As many of you know, we announced back in January our plans to build a brewery at 36 Wagstaff Drive in Leslieville. A whopping +1,500 of you came out to our Open House on February 22nd to check out our pre-construction space and to taste our brews. It was an amazing way to kick things off and we felt such a warm welcome to the neighbourhood that day.
In the months that followed, things didn’t always move as quickly as we would have liked and it felt at times like we might never break ground. We’re very happy to share the news that work at Wagstaff has FINALLY begun! The plan is still that we’ll be brewing before the end of the year and open by early 2015.
When we first occupied the building back in February we got started by assembling an all-star team of consultants, architects, contractors and tradespeople. We’ve also selected and ordered our brewing equipment and have finalized the brewery, taproom, retail store and office plans and drawings. We’ve been trying to spend more time on up-front planning with the mentality that it’ll help things move along more smoothly throughout the construction phase and hopefully save us some headaches and delays in the later stages of the project. Or at least we hope this will be the case.
Our first key milestone of removing absolutely everything from the space was completed last week. We were surprised and impressed by just how quickly three full sized bins filled with wood paneling, ceiling tiles and junk were able to be torn out of that place. Seeing the space completely open and empty gives us the awesome feeling that we’re now working with a completely blank slate. Behind the peach-coloured paneling we uncovered the remains of some great, old brick columns and steel beams that we didn’t even know were there. We can’t wait to restore them and show them off in our little taproom.
As we’ve said before, our plan is to restore the shell of the building to it’s original charm wherever possible and practical and so this week we’ve started geo-blasting (sand + water + pressure) the walls and ceilings in order to remove all the flaky white paint and to prepare any deteriorating areas for their repair and restoration. The team started blasting some of the brick walls today and they are looking incredible so far. The large steel beams overhead are rusty and tired looking, so those will be blasted and re-painted with a rust-proof epoxy to keep them strong and beautiful for many years to come. Plus of course, we’ll have the added benefit of no flaky, rusty paint dust in the beer. The original wood ceiling will again resemble actual wood and the red brick walls will be returned to their original finish to remind us of the brick factories for which the area was first known.
Once the ‘shell’ of the building is complete, next up will be the floors – more on this as the work progresses. Summer already feels like it’s flying by and we’re in awe of the amazing transformations taking place in our space every day. We still have a long road ahead but it feels great to finally have the wheels in motion.
Mark & Mandie