Since we have found our location and have started working with the city and state on any potential layout issues we may have, we have learned a lot. The biggest thing we have learned is that production breweries who do not sell on premise are not regulated by the state Health Department at all (at least in Missouri). This is great, except for the fact we are going to have a taproom!
To meet both health department and ADA compliance needs we must have wheel chair accessible bathrooms and facilities, both a men’s and a women’s rest room, enough exits in case of a fire and many other things involving sanitation and layout. The primary issue we are faced with is the taproom layout. We had envisioned our taproom raised up 4 feet above our brewing facility so that patrons could see the brewing action clearly. The issue is that our ideal layout doesn’t allow wheel chairs to get up to that point with an ADA approved ramp. Ours ramp is 24 feet long and it needs to be 48 feet long.
So we may be looking to adapt our layout to remove the existing ramp and either put a lift or simply build a larger taproom so that we have a lower level as well with the bathrooms on that level. Each change in our plan impacts our HVAC system requirements, plumbing and brewery layout. Our current plan isn’t ideal, but one thing we have learned about starting a business is that everything is a compromise and we will make it work no matter what!