WA Breweries Expand to Meet Demand
June 8, 2012 - 12:42 PM-- by Kendall Jones, Washington Beer Blog --
As the popularity of craft beer continues to increase, many local breweries are expanding to meet demand. Today in the world of craft beer you are either growing or you are not trying. Some breweries are happy with the status quo and that is fine; however, most breweries are looking to increase production to appease the public's swelling appetite for good beer. Today I want to provide an update about some of the local breweries that are currently expanding.
A couple weeks ago in Gig Harbor, 7 Seas Brewing fired up its brand new 25-barrel brewhouse. Since 2009, the company has been brewing on an 8-barrel system that is now used to brew experimental, small-batch beers. The result is a massive increase in brewing capacity that is just one phase of the brewery’s expansion plans. 7 Seas Brewing is not alone.
Naked City Brewery
Naked City Brewery and Taphouse expect to receive four new ten-barrel fermenters and two new 16-barrel bright tanks. The new fermenters will replace the existing three-barrel fermenters. The expanded brewing capacity promises to help the brewery keep more beer flowing at its taphouse in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood, which has been under a constant, albeit measured, state of expansion since it opened in 2008. The brewery also hopes to get more beer out into the market.
Iron Horse Brewing
Iron Horse Brewing opened a tasting room in downtown Ellensburg two years ago: the Iron Horse Micropub. Now it has started construction of a new brewery on the eastern fringes of the city. Iron Horse hopes to move into its new digs later this summer. In addition to more space, the brewery will add a new mash tun, making its existing system a true three-vessel system. The expansion also includes three new 60-barrel fermenters, and two new 120-barrel bright tanks. Throughout the relocation process, the beer will continue to flow at the brewery’s existing taproom (Prospect St.) and at the Iron Horse Micropub (Main St.).
Five new fermentation tanks are in route to Chuckanut Brewery in Bellingham. In fact, they should be there by now. Chuckanut plans to install the tanks on June 20. Chuckanut Brewery has been brewing at capacity for the past year. The addition of the new tanks increases brewing capacity by 50 percent. Tank space is particularly important to Chuckanut Brewery because it focuses primarily on brewing lagers instead of ales. Brewmaster Will Kemper knows that brewing a good lager takes time. Typically, his beers ferment and condition three times longer than most ales.
Boundary Bay Brewing
Just up the street from Chuckanut Brewery, another brewery is expanding. Boundary Bay Brewing is taking over some space next door. “We are excited to expand,” says Ed Bennett, owner of Boundary Bay Brewery. “We are eager to increase our brewing capacity as well as our distribution and the expanded brewing facilities will help us reach our goal of continuing to be a strong regional brewery here in the Pacific Northwest.”
And so on...
Some breweries live in a constant state of expansion. Three that immediately come to mind are Black Raven Brewing, Two Beers Brewing, and Schooner Exact Brewing, where expansion has been a regular part of life since day one.
I very likely failed to mention some of the other breweries that are currently growing. It is hard to keep track. Like I said, either you are expanding or you do not want to.