There’s a new Belgian-influenced brewery and taproom in the works in Islandview. Founders Rachel and Paul Szlaga are aiming to open Brewery Faisan within the next several years at a warehouse property they own at 1087 Beaufait St.
The couple are avid homebrewers who became hooked on making their own beer seven years ago while attending a chili cook-off event at Kuhnhenn Brewing Co. “We kind of fell in love with it,” Rachel says. Since then, the pair have been dreaming up a brewery of their own and slowly moving through the process of launching a small business.
Several years ago, the Szlagas began looking for a formal space for their venture, exploring spaces throughout the city. Their realtor eventually put them in touch with the owner of several Beaufait Street buildings including the one they eventually purchased.
“We love the neighborhood and it kind of was awesome because we didn’t know a lot about it, but it’s historically where a lot of other old breweries were,” Rachel says, noting that the former Pfieffer Brewing Company building is just a few blocks from their address.
At 9,000-square-feet the Szlaga’s property will leave plenty of room for Brewery Faisan to grow. The couple is still in the very early of stages working on plans and a budget for their project, but estimates that they’ll start with a 15-barrel brewing system. “We want to have a Belgian-style focus, but we do want to expand from there,” Rachel says.
The brewery will feature a taproom and the pair also owns a lot to the south of the building that they plan to turn into a patio and food truck park with plenty of bicycle parking. “We really want to encourage cycling to the brewery, since we’re really close to greenways and Belle Isle,” she says.
As for the name, Rachel notes that faisan means “pheasant” in French and is a nod to the many pheasants that live on and near the property. The bird itself is featured prominently in the company’s logo.
While the couple has secured their building and were the recipients of a Motor City Match grant, there are still several hurdles to jump before making their business into a reality. The pair are currently working on securing additional financing. However, if all goes well the brewery could open by early 2019.
For those who can’t wait for the full-fledged brewery, Brewery Faisan is participating in this year’s Detroit Beer Experiment. Earlier this fall, the forthcoming brewery teamed up with Brew Detroit to create “Fledgling Flight” an autumn-inspired riff on a classic Belgian with pluots instead of orange peels and cardamom in place of coriander. The collaboration brew is available at Brew Detroit’s taproom all week long and at the Detroit Fall Beer Festival.