The brothers behind popular Massachusetts craft brewery Jack’s Abby are launching a new beer venture, Springdale Barrel Room, which they claim will be the largest barrel-aging program in New England.
Springdale — a side project that will allow the lager-dedicated brewery to experiment with other kinds of craft beer styles — will occupy a 30,000 sq. ft. facility adjacent to Jack’s Abby’s current location on Clinton Street in Framingham.
Specific investment figures into the new project were not disclosed.
In addition to brewing IPAs and Belgian-style saisons, Jack’s Abby co-founder Sam Hendler told Brewbound that the company would also transition its barrel-aged and sour beer offerings to the new label.
“Jack [Hendler] is excited to find any style that sells worse than rauchbiers,” he joked, adding that Springdale would brew “pretty much anything that we’re not doing right now that meets our fancy, but the focus from day one is getting that sour function off the ground.”
Springdale will open with 1,000 wine and spirits barrels and five foeders, according to a press release, with a goal of having 3,000 barrels and 12 foeders by the end of 2017.
“We have the space to grow over there as demand is there,” Hendler said.
Despite sharing brewhouse capacity with Jack’s Abby, Springdale will be treated as a separate brewing operation, Hendler said. It will have a separate business model as well as its own growth strategy and staff, according to the release.
All three Hendler brothers — Sam, Eric and Jack — will remain still heavily involved in operations, however.
“This is something that we’ve been mulling over for a while,” Hendler said. “Our barrel program was growing. We couldn’t sustain it in our current space.”
Jack’s Abby is currently on pace to produce 36,000 barrels of beer in 2016, according to the release, and Springdale could eventually account for much as 2,000 barrels of sour beer annually, Hendler added.
“Out of the gate, we’ll have much lower goals,” he said. “As we get better at managing our sour program, we’ll know how much we can get out of it.”
By comparison, Jack’s Abby will produce about 200 barrels of sour beer in 2016, Hendler estimated.
An Opportunity to Grow
When the neighboring building at 102 Clinton Street became available, the brothers jumped on the chance to expand. The buildings are considered separate (the original Jack’s Abby location is located at 100 Clinton Street), but they are connected by a “tiny hallway that will never be used,” said Hendler, who added that the connection helps with licensing.
Hendler said he expects Springdale’s 2017 release schedule to be “fairly limited.” The brewery will instead focus on experimentation and brand building via its own retail operations, he said, adding that distribution wouldn’t be a priority.
“It’s not even on the table now,” Hendler said. “We’ll see how things develop long-term, but distribution is not something even being discussed right now.”
Since its launch in 2011, Jack’s Abby has grown steadily throughout New England and expanded distribution into Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.
But with Springdale, the initial goal will be to generate revenue via direct to consumer sales.
“The first focus is selling the beer at retail within the space,” he added. “There’s a couple of realities, one being that in ramping up our sour program, the beer won’t be available immediately. We’re adding barrels and barrels and barrels [for sour beers], and those don’t turn over in a month or two. They turn over in a year or two.”
Springdale’s timeline for opening has yet to be determined, and Hendler didn’t want to commit to an official opening date until all of the “regulatory hurdles” have been cleared.
“We’re waiting on building permits,” he said. “We’re three to four weeks away from giving a clear timeline.”
When Springdale does open its doors, a 5,000 sq. ft. taproom will feature 12 beers on draft. Packaged beer will also be available, Hendler said.
“We will have offerings out of the gates,” he said. “We have been building up the sour program this year.”
Springdale will also host live blending sessions to educate consumers on the process of making sour beers and offer arcade (likely pinball and skeeball) and yard games (cornhole), Hendler added.
“A casual, fun environment is what we’re going for,” Hendler said.