How a Brookland Warehouse Became a Brewery

  • March 29th 2019

by Nena Perry-Brown

Right Proper Brewing Company Brookland Production House. Click to enlarge.

A recent National Building Museum tour of the Right Proper brewing facility in Brookland offered a glimpse at how DC buildings can be adaptively reused.

The Right Proper Brewing Company Brookland Production House + Tasting Room is located at 920 Girard Street NE (map) on a PDR-zoned (production, distribution and repair) block abutting the railroad tracks. The warehouse was originally built as a bakery after World War II, and most recently housed an auto shop.

Consequently, when Right Proper purchased the property, all the concrete flooring had to be removed and replaced. The current beams and trusses were already in place, as were the two-inch water pipes that are ideal for a beer production facility. A large garage door facing the alley loading dock was replaced, enabling the company to drive forklifts with pallets of product directly into the at-grade facility and allow a mobile canning company to drive right in every other week.

Some of the barrel conicles and foudres where beer is fermented. Click to enlarge.

The location and siting of the warehouse enables the brewery to maximize its energy efficiency, a point of pride for co-founder Thor Cheston, who noted that it takes five glasses of water to produce one glass of beer. The building is south-facing and has a flat roof which is covered in solar panels. In 2017, the warehouse consumed 78,000 kWh of energy and its solar installation produced 76,000 kWh. The brewery's sustainability extends beyond just the infrastructure, as they also give their spent grain (from which liquid is strained to be fermented into beer) to Bellair Farm to be fed to their pigs and livestock. 

About 90 percent of its roughly 6,500 square-foot building is occupied by the small brewing operation, producing around 5,000 barrels per year. For comparison, that production is about five times more than what is brewed at the company's original Shaw outpost.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/how-a-brookland-warehouse-became-a-brewery/15197.

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