Yes, success! We made it through our public hearing on Wednesday evening, and the appeal against our conditional use permit was denied. Big, huge sigh of relief. Thank you to everyone who showed up to support us, and especially those who spoke on our behalf. We appreciate it so much, and wouldn’t have been as successful without you.
So glad it’s over though. Maybe now I can stop having those stress-related stomachaches, and sleep through the night without being waken by panic attacks. But I doubt it. At least now we can finally move past this part of the process, and on to the next bureaucratic hurdle.
I mentioned a couple posts back that our TTB (federal) license was approved, and we received it in the mail on Thursday. Our ABC license has already been applied for, and is currently being processed. Our building plans were approved by the Health Department a week ago, and were subsequently submitted to Building & Safety for approval. Once we get that approval from Building & Safety we can pull our building permits and finally start the build-out. At long last! We’re so close, I can almost taste the sweet wort running from the mash tun!
What a great way to start the weekend…Today I found out that our TTB application has been approved! This means that we now have our federal license to brew beer commercially. Of course, we still need our state brewer’s license from the ABC, and then the building permits to actually put together our facility, but hey…we’re now one big step closer!
The TTB (or Tax and Trade Bureau) is the arm of the federal government that regulates the manufacturing of alcohol and other sorts of things (it used to be called the ATF…). The application process was a bit involved, but nowhere near as bad as the application for our Conditional Use Permit. Basically they ask you a bunch of questions about your proposed operations, such as solid waste and waste water considerations, energy usage, type and extent of security considerations, and a general overview of the operation. Then they do an extensive background check, including checking on the source of your financing. I suppose the reason for this is that they want to make sure some criminal isn’t financing your brewery. The final step is a telephone interview where they go over most of the same questions. From what I gather, the federal government isn’t too concerned about all the specific details of your operation, but they just want to make sure that you’re paying your taxes, and that none of your beer is stolen.
Another bit of good news is that I submitted our building plans to the Department of Building & Safety today. I wasn’t able to do this until we had our approval from the Health Department, so it felt good to finally be able to submit it. Anyway, this will be the final step before we can start the construction phase, so it seems like we can finally see the home stretch! They said it will take about two weeks for them to complete the plan check, but I think I’ve heard that story a few times before….I’ll keep you all posted when I actually get a response though.
Finally mailed out the TTB application today, after many long days (and weeks to be honest) of studying those forms. It certainly wasn’t as bad as the Conditional Use app, but still, there were many different types of forms and long pages of instructions. Anyway…it felt good to get that sent off!
For those of you wondering, the TTB is the brach of the Federal Government that oversees the production and sale of alcohol, among other things, so that Uncle Sam gets his share. The full name is the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, but TTB is so much easier to say…
The only application that remains to be submitted is to the California ABC (Dept. of Alcoholic Beverage Control), but we have to wait until our Conditional Use Permit is granted before we can apply. Speaking of, our hearing is only one week from Thursday! Keep those fingers crossed!