Friday, August 21, 2009

It takes a good amount of cash to make a good beer

Not to belabor the obvious, but it's difficult to come by a lot of cash, and more so these days, when there's less to get.

It takes a lot of cash to open a brewpub, and more so in prime real estate. Thus it was reassuring to read this on the front page of the Falls Church News-Press:

Amidst an otherwise gloomy economic contraction and stall in the City of Falls Church [in northern Virginia], owners of two new business start-ups are making progress toward buttoning up outstanding issues with their prospective landlord to bring new and tantalizing drinking and dining to the center of the City. <...>

Veteran brew master Bill Madden and his business partner Rick Garvin are eager to introduce the Mad Fox Brewing Company in the currently vacant ground floor space [at 444 W. Broad Street].

Mad Fox Brewing Co., Waterford Close In on 15-Year Lease Pact
By Nicholas F. Benton
Thursday, 20 August 2009

The paper reports that a local developer has stepped forward as a new investor, ostensibly with the necessary political and funding firepower:
A meeting was held Tuesday afternoon [18 August] between the Mad Fox people, including [local developer] Ed Novak, and [Bob] Baxter [vice-president of the development company that owns the building] to hammer out remaining issues.

If —among other unpublished considerations— there are "assurances of adequate parking" for Mad Fox's customers, the 15-year lease is expected to be signed by next week. If that occurs, the brewpub would open in spring 2010, occupying 8,600 square feet, with indoor seating for 250, and additional outdoor plaza seating.

Not overly specific as to the food, Madden says
There will be wood-fired pizza, paninis, salads, entrees, and other menu items. While it will be family-oriented, it will be "beer-centric."

He's more specific as to the beer. Madden expects to be able to brew up to 1,250 barrels of beer per year. Doing the liquid math, that's 849 pints per day, or four million, six hundred-fifty thousand pints over the 15 year lease.

One beer Madden —who received his brewing degree at Cal-Davis— will not be brewing is what the paper's owner/editor Nicholas Benton incorrectly described as a "Scottish-style wheat heavy ale."

Madden will be brewing a Wee Heavy: a strong, slightly sweet, malt-accented, ruddy-hued ale, inspired by historically similar beers from Scotland. Over the past decade, Madden's Wee Heavy has garnered 6 major national brewing awards. But with no wheat involved!
  • UPDATE 2009.09.10: Bill Madden interviewed by Falls Church News-Press.
  • UPDATE 2009.09.05: Mad Fox gets its 1st employee.
  • Prior stories at YFGF about Mad Fox here and here.
  • Not mentioned in the article is Maddens' affinity for cask-conditioned ale. He has reassured me that he will indeed offer real ale at the brewpub.
  • Falls Church is a city of approximately 11,000, located 8 miles west of Washington, D.C., in northern Virginia. It's named for an eponymous Episcopal Church, at which George Washington often worshiped.

1 comment:

  1. I was informed about a brewpub project in this region that, between the time the project first broke ground and it opened, the bank had to refinance the project to mandate an extra $15,000 A MONTH in ADDITIONAL interest on the debt.

    Think about that the next time you complain about overpriced brewpub beers.


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