Three and a half years ago, Brass Cannon was a small brewery in Toano started by three friends. Today it still is, but we’re changing the small part and the Toano part. We are moving closer to Williamsburg and upgrading from a 4 Barrel brewing system to a 20 Barrel one. The improvements will mean a lot of changes, but all the important stuff will just keep getting better and better.
The people of Toano and the surrounding areas have been great to us and we greatly appreciate their support over the past few years. But if we want to see growth in our tasting rooms, we'll have to get closer to where the tourists and the main population are.
We will also be expanding our tasting room. When VA SB 604 passed, the law that made brewery tasting rooms more feasible, we had already signed a lease and started brewing batches on our (at the time) new system. We hadn’t planned on a tasting room initially, but SB 604 changed our minds. So we moved a few workbenches around and made some room at the front. We built our bar out of repurposed, wooden pallets and painted one wall with chalkboard paint to serve as our menu. Our new location will have a tasting room nearly 3 times the size of our current one, and will have both bar and table seating as well as plans for an outdoor beer garden area.
In these endeavors, location is key. We wanted a space that was closer to town than we are now, and readily accessible to our guests. After a lot of searching, we've finally found a building that we feel will be a good fit. It wasn’t our original intention (we pursued several spots before this one), but our new location will be landing us very close to Williamsburg Alewerks. We see this as an opportunity for collaboration, and the combined presence of both breweries should be a positive thing for consumers and serve as a greater drawing power to get both locals and tourists out enjoying delicious beer.
Our current brewing system was constructed from used parts drawn from a variety of industries. We started with a shoestring budget and made a functioning "frankenbrew" system, but it was very labor intensive. A new purpose-built system will allow us to spend more time and energy on things like recipe creation and expanding our popular Langrage Line.
We do have funding for our expansion, but after securing the site and the brewing system, there won't be much left. Money from the Kickstarter campaign will go largely towards improvements and beautification of the new tasting room. Some will go towards stocking new merchandise (i.e. the items we are using for donation rewards). Some will go to actually getting us a cannon (we feel a little silly without one). If we get enough funding (stretch goal) we should be able to get an actual metal cannon. Otherwise, we'll be building a really good model.
It is support from lovers of craft beer that have gotten us this far. We hope that you can help us in taking this next step. Our larger system will allow us to distribute more and further, and our new tasting room will allow us to host more guests. The joy of making beer got us into homebrewing; the joy of sharing it drove us to start a brewery. With your help, we hope to accomplish much.
Risks and challenges
As our expansion is funded, the only risks present are those always found in such an enterprise. Building or equipment delivery delays can throw us off schedule. If people decide they don't like us anymore that would be bad for the business. If a meteor strikes, that throws the whole game pretty quick (depending on the size of said meteor).
With all of that, we got our small shoe-string brewery up and running and kept it going for over 3 years. We will make this work, and it will be grand.
- (30 days)