Beer Lab Construction Update #1

We realize that we've done a pretty terrible job of posting updates online of how the construction of our new shop, brewery, and beer garden is progressing, and many of you may be wondering why it has been delayed.

We originally posted that we would be opening in the fall of 2017. And, well, it is currently the fall of 2017 and we aren't open. So, what's up!?

We began the design and permitting phases of the project back in the spring. Permitting with the City of Durham took longer than expected...over twice as long as expected. Our business model is very unique. Durham does not have another single business that operates as a retail store, a bar, and a manufacturing/brewing facility all under one roof in the way that we will, so it took some special considerations. The codes simply haven't been updated for these types of unique business models, so we had to work closely with the zoning and city planning folks to make it happen. There is also a church in our shopping center, so we had to jump through a few hoops with the city and the NC ABC to get their approval. Luckily, the church is fully onboard with our plans!


Once we had our architectural and engineering drawings put together and had a permit to begin construction, our contractors started with the demolition of some of the existing pieces of what was formerly a taekwondo studio in July.

Progress was being made at a swift pace, as demo was quickly completed, and we began cutting the concrete and putting in the necessary floor drains and plumbing fixtures for the restrooms, bar, and brewing areas.

By the end of July, the concrete was all cut and all of the under-slab plumbing fixtures were in place. However, we had uncovered a problem.

When we removed the concrete, we found that the soil below the foundation had been getting wet for some time. And, no matter how sturdy your foundation is, it is going to move and crack if it is built on wet, muddy, ground. Thus, the project was put on hold so that we could work with our landlord to identify the source of the water, fix the leak, and bring in some experts to provide recommendations on how to reinforce the foundation on top of the low-quality soil.

This took a while.

Several months of working together with our general contractor, landlord, a second contractor, structural engineers, geotechnical engineers, and plumbers helped us find and repair the stormwater pipe that was leaking water into the soil and put together a plan for reinforcing the foundation so that it wouldn't begin to sink and crack once we moved in with the weight of our brewing equipment and beer.

Below are some photos of the work that has been done thus far. You can see where they have installed helical piers below the concrete slab to provide structural support to the foundation. Additionally, a rebar grid has been added to help disperse the weight across the slab.

Assuming this all passes the under-slab inspections, we expect to be repouring the slab this week! Once the slab is in, construction should begin to move at an expedited pace, as we'll be able to begin upgrading the HVAC, electric, and plumbing systems throughout the space. Then it's on to framing out walls, finishing the floors, and hooking up the brewing equipment.

We are now aiming for an opening date in late January or early February, depending on contractor schedules around the holidays. We are hopeful that we're past all of the major delays and it will be smooth sailing from here on out.

We'll be snapping some more photos as construction continues, and we'll try to do a better job of keeping you all in the loop of the progress as we inch ever closer to opening day!

Hoping to see more of this happening in the next week or so!

Hoping to see more of this happening in the next week or so!