Construction Progress – 2017-12-27

On December 4th, 2017, it finally happened. We started construction on the True Respite brewery and tap room. Progress felt painfully slow for the first week as our concrete floors were saw-cut to open up access to our sewer and drain piping:

At one point, we had our very own Stonehenge made of concrete slab:

Once saw-cutting was complete, things started to really pick up speed. We got an excavator in to dig out the trenches and open up the pits for our plumbers to lay pipe while the drywall team started framing out our walls:

It wasn’t long before we received approval from the WSSC plumbing inspectors so we filled in all the trenches with dirt and rocks and continued to build our interior walls. This wall in particular may have a very interesting future as a 14′ x 28′ art piece:

The concrete crew then came out and began prepping the tank farm sump curbs and the concrete sublayer for rebar supports:

Meanwhile, the drywall guys have gotten to work closing up one side of each wall while the electricians pull wires for our brewery lighting and power outlets:

Every day it looks more and more like the brewery we’ve dreamed up over the years. It’s a warm, happy feeling to watch this all come together exactly like we’d imagined it!

We look forward to offering more exciting updates in the near future. Stay tuned!

Cheers,

The True Respite Team

Brendan, Bailey, and Kenny

Rubbing Elbows with the Biggest Names in Craft Beer

Savor 2016 was a fantastic welcoming party to DC! The biggest names in craft beer were all around and I had plenty of opportunity to bump elbows with all sorts of people who were willing to share a kind word and some great advice. Dogfish Head Founder Sam Calagione (pictured with me below) took some time to discuss the future of craft beer:

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The best conversation of the night happened early on with Richard Norgrove of Bear Republic as we discussed what could have been a large feud over branding. (This story was covered in “What’s In A Name?“) It was cathartic to stand with him discussing old issues and laughing them off over a freshly poured Bear Republic beer. New friends are great, but new friends made from old disputes are even better. This right here is why we decided to leave a life of being cattle herded from cubicle to cubicle and instead join the craft beer revolution:

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The festival itself was spectacular! The Brewer’s Association did a fantastic job making the event feel cultured and high end while still leaving plenty of room for aimless wandering and tons of beer and food tasting. I especially loved the way the food and beer were presented together as a single paired entity:

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I tried a lot of great beer and dishes, but my absolute favorites were the sweet chili fried chicken and the Allagash/Deschutes Belgian Pale collaboration called Pettygrove’s Chance. This beer in particular was featured at the Salon covering the sourcing of local ingredients for beer production where we were also treated to a very special tasting of a few of the two breweries’ rarest specialty brews:

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All in all, it was a fantastic night of great food, great beer, and great company. I had certainly found my True Respite for the evening, and I encourage all of you craft beer fanatics out there to make sure to include Savor on your list of must-see beer events.

Cheers!

Brendan

When the Train Comes Off the Tracks

Sometimes life can feel like being the conductor on a train. These are very precious times. It takes a lot to derail a train. You’re driving full speed in the direction of your destination. Little bumps and pushes come and go, seemingly unfelt. Debris will fly in your way but you plow through. The train is practically invincible. It takes a force of nature to change its course.

That’s how Brendan and I felt in April of 2014 when we first began planning True Respite. We had a plan, we had a vision, we had a destination and we were plowing towards it, full speed ahead. Then in July of 2014 a true force of nature knocked that train over and we weren’t quite sure how we were going to get it back on track. I was pregnant.

We discovered the news four days after Brendan sat down with my family and explained that it was the worst possible time to have kids because we were opening a business. He calmly explained what we had already decided together: they would have to wait at least five years for grandkids. We wanted to give our all to both the brewery and our kids and therefore didn’t want to have any kids before the business took off and built momentum of its own. Little did we know that as he explained this, I was already 6 weeks pregnant.

Needless to say, the news came as quite a surprise. How would we make this work? How could we have a child while we’re trying to start a business? Can we manage the financial risk? What about the wellbeing of the child? What about our own wellbeing?

After much thought and toil, we decided not to let having a child stop us from pursuing our dreams of opening a brewery. Instead, we could keep pushing forward as if nothing had changed. So we did. (And as a personal side note, I will tell you that giving up beer for nearly 9 months is extra hard when almost all of your free time is spent planning to open a brewery!)

Then the most incredible thing in the world happened: Aidan William O’Leary was born on March 5, 2015, at 10:20 am, weighing 7 lbs, 2 oz and carrying the key to our hearts. There is nothing more exhilarating, more terrifying, or more beautiful than welcoming a child into this world. As of that moment, our entire view on life changed. Opening True Respite went from being our dream and passion to being a way to teach our son how to set goals, follow dreams, and nurture passions. Everything in life became more than it was before.

It all became far more difficult, too. Trying to care for a newborn was the hardest thing we have ever done. Brendan went back to work full time after one short week and I went back full time myself when Aidan was 12 weeks old. So there we were, both working full time as engineers, caring for a baby, and staying up late at night to write the business plan after Aidan went to sleep. It was tough. Sleep was a luxury we couldn’t afford if we were going to accomplish everything. We stayed up late to work on the brewery, woke up early to go work, and woke up multiple times a night for at least 6.5 months when Aidan needed us. It took a toll on us physically and emotionally, but we somehow found a way to power through. We wrote a full 140-page business plan, built and perfected our financial models, selected contractors, selected brew house equipment, met and secured our Brewmaster, and more. It’s amazing what you are capable of when you really, really want something.

This experience taught us so many things:

1) Having a kid and helping them grow is the most incredible thing we’ve experienced. Kids change everything but they are more than worth every hardship.

2) Motivation and drive is a powerful, powerful tool.

3) The train of your life really can’t be derailed unless you let it. Sure, powerful blows can become diversions on the track. They may take you to a new destination; sometimes close and sometimes very far from your original destination. But you always have the power to keep the train on the track.

It’s up to you, the conductor, to choose how you approach these diversions and how far you’re willing to travel “off course.” Sometimes the scenic route can be incredible. Other times, you just have to make sure you have your cattle guard installed.