It's been exactly a month since the photo below was taken. Slicing into the earth was a truly satisfying moment but also one that brought home to me the reality of what we are taking on. When people talk about starting a brewery it's usually in an industrial unit somewhere, sort the floor, stick your kit in and away you go. But we're actually building a brewery. From scratch. It's an epic task taking a bare green field and putting a brewery on it. For starters there was no access to mains sewers, no three phase electricity and no mains water so the basic infrastructure didn't exist. The access to our site was a single track lane, impossible to get even the smallest truck into safely. If you had any sense you'd put the brewery somewhere else.
But that was never an option, the whole reason we are building the brewery on this site is to diversify and sustain the Heaney farm for the future. The infrastructure problems could be solved, in fact, the water is going to come from a natural aquifer directly beneath the brewery and it's going to make excellent brewing water. That's one box ticked.
The last two photos were taken exactly four weeks after I dug the first sod. Impressive progress by Hugh Griffin & Sons I'm sure you'll agree. They have done an amazing job so far - access widened, site stripped back, levelled and hardcore laid, foundations in, drainage sorted, septic and wastewater tanks installed and steelwork fabricated and installed. Real progress.
Over the last few years I've meticulously analysed, studied and stressed over every detail required to bring this whole project together. It's been a rollercoaster of highs and lows so to finally see hustle and bustle on this normally quiet farm and the steel skeleton of our future home, in what was a green field with cattle in it just a few weeks ago, is a fantastic feeling.
If our brilliant builders keep up the momentum then we are on track to be in for Christmas, working on test batches and planning for the new year. Christmas beers in Bellaghy anyone?