Boocha Babe Kombucha

Brewer's Log

Brewery Build-Out

The BB lease was signed April 2018 with a July 1 move-in date. Long story short, July 1 became November 1 in a very different space in the same building. This pushed our opening date out several months but the space was ultimately worth the wait. I actually had made the decision to back out of the lease (as it clearly was not happening due to issues on the landlord’s end of the deal) but in the eleventh hour we negotiated and it has so far proven to be worthwhile.

We were able to be in a superior space for the same price as the original space with a month’s rent free, 200 sf more at no additional charge for the 3 year lease, an existing 3 bay sink, drop ceilings, and epoxy floors (that were re-done).

On Monday, February 11, 2019, we passed our largest hurdle: inspection of the space and receiving our coveted and long-desired NYS 20-C food processing license. After three months of building out the space and getting batches brewing on December 31, 2018 (I refused to leave the year without meeting the goal of brewing in there!) we have finally done it and posted the piece of paper that will allow us to begin selling first-fermentation only kombucha.

Brewing Room Construction

My two heroes, Scott and Pat, framed out the steel studs, drywalled the inside, and figured out a way to hang the drop ceiling. Then with help from my exceptionally tall and useful boyfriend, Patrick, we hung the outside drywall. I spent nights after work and weekends installing R-11 insulation (turns out R-30 is for attics only for a reason: it’s too thick for 2x4…), mudding and sanding drywall, painting, hanging the trim, painting some more, affixing baseboard and touching up spots around the space with spackle and fresh paint.

All three walls we built are insulated with R-11 and we’re 90% sure the existing main wall is also at least minimally insulated. Instead of using R-30 insulation in the walls, I laid it on the ceiling tiles which we then covered with plastic. The plastic was required by the state inspector from Ags & Markets but the added benefit is heat retention. Some gymnastics were involved in getting the far corner plastic secured but with a staple gun and some finagling it was relatively painless and I managed not to fall through the ceiling. We used a basic plastic roll from Home Depot that covered entirety of the room with two passes.

I also installed my first solo backsplash which, while not absolutely necessary, was a satisfying accomplishment and free thanks to some extra materials we had from a job. (I set residential tile in kitchens and bathrooms for a day job.)

One of the biggest challenges was surprisingly the brewing room door frame. My dad had an old women’s bathroom door that he donated to the BB cause and thankfully he came to do the trim on the inside after I was utterly flummoxed. The trim around the door was missing on the inside- which was actually the outside. If you look closely, you’ll notice the lock is on the outside of the door. So behave if you visit. Lest you forget so quickly- we covered brewing room ceiling with thick insulation and added plastic last weekend so there’ll be no escaping.

Finding inspiration for warm fermentation rooms proved nigh impossible as beer is brewed at cooler temperatures with different considerations. The photo gallery should be fairly comprehensive and speak for itself but feel free to get in touch with thoughts/comments/questions regarding construction of it. I use a space heater and an Inkbird temperature controller, keeping the room at 82ºF which has had the brews being approximately 79ºF and 10-14 days of fermentation.

Other small projects included repainting the exterior door and running pex line to our Bunn hot water tower. This actually proved to be no small challenge and we changed the lines several times before getting it right and preventing any leaks. I’d never run pex before so my boss and friend, Steve, owner of Tile & Stone Concepts showed me how and lent me his uber-special pex tool. I’ll add a picture of the finished space later, we just finished rearranging, cleanging, and adjusting the pex line (again) Sunday night.

Jesse HorningComment