Friday, April 19, 2013

Enki Brewing Update! Construction and Deconstruction

The creamery building--future site of Enki Brewery

A while ago I posted the first official press info about the upcoming Enki Brewing in Victoria, Minnesota.  Since then, I have consistently had about 30-100 hits on that particular blog post daily, showing a continued interest in this planned local brewery.  The brewery is being opened by current Victoria residents Dan Norton and John Hayes.  Dan has recently relocated here from Texas:  the poor guy probably expected summer by now!

Just this past Friday, Dan and Enki's Brewer, Jason Davis were able to join up with the monthly Jack Of All Brews meeting and give us a bit of an update on how things are going with the brewery.  Dan also invited me over to the building itself on Sunday and I was able to take some pictures of the process and show me the blueprints.

Really cool and slightly creepy exterior of the creamery!

The brewery building is a historic creamery that was built around 1917, and has been empty of activity for many years.  There is an apartment upstairs, and by Minnesota law the stairs connecting the residence to the inside of the brewery had to be torn down.  That was one of the first things that Dan and John did to get the building up to code.  Still, living upstairs from a brewery sounds like heaven to me, even if you do have to get in via the outside doorway!  As a very old building, there were some serious structural issues that the guys discovered over the last few months.  The roof has been replaced, holes in the walls and ceiling patched, painting, new windows, new doors, etc.  The electrical system needed an upgrade to handle the type of voltage necessary to run the mechanicals in the brewery as well.  They needed to invest in a huge new boiler, since much of the energy for their brewing system is steam generated. 

Massive new boiler

Local and state codes have resulted in some issues as well, leading to surprise costs and timing problems.  The taproom requires separate bathrooms for men and women, which led to the discovery that much of the antediluvian sewer piping needed to be replaced, resulting in having to tear through up to 10 inches of solid concrete!  Better now than later I guess, but not fun.  The mill room requires a lot of work to make it dust proof (and hence explosion proof!)  With all the structural work needing to be done, they have a tight schedule to get things finished.  The fermentation tanks are due for arrival in about a week and the guys are very excited about that!
The view from above before demo...
After the plumbing revamp...

More plumbing related destruction!

I was able to see (but not taste) the first few homebrew sized test batches that were brewed at the brewery.  Ah, reminds me of my old basement!  I plan to do an interview here with Jason Davis at some point to get more info about him and his plans for the beers, but I thought I'd give him a little time to get settled before I hold him to anything.

Overall, the Enki guys have made a lot of progress, but still have a lot of work ahead of them to get things up and running by summer.  The building is very cool and has a lot of character, which will really make this venue stand out amongst all the other Minnesota breweries.  I'm very excited to see what kind of traffic and business that Enki will bring to the tiny downtown Victoria area.  I know that I plan on having a beer at Enki and then heading right across the street for a sandwich at School of the Wise.  I aim to continue bringing you details and updates about this brewery over the next few months when things really get rolling.  Thanks again to Dan, John and Jason for including me (and my readers) in the process.  It isn't every day I get to document the entire process opening a brewery and taproom!  Oh, and check out Enki on their Facebook page as well for more up to date info.
Future patio where I can have an Enki beer while looking down at the lake!

1 comment:

Brady said...

Very cool, really wish I had the balls and $$$$ to open a brewery. Can't wait to try their beer. Thanks for the update.