Sapwood Cellars Progress: February
On February 16th the first “official” Sapwood Cellars test batches were briefly available to the public at the Love Thy Beer Winter Warmer Showcase. The response to Scott’s Concentrated (white wine double IPA) and Mike’s Cheater Hops: Citra Galaxy (hazy IPA) was enthusiatic! We got to chat with more than a few people who live and work within walking distance of the brewery. The other Maryland brewers who we didn’t know already were welcoming as well!
At the brewery, the tasting room was our big focus for the month while we are waiting for our brewhouse to arrive in late March. Like most things with a start-up brewery, if you have the money you can always pay someone to do it for you… we decided our extra cash is better spent on barrels so Scott and his father spent a week straight refinishing the floors. That required grinding down the concrete, cleaning up the mountains of ultra-fine dust that was created and eventually applying two coats of sealant. Not that we’re expecting people to be dropping beers constantly, but it’ll be nice not to have IPA stains all over the floor after the first few months! We also bought tables (in need of refinishing) through a local auction website that specializes in office and restaurant liquidation.
Our Federal licensing is still under review, but we’re hoping to be approved soon. The average response time for January submissions is 61 days, which would be March 12th for us! While Maryland requires you to obtain a federal licensing before they’ll grant you a Class 5 Production Brewery license, they allow you to submit your application before. So we did. It required a few additional pieces of documentation above and beyond, like a local zoning certificate, copies of applications of taxation, and of course more forms! Maryland brewery laws are still a hot topic, if you live in Maryland consider contacting your state representative.
This week we posted a job opening for our first employee: tasting room manager! We realize this is a bit early considering our hopeful June opening, but for a good reason. Howard County requires at least one full-time employee has to be a registered voter in the county for the previous two years to grant a liquor license. If that describes you, and you have a couple years of craft beverage service experience, please send your resume to email@example.com by Monday March 12th. A more detailed job description and requirements can be found here.
We got pretty far along with our design firm on the master plan for the brewery layout. Won’t look like this the day we open, but give us a year or two!
For March we’ll be getting the brewery pad sealed so we can get the brewhouse and fermentors in place in April. Liquor license application, finding barstools and more chairs, ordering merchandise… always something to work on with a brewery in planning!