The first phase of the new Fenton Winery & Brewery location on North Long Lake is complete and the second phase is about to begin.
Owners Matt and Ginny Sherrow opened a homebrew and winemaking supplies store at the former Creative Wood property at 1370 North Long Lake Road in November and business has picked up for selling ingredients, supplies and accessories.
“We are starting to create traffic and talking about our plans,” Matt said.
The homebrew store is open from noon until 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.
The Sherrows also recently received their seven-barrel brewing system and are working on starting up beer production at the new location. Matt believes he can start brewing at the new location in a couple of months. Each batch can contain up to 217 gallons.
“I’ll be able to brew 14 times the amount of beer in the same amount of time,” Matt said.
That will allow Matt a little bit more time to dive into the rest of the project in the production facility.
First on that list includes plumbing and drainage, electrical work, building a keg cooler and building a wall to separate what will be the brewery and winery.
Also, as soon as production is going, taps will be installed in the production facility, where mug club members can have a brew while shopping in the homebrew store, touring the location or fill up with beer-to-go in a growler.
Putting in the winery will be the next step after beer production is up and running.
“We have most of the equipment we need,” Matt said. “It’s just going to be a juggling act to move the tanks in-between production.”
The North Leroy location will remain fully functional during the project, making it tough for the Sherrows to move quickly towards opening the new location. However, they are happy to move slow and work out details.
“Up front, we haven’t done much planning. We’ve had loose conversation and we have a good idea what it’s going to look like,” Matt said.
The Sherrows are hoping to open the lounge area of the brewery and winery late next winter. They will start planting hops, flowers and other vegetation this spring, so it’s ready for the beer garden, which will include outdoor seating, in the spring of 2014.
“We have started to plan for our beer garden,” Matt said. “I’m looking forward to growing some hops.”
The Sherrows are also supporting the Genesee Brew Club, a homebrewer’s club. The club had an all-grain homebrewing demonstration in January and will have another one starting at 11 a.m. on March 2 at the North Long Lake Road location.
“Everything is helping to build the excitement,” Matt said.