Sandwich Brewing Co. opens after three-year 'labour of love' in west end
Friday, November 17, 2017
The Windsor Star/Mary Caton
They finally unlocked the front doors of the Sandwich Brewing Co. to someone other than a deliveryman or building inspector.
The long-awaited west-end microbrewery quietly opened to the public Thursday, with a chalkboard announcement on a sidewalk sandwich board.
“We’re very happy,” said Nicole Sekela, a co-owner with her brother Jason and sister Carrie. “It’s nice to finally share such a beautiful building.”
Trying to rehabilitate and repurpose a historic hodgepodge of four different buildings into a business that reflects architectural elements of both the past and present turned into a three-year labour of love for the family.
“I haven’t slept in two nights,” Nicole said. “Just worrying about all the little things we might have forgotten. We’re winging it as we go today.”
As Nicole put the finishing touches on a charcuterie board featuring a selection of local cheeses, breads, meats and pickles, she snapped a photo of it with her phone.
“So I’ll remember for the next time,” she said with a laugh.
Head brewer Scott Black finally gets to talk hops with thirsty customers.
“It’s a bit of a mixture of relief and trepidation,” said Black. “It’s the next chapter. I was getting pretty comfortable swinging a hammer here.”
Black, a carpenter, and Jason did a lot of the work themselves, from repointing brickwork to repurposing floor boards for tables and bar shelves.
Nicole used a pile of expiring Air Miles to purchase industrial looking stools.
“I was hoping for a trip,” she said.
The stainless steel brewing tanks that dominate one side of the main floor footprint have produced six initial offerings by Black.
There’s a porter, an IPA, a lighter pale ale and a British red that are all available for sale in growlers as well as a Blood Orange American wheat beer and a beefy Breakfast Stout.
Black has the flexibility to brew on a small pilot system that he can use to develop new recipes such as the Blood Orange and the stout.
“Even when we brew on the big system we’re still agile enough to react to what people like,” Black said. “I’ve got a lot of freedom and it’s a lot of fun.”
The porter has been available for a while at the Sekelas’ next-door venture, the Rock Bottom Bar and Grill.
Having another business to focus on helped them get through the incredibly long ramp up to Thursday’s opening.
“We obviously have a real good feel for the neighbourhood,” Nicole said. “There’s a lot of good community feeling, a lot of pride out here.”
The Sandwich Brewing Co., 3230 Sandwich St., is open seven days a week, including 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.