Turnaround Update: Round 3

February 22, 2011

We begin our fourth week of physical plant improvements with a focus on wrapping things up and completing individual project components.

The “newer” Meyer filler arrived Friday, and has been placed in its new position on the bottling room floor.Our owner, Steve Furbacher, is working with Brewery Engineer Ron Paradis and crew to prepare the filler for service.Initial reports are positive.We need to install 12 ounce parts from our original Meyer, and we’re finding some adjustments are necessary, though we still hope to have the filler ready to go this week.

Right now the biggest challenge we face is the assembly and installation of our new accumulation table and new conveyors.Dustin, Ron and Steve worked with conveyor savant Garrett Owler to design equipment that will allow the filler and labeler to play nicely together and that can be built with off-the shelf parts in a very short period of time. Dustin has picked up the gauntlet and is working feverishly to put everything together early next week.

We’ve seen plenty of “smaller” improvements throughout the brewery in the past week.The office is in the middle of a major reorganization and looking forward to much nicer furniture.

The new cold room door is being installed today, and will allow for a total revision of our beer storage–with better access to our growing number of packages, more efficient truck loading, and improved product rotation.Warehouse Manager Dave Perrica will have this project completed in the next day or two.

A new rollup door on the warm conditioning room will be installed Wednesday to free up bottling hall space.

Pub and Merchandise Manager Jen Chiappa is overseeing the complete overhaul of our POS and merchandise storage as she finishes the move to her newly-renovated work space.

Our brewers are using the week to reorganize and clean the brewhouse and cellar areas, and to replace the grain auger.By the end of the week all of our fermenters will be moved into their “final” locations, and welder Bob Hansen will be able to install the new sanitary pipework.

A note on supply:It has been our goal to return to full production by the first of March, and we remain hopeful that we’ll be able to do that.There remains the possibility, though, that our restart could be fitful, and the first week’s bottling might not run perfectly smoothly.If so, then we might miss some orders scheduled to ship the first week of March. We will bottle the most-needed beers as soon as we can–first Sweetgrass, then Bitch Creek, all 12 ounce cases, and we will continue to communicate our progress.

Kegs remain in good supply, as the new cleaner-filler has run well all month.

As our project work draws to a close, I’d like to thank all of our fantastic distributor partners.You’ve been exceedingly flexible and patient with us as we’ve worked through this process.Some of you have seen your orders cut or delayed, and we appreciate your sacrifices.We at Grand Teton Brewing Company are confident that your investment in us will be rewarded, as we all are rewarded by our investment in time and equipment to position ourselves for another year of unprecedented growth in 2011.

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