Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Dear Santa, All I want for Christmas is a Forklift Truck.

For the last few weeks we've been like kids waiting for Christmas morning, knowing that big and shiny brewing equipment was traversing the ocean ready to be delivered to our rather bare looking unit. Though it's probably just as well for actual kids that one of Santa's less publicised magical powers include the ability to by-pass customs or there'd be rather a lot of upset children on Christmas morning being wholly unimpressed by assurances that, "As soon as the customs have their paperwork in order, your presents will be on their way". But being more stoical than the average present-hungry child we were able to bear a couple of days delay, well, stoically.

In the end, the stuff did arrive only few days overdue, on a chilly Monday night and the assembled crew set to work unloading it from the two large containers that arrived on our doorstep. (Or arrived on our slightly inclined ramp leading to the shutter, for accuracy fans.) Having never seen the brewery in-situ when it resided in America, I was keen to get my first glimpse of it in the flesh. My first impressions were, yes this is definitely a brewery, and secondly how are we going to move this definite brewery's many heavy looking components?

We'd roped Bill and Ger into service for the night to help with "Operation Unload Brewery" by saying that we wouldn't like them any more if they didn't help. And luckily enough that bit of emotional blackmail worked as the unloading proved to be a job for the full five-a-side team. We'd also roped into service, a sturdy looking pallet truck, who's services we'd secured by paying the appropriate fee to a company who hires out such items. We'd also picked up some ropes, that didn't need to be roped into anything, it being after all, the essence of their existence.

So after the few mandatory quips about how this might be "Trouble", we got to work. As the equipment had been previously-loved, as the salesman patter goes, we knew that we might see the residue of the brewery's previous life. We got a first-hand insight into what had been last brewed, as when we were dragging one of of the conditioning tanks it seemed particularly heavy, and speculated that the cause might just be an unsolicited beer delivery. So just to be sure, we popped the valve at the bottom and out poured what looked like what was once a dark ale. We emptied three or four tanks in this way and thus about 800 litres of very stale beer went running across the yard and down the drain. Normally the sight of that much beer being wasted would've been a source of anguish, we were just relieved that it made our lifting job that much easier.

The basic process, which I can relate from our full three hours of brewery moving experience, is: drop tank on it's side, gingerly lower it onto the ground and then on to a pallet again and hence into the unit. A process we repeated a considerable number of times in the course of the next three hours, the equipment being more plentiful and a lot heavier than I'd originally imagined. Next time I'm going to borrow a forklift truck and use that for moving stuff. I now have an insight into why they're popular with people in the pallet moving game.

Anyway at the end of a hard days work, that's one more hurdle cleared and we're one step closer to producing that first pint.

The next adventure will be converting Irish juice (as electricity is know in electrician's vernacular) in to American juice, to make the equipment work. Apparently it's not quite as straight-forward as buying one of those transformer plugs that are on sale in the airport...


The Beer Nut said...

Let me be the first to say: mmmm, shiny.

Barry M said...

Second! Mmmmm, shiny.

Can't believe they didn't empty the bloody tanks before shipping! FFS!

Séan Billings said...

Surprised you weren't charged excise duty on the beer.