Historic building salvaged and restored
The original business and building that was located on Montreal Street (what 3rd Street used to be called) back in the founding days of Medicine Hat is lost to time, but the building now in that location we do know was built in 1939.
IXL brick was in it's heyday back then and so the building was constructed entirely with locally fired brick. The exterior of the building has changed little since then, but the interior changed dramatically as fashion and function dictated.
We do know that the building was a boot repair business once, and has been variously a western wear retailer, jewelery store, and most recently a tattoo parlour. Interestingly, there is a coal shoot in the alley... coal came in through the basement window and was then shoveled into the boiler. There is a cinder brick building in back, where the brewery is located that was a later addition.
The first task we were faced with was stripping the years away to get to the brickwork. Lots of long hours and late nights were required to finally get to the bottom of all those layers and expose the original IXL brick. But it was worth it!
We then tore out the false ceiling to reveal the true height of the space. Dusty, choking work, but the resulting space it created allowed us to add in a loft, that early on in the planning we had decided we wanted.
From the beginning we determined that we wanted to work with local craftsmen wherever possible, and contracted with a local wood genius to build the stairs for the loft which are constructed with salvaged roof joists.
Our counters and benches are crafted with wood reclaimed from the roadway of an old bridge, and a close friend and artist is blowing glass for our tap handles.
Speaking of glass... the glass front that had been added to the entrance area when the building was a retail store, was disassembled and we have installed custom sliding windows that allow us to open up the front of the tasting room and enjoy the outdoors, indoors... when the weather co-operates.
Wherever we could we have undertaken the restoration work ourselves, its been a back-breaking endeavour but the results we are extremely proud of. There's something to be said for building with your own hands, seeing whatever it is come to life, and knowing your work and your effort are why it exists. Kind of like the beer, the building represents our commitment, passion, and vision.