In January, we declared 2012 as the Year of the Beer due to all of the microbrewery projects in the works. We’ve watched several of them open up and start selling their product, but one of the first to be announced seems to be taking the longest to open. Nearly a year ago, Born Brewing was announced as coming soon to Italian Village to much rejoicing, but the outside of the building still looks a bit rough around the edges.
We recently spoke with Collin Castore of Seventh Son to find out what’s going on inside the new brewery and when we might be able to expect their products to hit the drafts at our local bars.
Q: A lot has changed since we last spoke nearly a year ago, including the name of the Brewery. Can you give us an update on what’s occurred in the past year?
A: The last year has been a busy one. We have been working on recipes, tweeking our plans for the space and dealing with a lot of zoning and licensing issues. The city of Columbus was confused by our concept since we are a mixed use space but not in a traditional sense. We have some manufacturing usage because we make beer but also some assembly usage because of the event space; at the same time we are not a fully functioning 24/7 brewpub and do not have a kitchen in the space. All of this led to a lot of back and forth about parking, occupancy, grease traps, etc. We finally received the go ahead in late spring and have been working as quickly as possible since then to get things up and running.
Our name change was a function of applying for and not receiving a federal trademark on Born (this was because Budweiser has the trademark through Rolling Rock on the tagline “Born small town”). Budweiser never threatened us directly and it may not have ever become an issue; but Bud has demonstrated a consistently litigious spirit with regards to small brewers (they sued Dogfish over the word “hop” in aprihop). So we decided to do a pre-emptive name change to Seventh Son Brewing.
Our first beer we were going to distribute was always going to be our Seventh Son American Strong Ale and in the past year we have grown pretty attached to our little guy so it sort of seemed natural to become Seventh Son Brewing (in the same vein as Kalamazoo brewing became Bells after the success of Bells Two Hearted). Nothing is luckier then the Seventh Son of a Seventh Son and the name recalls everything from turn of the century folklore and early American lit to Iron Maiden so it works for us on a lot of different levels. The change allowed each of the partners to find their own meaning in the name while still recalling the classic aesthetic and hand-crafted spirit that we would like to embody.
Q: When the Brewery was first announced last August, it was one of the first of a new crop of microbreweries emerging in Columbus. There’s been a half-dozen to follow in the year since then. Has that impacted the concept of Seventh Son in any way?
A: There is a little part of me that wishes we were first out of the gate but I am actually really happy that we are taking our time with the project and really really happy that there are other breweries opening up. In the past few years, from Colorado to Oregon, we have seen that cities that develop a healthy craft beer brewery base and culture develop a healthy competitive and cooperative spirit that helps all of the breweries in those cities to thrive. I think that Columbus has potential to be the Midwest destination city for craft beer lovers. This will happen when we have several successful and innovative breweries and when the restaurant/bar community embraces craft beer as a crucial pairing/drinking option; both of these things are well on their way with the explosion of Columbus craft in the last year.
Q: Seventh Son has turned to Kickstarter to help raise funds for the build out of the new space. Can you tell us a bit about that decision to seek crowd funding?
A: It was based on dollars of course but also on wanting to get people actively involved. We love that there will be a few hundred people who will be able to say that they helped us to start the brewery. I have also noticed from personal experience that we are more likely to get people to learn about Seventh Son when we tell them about the Kickstarter and ask for their help then when we simply mention our website floating in cyberspace. In a more real world sense, the length of the project and the slightly increased scope has meant that this last bit of funding is needed to provide some critical necessities that will help us to make better beer and provide a better space. We do need the help and Kickstarter will let us give a little piece back to the people who provide it.
Q: If the Kickstarter campaign doesn’t go through, do you have backup plans for finishing the Brewery space?
A: We will finish the project, but we can just finish it better with the Kickstarter. If the Kickstarter falls through it will take a bit longer to finish out the patio and event space but we will still have beer. The first years of any business are very very difficult and getting the Kickstarter so that we can take care of some of these projects before we open is very important to us.
Q: What is your current timeline and when do you plan to be open to the public?
A: We were saying July and now we are saying August… even though some of the progress may not be evident from the outside we are getting very close. The HVAC vents have been run, the electric has been run inside, most of the plumbing is finished, doors and windows should be installed by the end of the week, the brewery floor has been poured and drains have been installed. We are moving into finish carpentry, drywall and exterior details. Our equipment has been bought and is waiting patiently for us in Granville at our contractors warehouse.
Q: Any other upcoming events or milestones that we should know about? Or are there other ways that people can help support the project?
A: The next event and milestone will be when we finally get this brewery open! Aside from that, the Summer Flea is coming up at our space on Sunday, the 5th of August and we are hoping to be able to participate in the North Market Microbrew fest in September (which might even be bigger this year.) The best way for people to support us is to to get out and buy all of the local brews from Columbus Brewing to Zauber at your local bars and restaurants and give honest and helpful feedback to the brewers. And of course, go pledege funds to our Kickstarter campaign!
More information can be found online at www.seventhsonbrewing.com.