to move on that, he would. And so he did!
Home brewing is legal. Up-to 200 gallons per person per year. Home distilling is NOT legal, not one drop. Not fully understanding the laws of the land, We made a little still and tried our hand at makin' the hard stuff. We are pretty good at it too. We researched a ton, did our thinking, planning and evaluating, wrote up our business plan. We registered Names, got Permits, and found a suitable location....Till the MAN showed up. Made us all in trouble. "People working so hard to adhere to the law are not usually trying to break the law" he says.
Our distillery plans take a hit as it takes multiple attempts to purchase the property. We worked with multiple banks, and had them pull out at the LAST minute due to the age of the mobile home that sits on the land. Finally! After over two years, Sarah is able to acquire the mortgage necessary, and she closes on the house. Her property rental company 'This and That LLC' is formed to own the property and manage the rentals. The Federal Government, and the State Government both have accepted the location as suitable for a distillery. Now we need to build it! MONEY is the one thing holding us back.
Without renting the space, we can't afford the mortgage, and with all our money tied up in the building, we didn't have the necessary funds to build the distillery. And neither of us is much of an investment banker, and we haven't found the funds to build and sustain for a year or more. SO we decided to fall back on what we have been doing all along. Brewing beer!
Beer is more complex to make than distilled spirits. But having been a home-brewer for 20+ years there is more than a little practice. And since the state gave us a cease and desist for distilling, we have been making some great beers!
Now the Nano Brewery research and planning begins. A Nano Brewery is viable! Sustainable, and profitable at even a very small level. Perfect for Boot Strapping a new business! And there are models in our own state for doing exactly what we are planning. IT will still take some resources, but we feel we can accomplish what we need to do.
Septic Design, Done. Fireproof the basement space: DONE! Electric, heat, walls, There are still lots of things to do before we can get that liscence. The town needs to sign off too. Being in the commercial zone of Campton, we thought there wouldn't be any trouble. We were wrong! We need a zoning variance for mixed use. We were able to get the variance by a 2 to 1 vote, with the warning that while we may have the zoning, we will not get the permission through the planning board. After jumping through all the hoops the town gave us, we finally were given permission by the town to open a brewery. Zoning, and planning gave the go ahead!
Strangely enough a month after we had the planning committee's approval, the town voted to allow mixed use as a part of our town laws.
Now we build! Septic is in. Plans in place, Some money's have been pledged, some loans made, but we still have a bit of work to do on fundraising. and lots of work to do to build our brewery!
Build is LOTS of work. So many steps, so many things to learn and do. We like to do, so we rely on lots of smarter people to get certain tasks done. Putting in the beam to support the weight in the second floor, came out PERFECT from superior planning. We are excited to finish the walls so we can start on electric service and finish the plumbing rough in.
Middle of June 2018. It is time to hit the exterior with the ugly stick. The battens are off, it needs to be wrapped in a vapor and water barrier. Work inside continues with insulation after plumbing and electrical rough in. We are getting excited and getting lots of help!
Just Before October 2018. Our exterior is done, with a little shortfall of the live edge boards for the front of the barn. We will need to wait for next spring to finish the front live edge boards. The interior is all but complete and we are working at the little things to be ready for the state inspector and the federal investigator. Almost ready to start brewing beer in our Dam Brewhouse.
We opened the Dam Brewhouse for the first time on December 20 after receiving the 'Brewers Notice' from the federal government, and a Beverage Manufacturer license from the state government. With no fanfair, we had the place packed in no time. So our work is not done yet. The next phase is to expand our tasting room into a brewpub. This will take another level of planing, permits, etc. Nothing we havent done before, but are not in the mood to do quite yet. As of January 2019, our focus will be on what YOU our beer drinkers wish to consume. We have lots of beers to make, lots of new brews to experiment with, and lots of conversations to have.
Look for some brewing classes, some beer pairings, some advanced sensory beer experiences to come in the future. But know that we are not done yet!