Brewery soon up and running
The all-Bahamian Brewery in Freeport is nearing completion and is set to open by the end of 2007.
Announced in June of 2006 by the Sands family and the Grand Bahama Port Authority, the $15 million beer brewery for Freeport is dramatically exceeding expectations and looks to be one of the few recent investment dreams to come true for Freeport.
"We went straight to work when we got our licence and building permits. The Port Authority, Customs, and Immigration have all been really helpful in moving this forward and making this new business for Freeport a reality. We could not have had more cooperation," said Jimmy Sands, president and owner of the Brewery. "The Port team, the building department, the environmental department, and the contractors, Frecon, have really stepped up to the plate to make sure we got our project up and running on time."
In September 2006, the Brewery launched a two-month competition to have Grand Bahamians name two new beers that the brewery will brew. The 'Name that Beer' competition gave Grand Bahama residents the chance to win $3,000 by coming up with a winning name for the new beers. Each resident was allowed three chances to enter the competition with two original names to be selected.
In December the first name was chosen and 11 contestants won with the name "Sands," a reference to the owner's family. Since 11 people submitted the same name, the prize was shared and each person received $500.
The brewery is now set to choose the second name for its second new brew!
"We have chosen our winner and you will be pleased to know that only two persons came up with the final name we choose," Sands said. "We will soon be making the announcement. We know that everyone who submitted names is excited and really want to know who won."
Team Sands has been busy working on crucial details regarding the brewery itself. The brewery building is being built by local contractor Frecon, and is being fitted with state of the art brewing equipment from Germany.
"We were very pleased to be able to work with Jimmy and to build the Star metal building for the brewery. Construction has been going well and we have a full crew out every day, to meet our opening date deadline" commented Bruce Silveria, vice president of Frecon Construction.
Brewing beer is part of the German culture and there are approximately 1,300 breweries in Germany,' more than in any other country. The German beer market is strict as the German brewers' adhere to strict purity requirements, which have been regulated since the 1500s. (Wikipedia, 2007)
In keeping with the German philosophy of quality and excellence, the Sands family have hired well-known experts Brewtech, from Hamburg, Germany, to oversee and build the brewery.
"We have designed and engineered the brewery as a first class operation. Only the best for The Bahamas!" said Meier. "Our job will be to supply, set up the equipment and train local technicians to run our system to the highest standards."
"The brewery is bringing in a veteran brewmaster who meets our qualifications and he will in turn watch over operations while training Bahamian staff on the system, a process we have now done in four other Caribbean islands and many other countries in the world," Meier stated.
Sands is working non-stop to make his dream come true and open the brewery.
"With Frecon moving steadily forward, we now are using the great facilities and convenience of the Container Port to supply our needs. Things can be shipped here directly. It is really convenient for our business to have the Container Port facilities at our doorstep. Freeport is lucky!" said Sands, brimming with excitement. "Once we have that in place it's full steam ahead, and I hope to be quenching thirsty beer drinkers in late 2007 with our all-Bahamian brewery beer."
Grand Bahama's newest brewery will be approximately 60,000 square feet and is being constructed on the 20 acres of land located at the intersection of Queens Highway and Grand Bahama Way. A 100 percent Baha-mian-owned business, it will employ about 50 Bahamians to start with.
BUILDING PLANS James Sands, right, president of the Bahamian Brewery and Beverage Company, looks over the brewery building plans with a Frecon employee at the site. The brewery is on schedule for a late 2007 opening.
© 2007 The Freeport News