Very early on in the planning process we had a big decision to make about the grading of the site.
The parcel of land that the brewery sits on will also house 13 Guest Cottages and a General Store. This land, however, undergoes significant elevation change from the top, where the brewery will sit, to the bottom, where the cottages will be. Because of this elevation change and the quantity of cottages that we are building, we were anticipating a large headache in regards to planning.
The initial design proposed to us by the engineers had us stripping most of the 5 acre site of its vegetation, as well as removing a tremendous amount of topsoil. This would create a clean slate for the work-site and keep the tap room side of the brewery from sitting so high up in the air. However, the idea of stripping this pretty countryside of its character didn’t sit too well with us. After much deliberation between builders and our site prep contractor, we decided to integrate the existing grade into our building plans. While this did result in a more challenging work-site for our builders, it cut down significantly on the amount of earth impacted by construction. Furthermore, keeping the varying elevations between each cottage will result in each building feeling like it’s part of the landscape. Not removing so much topsoil also produces other benefits: less of a chance of prematurely hitting the solid granite that sits beneath the hill; and allowing for the brewery’s deck to maintain a nice high perch and a scenic view above the future gardens.
With the “scorched earth” policy cast aside, a job site prepped, and footings dug, the foundations could finally begin. It didn’t take long for the masons to finish the initial block-work, prepping the building for the next step: framing!