February Construction Update

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Mar 7, 2019

As the weather turns warmer, I have to admit that we’re getting pretty anxious over at the brewery.  But, there’s still plenty of work to be done, and work on the buildout during the month of February has moved us ever closer to brewing that first batch of beer.  Aah, beer…

So, here’s a look at some of that progress we’ve made at the brewery those last few weeks.

In our last entry, I posted some pics of the boiler room, mill room, and lab getting framed out and dry-walled.  Since that update, the boiler and mill room have been finished up with a fresh coat of paint…

And that separation between the brewery and the tap room – here’s a pic from the brewery side, all framed up with an added splash of the Rally Cap colors!

And a fresh epoxy coating on the brew pad…

 

In the taproom area, spaces are being defined and a lot of drywall is being hung.  Walls are forming everywhere…in the restroom hallway, above the main entrance, and the actual tap room itself.  Take a look at how the space is coming together.

Rest assured!  We will even have a place to serve drinks, with the bar recently being framed out as well.

As you can tell, it was a great month of February for us at Rally Cap, as we took huge steps towards becoming an operating brewery.  There’s still an awful lot on the to do list before we open – things like receiving equipment, securing all of our licenses, decorating the place, and oh yeah – brewing beer, but we’re getting closer and look forward to sharing more milestones with you all soon!

January Construction Update

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Feb 1, 2019

Time sure flies when you’re having fun, and we’re definitely starting to have some fun at the brewery, as our building is transforming from a warehouse (and at times a greenhouse) to a full-fledged functioning brewery.  It’s fun to see progress every day, and here’s a taste of some of the big milestones that we’ve accomplished during recent construction.

The last time we checked in on construction, we had wrapped up demolition and torn out an awful lot of concrete. So next, it was time to install a network of elements that the public will hardly ever see, but forms the backbone of the our entire operation – plumbing.  In our brewing area, as you can probably guess, a lot of waste water ends up going down the drain. The volume of waste water is much more than it was with the prior business located in our building, so we had to install a large network of floor drains under the concrete.  In the picture below, you can get a good idea of the drain work that needs to be done to ensure you have proper drainage in the brewery.

At the same time, work was being done to bring water and drain pipes to service the taproom and the public restrooms.  Soon we had restroom walls that were looking like this.

Electric rough in work was also being done, with junction boxes and can lights being installed where they needed to be.  We’re not too far from being able to close many of the walls up and look a heck of a lot more like actual rooms.

We also started to see the separation between the tap room and the brewery taking shape.  The wall between the two areas has been framed up, and you can see the openings for a glass double door and a sizable picture window so that guests can see plenty of the brewery while sitting in the comfort of the tap room.

We also have great progress on the rooms that will be housed in the brewing area.  We need to have enclosed rooms to contain our boiler and our grain mill, and low and behold they’ve started to take shape – first framing, and then drywall. From left to right, these shots show our boiler room, mill room, and a really important part of our brewing operation – the lab.

And oh yeah, lots of concrete being poured, filling in all of the trenches we cut, and also a major milestone – the brew pad!

And our trench drain, which is a really important element of the brewery, as we slope the brew floors so that everything drains to these heavy duty drains…

We’re getting there.  Spaces are being defined, and it’s becoming a lot easier to envision the final product.  More updates to come soon, so until then…Cheers!

The Rally Cap Brand – Help from Helms

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Jan 3, 2019

Happy New Year to all of you out there!  It’s time to turn the page on another year and get back into the swing of things, but before we do that, of course we do have one big New Year’s Resolution here at Rally Cap – and our resolution is to serve our fresh beer to the Baton Rouge community in 2019. It’s gonna be a great year!!

So where did we leave off last time?  Ah yes, the bringing the Rally Cap name to life…

When this brewery idea was nothing more than a dream, I always knew that branding would be an important part of creating a successful company.  The name, logos, colors, and other visual elements would be the first thing that our customers would experience – everyone will “see” our brand before they can taste our beer.  So, I thought a lot about what our brewery would look and feel like. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not the most artistic person in the world. I’m much more comfortable working with statistics than I am drawing something or deciding what colors “go together”.  I knew I needed some help…

Enter the creative team at Helms Workshop, an award winning brand design studio located in Austin, TX.  Discovering Christian Helms and his team was truly kismet. As I started to do some research, I thought about the brewery that I thought had the coolest look and I really love what  Modern Times Beer in San Diego has done. I love their logo, their cans, and their overall look. So I wondered – who designed their cans? I was excited when I found out that the people who developed their packaging, Helms Workshop, was literally a few miles away from where I was living in Austin.  Seemed like a sign to me. As I learned more about their work with other breweries including Austin Beerworks, Full Steam Brewing, and Boulevard Brewing, I was sold that I wanted to work with Helms Workshop to help tell our story.

I was definitely not disappointed.  The best part of working with the folks at Helms was the collaborative nature of their design process.  They asked a whole lot of questions to make sure they understood the vision that we had for our brewery and for our brand.  We were looking for branding that was clean and simple, but would somehow make a connection to the community that we were making our home, branding that just might subtly remind you of the nostalgia you had when you first became a fan of your favorite team.  The results, in my humble opinion, are nothing short of outstanding! Christian and his crew created a number of the brand elements you’ll see as we prepare to launch our venture. Let’s take a look at some of them…

Here’s a look at our primary logo, where you can see that that we proudly acknowledge our home city of Baton Rouge.  You’ll see this logo used in a lot of different places. But we also have some other logos that we can use as well. Given that our logo could end up on a number of things – t-shirts, caps, signs, and coasters, to name a few, we also created some alternate logos.  Here are two of those logos – perfect for caps.

And a last one that we think really sums up our vision…

 

With logos done, it was time to create some cool merchandise items.  Ball caps, t-shirts, glasses, etc. are all headed your way before you know it.  Keep an eye out for an announcement very soon…hmmm, maybe even next week!  Also, our official website will be coming soon as well.  We’ll keep you updated as to when we will launch rallycapbrewing.com.

A special shout out to Christian, Alana, Ben, Ryan, and the whole team at Helms Workshop.  Thanks for helping us bring Rally Cap Brewing to life!!

In the next post, we’ll get back to our construction updates – lots of progress happening there…

 

We’re Back!

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Dec 14, 2018

We’re back!!  Yep, Rally Cap is back here in the social media world after a little bit (or maybe a lot) of a hiatus.  But, we’re back just in time for the “fun stuff” – seeing our brewery space come to life!

I know that I promised a post about our brand would be next, but since it’s been awhile, I thought I would give you a quick update on what we’ve been up to for the last handful of months, or wow, a year.  Everyone said that this process would take a lot longer than expected and boy were they right…

Anyway, we’ve been hard at work designing the brewery, and of course making sure our design is up to code as far as the city of Baton Rouge is concerned.  Definitely easier said than done. Our building is an old one, and there were no existing plans – none! That meant having the building surveyed and having blueprints drawn from scratch, of course only to be changed when we turn it into a brewery. There was lots of back and forth with architects and engineers until finally there was a complete set of plans and the design of our space was finished on paper.  We then gradually worked our way through the construction permit process, with our design receiving approvals from various government entities including: the St. George Fire Department, the Louisiana Fire Marshall, the Department of Health, and of course, the City of Baton Rouge.

So, here we are, construction permit in hands!  In the past few weeks, the time finally came to swing a sledge hammer, and it was fantastic to see the first signs of progress.  Never would I have thought that a single hole in the wall would be so exciting…

See!! Pretty exciting, right?? Well, maybe not as exciting to you as it is to me but…

Soon, what was once a small kitchen area and a few offices became, well, a mess!


And, a few days later, that mess was cleaned off and showed off what will be the framework of our main entrance and “lobby” area.

And what is soon to be our restrooms…

There are also goings on in our brewing area.  There’s a great deal of plumbing work that needs to be done, and the first step is a lot of concrete cutting. It’s loud and slow work, but the result is a network of paths that will soon house our drain lines.

 

So, we’re off and running with construction, which means that the finish line is on the horizon.  We’re looking forward to a crazy winter getting everything together in preparation for all of you to visit us this spring.  We’ll be keeping you updated regularly from here on out, so keep tuning in to check out our progress! And next time, the Rally Cap Brand – for sure this time…

Until next week…Cheers!!

So, Rally Cap? Baseball? In Louisiana?

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Dec 5, 2017

Yes. And no.  Good answer, right?

There are a few things out there that really bring people together.  Whether it’s a father and son catching up over a baseball game or old friends reuniting to root on their alma mater, folks want a comfortable and friendly place to gather and cheer on their team. Even if you go somewhere alone, you soon find yourself surrounded by friends when sports are involved. Craft beer fosters the same spirit of community.  Our goal is to unite the two and do our best to create a community where sports fans, craft beer aficionados, and those new to the craft scene can slow down, connect with others, and get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

The name Rally Cap is derived from that concept of community.  When it came time to think about a name, we had a list of literally hundreds of sports phrases that might make a good brewery name – let’s think, there was Zone Blitz Brewing, Seventh Game Brewing, Triple Option Brewing – the list was endless.  But when we thought about the name Rally Cap, it made us think about a true team and a sense of community. Whether it’s little leaguers putting on their rally caps, or Astros fans turning their caps inside out hoping for a late inning comeback, one thing is for sure – everyone is united, working together for a common cause.  And we loved that thought!  Yeah, it’s not a football name, which might be more appropriate here in Baton Rouge, but it’s a name that means a lot to us, one that represents what we hope to create at our little oasis on Pennywood Ave.

So, yep, at Rally Cap we love our baseball, but the name is meant to be less about baseball, and more about our creating a place where both sports fans and craft beer fans can feel comfortable, feel like they’re part of a team.  To do that, we can’t forget that the single most important thing about a craft brewery is the beer, so our mission will always be to brew great beer, and we think you’ll enjoy our always rotating selection of craft brews.  Our beer is “Handcrafted for the Home Team”, and our home team is the Baton Rouge beer community.  We look forward to serving you all!

OK, we’ve got a name, but how do you try to bring a name and philosophy to life?  Well, one small step revolves around creating a visual representation of the brand – fun stuff like logos, colors, and maybe even some cool cans!  Seems like a good topic for our next post.  Stay tuned…

Play Ball!! Or Maybe Let’s Brew!!

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Nov 28, 2017

Wow, I guess this is pretty real now.  I mean, a website is pretty real, right?  Ok, this isn’t actually our “real” website.  That will be launched in mid-January or so, but it is a www, so we’ve got that going for us.  Well, in the past few months we’ve found a home, come up with a cool name (at least I think it’s a cool name), developed a “brand identity” – heck, we even have business cards!  So, yeah, the more I think about it, the more I realize…this is pretty real!

Welcome to our reality.  Welcome to my very stream of consciousness blog detailing the coming to life of my longtime dream, Rally Cap Brewing Company!

I though that the first thing I should do is introduce myself.  I’m Kevin.  I’m the Founder, CEO, El Hefe, whatever you might call it – I’m not big on titles – of Rally Cap Brewing.  If you’re still reading this, I’d love to tell you just a little bit about who I am and why Rally Cap came into being here in beautiful Baton Rouge.

I love craft beer.  I love to try new releases, old standbys, pretty much any good craft beer I can get my hands on.  When I travel, I always look for breweries to visit, and honestly, I guess I plan many of my vacations around craft beer.  I wouldn’t miss my annual trip to GABF.  And if you hang around here long enough, you’ll probably figure out my favorite breweries and biggest influences.  But, yeah, I’m one of tens (maybe hundreds) of thousands of people who can say they love craft beer.  I also love sports.  I know, I’m one of millions who can say that too. But I’ve loved sports for as long as I can remember.  Ever since I was drawing pictures of the Green Monster in Mrs. Hood’s Kindergarten class.  Ever since my dad took me to Fenway for the first time at four years old.  Some great breaks even allowed me to work in sports for many years, a very cool time for me. It’s definitely a part of me.

But the one thing I’ve always wanted to do was run my own business…

For the past seven years, I’ve had a great job, and I do mean a great job, one that I really enjoyed (at least most of the time).  I was lucky enough to be on the project team that brought the L’Auberge Casino in Baton Rouge to life, and later became the VP of Casino Operations at the casino, which was (and still is) a great place to work!  I then spent two years working for the same company running a horse race track in San Antonio.  What a wild ride that was!  But quite a rewarding one and one where I was fortunate to work with some great people.

Hmm, I realize this is getting much longer than I planned.  Time to wrap it up…

Ok then, so this summer, I decided it was time to make the toughest choice I’ve ever made.  I decided it was time to walk away from the secure life.  It was time to take a chance.  It was time to wrap all my greatest passions into one all-consuming dream.  This…is…it.  This…is…Rally Cap!

And what better place to live out this dream than in Baton Rouge?  Baton Rouge is a great sports town!  The passion of its fans is second to none, especially when it comes to the beloved LSU Tigers, and what sports fan can’t relate to that?  Also, just as importantly, I met so many great people during my four years living in Baton Rouge – I’ve lived in many places and became very proud to call Baton Rouge the place that had become my home.

So, take the journey with us as I share our experiences bringing this brewery to life.  You just never know what the next year will have in store for us.

Next time around I’ll talk about the Rally Cap “brand” and what it means to us.  Hope to talk to ya then!

 

Cheers,

Kevin Whalen

Rally Cap Brewing