13606498_1097662460299499_2529314156510632115_nIt happened on a warm Friday morning in early July, 2016: the long-awaited arrival of the Brew Republic Bierwerks brewery tanks. At least, most of them; the fermenters, liquor tanks, brite tank, and grain hopper arrived that day. The brew kettle, mash tun, and keg washer would arrive a few days later.

We arrived at the brewery early to find the crew already working diligently, preparing the space to efficiently receive all of our shiny new tanks. Butch had been there several hours at this point, pointing people in the right directions and getting things out of the way. His plan had been to tear out the modular store front, creating a gaping hole in the wall to move the large pallets through because they were too big for the door. As it turned out, the double doors were large enough when open for the tanks, pallets, and even the forks of the forklift to fit through. We wouldn’t have to tear out the store front after all.

Our first win of the day.

But Butch wasn’t the only one working and winning early; our photographer, Ben, was also already doing great things. He too arrived ahead of us and was trekking the Stonebridge shopping center, camera in hand, hunting the trucks with the tanks on them and capturing the unloading process, moment by moment. In fact, none of us even saw him until he came around the corner with the first tank, as if he was part of the moving company who was offloading it.

13592248_1097662440299501_4168055630238762742_nThe first tank, which happened to be our 20-barrel hot liquor tank, made its way via forklift from the back parking lot behind REI to our storefront. It navigated the usually busy parking lot streets, past the roadblock that our property manager had set up, and eventually arrived at the front door, ready to become the first tank to arrive safely at its new home. The movers took great care as they painstakingly figured out the best way to deliver the precious cargo, telescoping the forklift arm and tank through the door, and safely depositing it onto the tap room floor. Once inside, the HLT was transported across the tap room (courtesy of the wheels on the pallet) and into the brewery cage, where it was rigged up to a chain and pulley and hoisted into a vertical position. Under the watchful supervision of Butch and brewmaster Darcy, the HLT was placed exactly where the plans called for it to be.

The first tank was officially in place.

Meanwhile, Ben brought out the heavy artillery. It wouldn’t do to just have still shots of the tanks coming in, so Ben unleashed his drone and the aerial video show commenced. He managed to capture the tail end of the HLT entering the front door before taking the drone up to as high as the FAA will allow and flying it over the adjacent building to the back parking lot. From there we went live on Facebook via drone so that many of you were able to watch in real time as the cold liquor tank, was unloaded and driven around the building to our front door, and delivered inside. Later, an edited version of the video appeared on social media that featured the theme music to the Last of the Mohicans, because it’s awesome.

13567285_1097662433632835_3371829921780893326_nThe rest of the tanks quickly followed suit as the crew settled into a rhythm: the 20-barrel fermenter, the 20-barrel brite tank, the grain hopper, and the four 10-barrel fermenters were all placed with care in their final resting places, with Darcy and Butch ensuring that everything went according to plan.

We did have another opportunity for thrilling heroics when we realized the 10-barrel fermenters were loaded two to a pallet, meaning the pallets were too large to fit through the door. But our team of movers, along with Butch, broke down the pallets and harnessed the tanks individually to the forklift forks so they could be gently sat onto a pair of dollies and wood planks (a true MacGyver moment) and carefully maneuvered to the brewery cage to be stood up and put in place.

Total moving time, from soup to nuts: 4 hours.

A few days later, our wayward brew house arrived as well: one mash tun, one boil kettle, and the decking that connects them, plus a keg washer too.

It was a great day, filled with adventure, and it got us one step closer to making beer. And although the rest of our tanks arrived a few days later, we saw fit to declare July 8th as Tank Day and make it an official national holiday in the Republic. Expect all sorts of major events and celebrations to take place on July 8th, forthwith in the Republic, in perpetuity throughout the universe.

13612180_1097914440274301_6749456553231802128_nTo the Republic (if you can keep it)… Cheers!

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