The Coffee Conundrum

I hooked up with fellow explorers 'syn' and 'zong' (aka 'makewiththebits') to conduct a further exploration of my favourite abandoned brewery. Although this was my fourth such trip into this massive complex, I still have yet only explored less than half of the facility.

As syn and zong were running a tad late, I decided to document their approach into the facility from the roof-top . . . I was fairly impressed how well the fellas blended into the background while in super-ninja-stealth-mode.

As I had not yet toured through the brewery's hospitality centre (read: beer tasting room!), I made it a point to explore this area first. This space was, I'm sure at one point, beautifully appointed to host countless thirsty guests after their tour of the brewery. The room features natural stone and wood materials.

Shown here is a lovely rock waterfall and the impressive stone hearth / fireplace. Equipped with a hot hostess, many would have considered this place back in the day 'beverage nirvana'.

Much of the hospitality centre has been ripped apart by contractors recovering material for re-use so it now appears a ghost of its former glory. Speaking of glory, no golden barley-water was to be found at the bar . . :-(

Of particular note regarding the very strategic location of the tasting room - it is sited directly below the former corporate offices. Coincidence? - I think not.

Behind the tasting room bar are conveniently located washrooms. The natural stone theme is carried through here as well. Very disturbing however, is the horridly garish choice of ceramics.

Toothpaste and tooth brushes were found in the Tasting Room fugly-a$$ washroom confirming my suspicion that the corporate managers occasionally spent the night at the bar.

As the crew pushed on to yet-unexplored areas of the facility, we took some time to photograph the gutted room where I suspect the bottling operation was housed.

For some reason today, I just could not get enough steel girders / 'H'-beams. Perhaps it is simply an iron deficiency.

One end of the bottling room contained a shallow lake. Since it had been raining intermittently for the last several days, I conclude that there may be a leak in the roof somewhere.

When I look at this image, I imagine Gollum climbing to the top of an island in an underground lake . . . weird !

Lone chairs seem to be ubiquitous with these larger abandonments. As no exploration is quite complete without taking one of these 'di rigeur' camera shots, I have included one here.

This was a really nice chair by-the-way. I could only wish to have such a chair for my desk at the Office.

Since I'm feeling like some more black & white images after that lovely chair-shot, I present here an old-skool dolly and a pipe-threader all found (very!) close to the occupied portions of the facility.

The team finally pushed into a yet-unexplored portion of the facility. This large room was rather dark with the exception of a hole in the roof which provided some interesting lighting effects for this small wooden pallet of material.

I should hope that some of the blog readers out there(you average almost 800 per month to this blog)are starting to wonder why the the title of this post is "The Coffee Conundrum". Well, I shall get to that now.

Within the ill-lighted room mentioned previously, one of the first pieces of equipment encountered was this dusty machine used to bag coffee. Some may recall that 'Aurora Beverages' along with 'National Roasters' still occupy leased space here.

As we further explored this space, we identified numerous other pieces of equipment and machinery present all in a similar state of dis-use. Although there had to be several short years of dust and debris on the equipment, an entire coffee process line was operating here; roasting, grinding and packaging coffee.

What was highly unusual about this abandoned production space was the large volume of abandoned stock. There were numerous pallets of un-roasted (or green) coffee beans everywhere.

Several bags had been split open 'spilling the beans' perhaps by accidental movement of the product, by highly caffeinated rodents, or by O.P.P. Tactical and Drug Enforcement Officers back in 2004.

If I had to guess, I would estimate there to be the following volumes of coffee stock (all approximate of course):
  • 120 x 60 Kilogram sacks, and
  • 20 x 900 Kilogram 'supersacks'
This would give us approximately 25,200 Kilograms of green coffee beans. At approximately 80 cents per kilogram (whole-sale import), there would have been just over $ 20,000 of inventory. Given $6.00/1 Kg tin, I would peg the 'street value' (read: grocery store aisle) at just over $ 151,000. Them is a lot a beans - and we haven't even considered the value of all the process equipment yet.

So - I'd like to hear from the readers - what reason(s) do you think someone would walk away from so much investment ?
Please comment here on the post (or eMail me if you must) to discuss your theory.

Additional bit'o'information - Vince DeRosa (who has several properties to his name in T.O. and the Hammer), is C.E.O. of Fercan Developments, the company which purchased the former Molson Brewery. Vince also happens to own National Roasters, the coffee company, and Aurora Beverages who lease portions of the building. After the marijuana bust in 2004, Justice of the Peace Sue Hilton issued a non-communication order between the accused just released on bail and Vince DeRosa.


Anonymous said...

That is the ugliest FUG washroom I have ever seen. Time for a return trip! -air33

Anonymous said...

One could guess that The Pot had something to do with the Beans - Perhaps a bad front Kind of like the OK chineese food takeout restaurant on Bayfiedl Street. Love your blog BTW. And i had money to spare i would help out more. Maybe in future. If you are available to come to Blenheim (we have no snow you see) there is an entire block of old houses and Bldgs getting ready for the wrekcing ball - to make way for what i do not know.

Anonymous said...

DeRosa's interests are even more extensive still and extend deeply into Northern Ethanol, the company proposing to produce ethanol for fuel from corn on the old Molson site.
Rosten Investments, a company wholly owned by Vince DeRosa, owns 9.5% of Northern Ethanol shares directly. 1019562 Ontario Limited, owned by Nicola DeRosa, owns another 9.5%.
In addition, Aurora Beverages, wholly owned by DeRosa, provides Northern Ethanol a $2 million unsecured line of credit.