Raleigh, N.C. — It wasn't just the Boylan Bridge Brewpub that took a hit — literally and figuratively — when a burst sprinkler pipe caused a load-bearing wall underneath the outdoor patio of the popular eatery to collapse on Feb. 10.
Two other companies, in the years for works which will be run by Brewpub proprietor Andrew Leager, a distillery and a barrel business, are dependent on the brewery for their future success.
When the Brewpub was shut down, Leager's plans for the Hargett Hill Distillery and Boylan Barrelworks were necessarily put on hold.
While Leager was initially unsure of the Boylan Street Brewpub's future after the collapse, he now has plans to reopen within six months with an improved patio area and a new event room for hosting parties.
The outdoor deck would have a concrete, instead of a wood, base, which is necessary as part of the renovation work. Leager may also enclose it in glass paneling and install a fireplace, allowing for year-round dining.
The event room is a small space near the back of the restaurant, with a glass wall providing a view of the brewing equipment. Benches fold out from the wall and food can be served buffet-style.
In the cavernous warehouse beneath and behind the Brewpub, the noisy, difficult work of rebuilding the structural wall continues. Temporary braces and scaffolding have been installed to ensure the building doesn't collapse on itself in the meantime. Leager points out the primary valve system for the building's water supply, noting that it will likely have to be replaced along with the wall behind it, which is fractured.
The initial cave-in happened on a Tuesday morning; no one was injured, but Leager was in the warehouse and was "immediately standing ankle-deep in water."
The flooding caked everything from Leager's woodworking equipment, including a barrel-making machine from Slovenia, to a collection of old film reels in a layer of clay and soil.
Although the building's owner is handling the structural repairs, Leager said he is waiting on his insurance company on how to proceed with the damages to his equipment. The films though, he will handle himself.
"I've collected films for a number of years," he said. "I can salvage them."
He plans to clean the films, which include Laurel & Hardy, Popeye and Mighty Mouse, by hand while threading them through the projector.
"When I was a kid at the cafeteria they had movies; my parents would take us down there for Thursday night meals, my brother and I were sent away to the conference room to watch movies," Leager said.
"I'd like to reinstitute that here, have a family night on Monday or Tuesday, kids could come in, watch cartoons. It's analog! It would be a totally different experience for them."
Future cartoon nights and a refurbished patio aren't the only plans Leager's been working on in his newfound free time.
On Sunday, May 1, he plans to hold a "recovery rally" titled "Mayday! Stave Off the Cave In" that will help raise funds for his collection of businesses.
While the burst pipe led to an extended power outage and the spoiling of all the restaurant's food, Leager plans to sell off the remainder of the Brewpub's beer — 46 barrels — at the rally for $1 a pint. Although he had initially planned to give it away, he was told, legally, he cannot.
Food will likely be provided by the neighboring Berkley Cafe.
In addition to the beer, rally attendees will be able to purchase goods such as a $50 pint glass or a $2,000, full-size 25-gallon barrel whose proceeds will go toward funding the future of the Boylan Bridge Brewpub, the Hargett Hill Distillery and Boylan Barrelworks.
For those unable to attend May 1, Leager will continue selling the beer for $1/pint between noon and five Monday-Friday for the remainder of the month. Should thirsty Raleighites manage to polish off all 46 barrels, they will still be able to help with the Brewpub's future by purchasing a $100 T-shirt or a $200 T-shirt/baseball hat combination.
Although Leager plans to eventually serve the high-end bourbons and whiskeys produced by Hargett Hill Distillery (and aged in barrels made at Boylan Barrelworks) inside the Boylan Bridge Brewpub, he said he will still have to through a lengthy process with the state's Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
"I'll have to ship them out to a warehouse, where they'll get inspected, for a fee, then I'll have to place an order with my local shop for however many cases of it, and go out and pick it up with the Bacardi and Absolut and everything else I'm selling."
He won't be able to promote or give special favor to the in-house spirits, although he doesn't think he'd need to discount it.
"The fact it was made here should be enough to sell it," Leager said.