After a myriad of minor delays, construction on Saucy Brew Works
is scheduled to begin tomorrow in the old Steelman Building at 2885 Detroit Ave. in Hingetown.
Owner Brent Zimmerman returns today from Obing, Germany, where he spent last week touring brewing equipment manufacturer BrauKon
and inspecting his new brewing system.
“It’s very efficient, very technologically savvy,” says Zimmerman of his new system. “It’s the cutting edge of savviness. It’s a Ferrari, it’s very well-crafted.” He adds that the system is energy-efficient and saves water.
Zimmerman bought the Steelman Building earlier this year with the plan of renovating it and developing 11,000 square feet on the ground floor and a 1,200-square-foot mezzanine into Saucy Brew Works – a brewery and a pizza kitchen. One other tenant occupies 2,200 square feet of the 14,000-square-foot building.
Zimmerman and director of brewing operations Eric Anderson plan to keep the industrial feel of the former warehouse and factory for water treatment facility parts while giving the space an updated look. In fact, Zimmerman says they will incorporate many of the cranes that remain in the space into the design.
“Our taps will come out of one of the cranes and cranes will hold up the televisions,” he explains. “We’re keeping the building true to itself, but we’re cleaning it up and making it usable.”
Saucy Brew Works rendering
Cleveland architectural firm Vocon
created the design, while Sandusky-based Zimmerman Remodeling and Construction
will manage the build. Hans Noble Design
will create a custom interior using steel fabrication and reclaimed materials.
“Han Noble will create all that stuff from scratch right here in our own hometown,” says Zimmerman.
On the exterior, all the currently blacked out, frosted glass windows on the building will be replaced with clear glass, then painted to mimic the old look, creating an all-glass front to the building. “It will look and feel similar, except with nice windows,” Zimmerman explains. “And there will be an open air patio on the corner.”
While the BrauKon system can brew up to 30,000 barrels in a year, Zimmerman says the plan is to brew about 3,000 barrels in the 15 tanks for his first year. While he won’t reveal the exact names or types of beer Saucy will offer, he'll have up to 14 beers on tap.
“Eric has made more than 60 types of beers and that doesn’t even come close to what we plan to do,” he says. “Obviously, we’ll have an IPA and a Kolsh. Ten to 12 taps will always be ours, and we will probably have six [varieties] always on tap. Then we will have two to four guest taps.”
The pizza kitchen will serve up New Haven style pizza – a popular saucy, thin crust style of pizza hailing from Connecticut. “There’s lots of sauce up to the very edge of the crust,” explains Zimmerman, noting the eatery’s saucy name. “You pick your toppings, which will be as fresh as you can get for the season.”
Customers will build and order their pizzas at the counter, and will be notified when their orders are ready. There will also be an exterior walk-up pizza window for pedestrians to order a slice to go.
While the ordering is self-serve, Zimmerman says he plans on offering a unique and lucrative employment package to his staff. Employees will receive above-average wages as well as stock options, education reimbursement and health benefits.
“We’re trying to create a certain culture with less turnover,” he says. “We want to create some stability through six or seven things you don’t see in this business.”
Saucy Brew Works will also team with Breakthrough Schools
to raise money for quality education for all children in Cleveland. Zimmerman plans to hold a naming contest with the Breakthrough staff for one of his brews. The winning named beer will always be on tap and $1 from each sale will go to Breakthrough.
“Education is very fundamental to the success of Cleveland,” says Zimmerman. “We want to educate people who otherwise [might not] have that opportunity – educate people and get them to return to Cleveland.”
Additionally, Zimmerman plans to partner with a yet-to-be-determined non-profit water and sewer treatment company to promote Lake Erie’s resource and water conservation.
“The Great Lakes and water are very important to us,” he says. “We are heavily focused on the environment because brewing takes a lot of energy and water is so important to beer. The water in Cleveland is fantastic and we’re very lucky to have that sort of resource. We want to be good neighbors.”
Saucy Brew Works is scheduled to open in early 2017.