It’s been nearly four years in the making, but the president of Mercury Brewing Co., Rob Martin, said he will soon be able to move his brewery to a new location.
Mercury, which makes Ipswich Ale and Stone Cat Ales and Lagers, is ready to resume construction at its new home, a space much larger than the company’s current Ipswich, Mass. Facility.
Construction at the new site actually began back in 2009, after the company’s investors (Brewery Properties Group) purchased a former clam-processing plant in 2008. But last May, Brewery Properties Group filed for bankruptcy, halting progress. Martin said Brewery Properties Group is no longer involved with the project and the two have reached a settlement.
With the legal troubles behind him, Martin said he will be able to focus his attention even more on his growing contract portfolio, which includes fast-growing Massachusetts brands like Notch Session, Clown Shoes, Cisco and Slumbrew. Martin said those contract partnerships make up nearly half of his business and the expanded space will help alleviate some current capacity issues.
“The new facility will allow us to take on new contracts and to fulfill the demand from our current contract partners,” said Martin.
Martin said that while he plans on pushing 80 different products through the brewery in 2012, only 15 will be from his own lines (Ipswich and Stone Cat).
“I don’t think our business model is particularly typical at all,” he said. “When I bought the brewery in 1999, we were a contact brewer to start so that has sort of always been in our DNA.”
Martin said the company made 21,000 barrels of beer in 2011, including the contract brewed brands. The new space will be able to accommodate 40,000 barrels worth of capacity; Martin hopes that it will be on line by June.
“The new facility will have a new 60-barrel brewhouse and our existing 30-barrel brewhouse, which gives us the ability to continue handling some of the smaller contracts,” he said. “We will also move all 40 of our fermenters over and we have another 11 on order.”
The new space will also include a restaurant where only beer brewed on site will flow from the taps.
“If you look at some of the larger brewers in the area, they all have ‘homes,’” Martin said. “Our restaurant will feature all the beers we make, contracts included. I am very proud of those beers and I want our contract partners to feel like they also have a home.”
The move may also allow Martin to continue growing his own brands, potentially to some new markets.
“We have some great opportunities with Ipswich that we are holding off on until we move into the new space,” he said. “We really don’t do much outside of New England but we are looking at some potential new markets outside of this area.”