DIY Farm Brewery: Part 1 - Converting the Barn

We instantly fell in love with the old barn and decided to make that the heart of the tasting room and brewery. Converting this 1820’s structure was the biggest project we had ever taken on but we were fueled by the potential of the space and the enthusiasm to build our own business. It is probably better that we were naïve to the extreme workload and constant problem solving that was ahead of us or else we might never had begun.

The newer L-shaped addition that was built onto the barn (and used as shelter for Alpacas by the previous owners) later became the brewery. It was a shell, with dirt floors so we needed to have concrete poured, spray insulation installed, and floor drains and plumbing added, propane and heaters were installed, and we also upgraded the electrical to finally finish the space. A lot of time and energy went into the flow of the space so that it is as efficient as our manual operation can be.

Each day met us with numerous challenges, all significant and diverse and often unplanned for, while we tried to move forward towards our opening deadline. Over the summer, with the help of friends and family, we started painting the house and barn. Picking the color was easier than many of the other decisions we were faced with. We both remember feeling really overwhelmed a lot during that time and painting the house provided some instant satisfaction. We could see the results immediately and the sense of accomplishment helped to clear our heads. We were so exhausted at the end of each day that sleep came easy.

During this time we also started to revision the uses of the outbuildings and spaces available to us. One transformation meant moving the former Alpaca store and turning it into a building for our grain mill and grain storage. We often joke that we don’t remember what our lives were like pre-tractor. We couldn’t have done any of this without our good friend, John Deere.

Speaking of the tractor, I forgot to mention the trenches. To save money any chance we got we did as much work as possible on our own and this included trench digging. John dug three ditches: one to connect the barn to the sewer, one run out to the second well we had dug, and the last for underground electrical. The rocks unearthed during those jobs became the basis for a fire pit and other projects around the farm.

When the weather started getting cold we moved inside the barn to begin the transformation of the tasting room. The space you now sit in to enjoy our farmhouse ales was once constructed of many stalls and small rooms that we opened up. A bar area was built, bathrooms added on and finished, and a wood pellet stove was installed to make it super cozy inside.

This phase of the renovation project took us about a year. While it is a constant work in progress, and we are never short of projects to finish, we are pretty proud of this little space and hope you get to visit us someday!