Necessity is the mother of invention. At Crooked Run, we not only make beer, but a lot of other things as well! With a tight budget and a lot of needs, we have crafted a lot of items and built out much of the interior ourselves. We re-purpose and reuse whenever possible.
First, we needed tap handles when we began draught distribution. The first attempt at tap handles was to purchase stock handles and design stickers for them.
This proved to be a very bad idea, as the blank handles are commonly misappropriated by bars when they don’t get a handle for a new beer. They just take a blank handle and put a sticker on it. At $30 a piece, we could not afford to lose any handles. We set about coming up with a solution: a relatively inexpensive handle that could not be used for any other beer. On such a small scale, custom-fabricated handles from manufacturers were out of the question. We needed to be able to make something ourselves. Fortunately both Lee and Sean have a lot of skill in construction and wood-working, and have been able to make some pretty cool stuff.
These handles are made from live-edge cedar. The all-purpose handle has the lettering burned in using a wood-burning kit. The metal leaf-seal is fabricated by our friend with a water-jet. The other handles we are making are stamped with linoleum-cut artwork created by our friend Mike. These handles are for individual beers we commonly serve, and there are more to come!
Using the same techniques, we also made coasters. The leaf seal on the other side is a lino-cut, and the lettering is once again burned in.
Our jockey box cover is made from slats from a pallet, painted with a dark walnut stain. A metal strap gives an appearance reminiscent of a barrel.
Our bar top , tables, and shelves were made by our friends at Eco-Friendly Lumber in Warrenton. A lumber mill and furniture maker, Eco-Friendly Lumber specializes in large pieces of live-edge wood. Getting the bar top into the brewery was quite a challenge: 500 lbs of American white oak! The shelves are also oak, and the tables are cherry.
We like to use a lot of chalkboards around the brewery. Sean made all of our chalkboards, and our bartender Daniella is an excellent chalkboard artist!
Sean made our big cabinet for the brewing area. Using a projector screen, Lee and I superimposed the leaf logo on the cabinet and painted it in.
Our flight paddles were a Sean creation. We wanted to design something that could hold our narrow flight glasses securely, and would not tip over. Drain holes allow them to drain and dry while hanging on the wall.
We put in chair rail made of pine trim and Pergo. Pergo is a faux-wood that floats freely on the wall, so it can expand and contract without warping. The chair rail adds to the decor, but also protects the wall from inevitable scuff-marks when moving fermenters and equipment around. The ledge is made from pieces of the old deck at Market Station that we salvaged from the dumpster, sanded, and sealed. The upper trim is made from the cutouts from the wooden barrel rack that Lee made.
The brewery garden contains three kinds of hops, elderberries, raspberries, black and red currants, and a variety of flowers. Bamboo poles give the hops structure to climb. I harvested the bamboo from a friendly Leesburg resident’s yard, cured it with a heat gun, and sealed it with polyurethane, which keeps it from splitting and getting discolored.
Lastly, our newest addition is a window sign. Lee made the sign out of wood from his parents’ barn in New York. The slats are over 100 years old! On the other side of the sign is a chalkboard where we can write messages for departing patrons.
Sometimes having a tight budget is a good thing. It forces you to be creative, to work with your own two hands, and to produce something unique. If you have any questions about these designs, feel free to message or email me! Coming soon: new patio furniture for 2015!