The most common question, by far, that gets asked about Dimes Brewhouse is "When are you going to open?" And we love to hear that question, because it sounds like we have some thirsty patrons who can't wait for Dimes to open the doors for business! It really says something about the support of the local community, and that in itself is extremely exciting and encouraging.
The truthful answer to this question is... I don't know.
??? EEK! HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT, MICHELLE???
Well, the full answer to the question is a lot longer then that, and if you will bear with me, I'll try to explain myself.
You see, Chad and I know from talking to other brewers who have opened in the last few years that the process is long. There are just so many steps to take, and there is no perfect road map to follow. We are learning as we go.
First, there is licensing. We need to secure a microbrewery license from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission. And we need approval from the Federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). We also need Site Plan Approval from the Dimondale Village Council (DONE. Yay!), Plan Approval from the Eaton County Department of Construction Code, and a Food Establishment license from Michigan Dept. Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD). I might have missed a few there, but you get the gist.
We have a general timeline for how long these things SHOULD take, but of course sometimes there are bumps along the way. The major roadblock that we hit last summer was that the MLCC sent us a letter of deficiencies regarding our microbrewery application. We had included everything that the application form and the MLCC website said that we should, but there was a TON of information that we still needed to submit. (Why did the list on their website leave all this stuff out? WHYYYYY?) The biggest challenge was that the MLCC needs to know exactly where every penny that is funding the operation is coming from. We had been under the impression that we should get our microbrewery license, and then figure out our funding situation. It turned out we had that backwards. Since we couldn't come up with the requested info in 10 days, we withdrew our application with the plan of re-submitting when we are ready.
So we have been working these last few months on making sure we have a rock-solid business and financial plan. We think we are well on the way to securing the funding we need, but we still haven't nailed it down and re-submitted our MLCC application.
Beyond licensing, there is the part where we have to actually build a brewery. This will definitely be the fun part once we get to started! Fortunately, we already have a cute little building to house the brewery and taproom, and in the latter half of 2015, we were able to scoop up some extraordinary deals on barely-used equipment... more on that in another post!
I digress. Back to the main point of all my ramblings: we don't quite know when we will open. Our goal is this September. But maybe more realistically, Fall 2016. Or, when I'm feeling more pessimistic, I say we hope to open by the end of the year. I know it is taking longer than we all would have hoped. But don't you thirsty souls worry, for we are determined that we WILL open!!!