“This is not a sexy expansion,” said Joe Martino, a Stevens Point operating partner, who added that any changes in production capacity as a result of this expansion will be “pretty much negligible.”
About half of the budget will be used for electrical and cooling system upgrades, while the rest will be used to install three more unitanks, refurbish its bottle filler, purchase 1,000 new kegs and make other improvements.
The brewery, which currently employs roughly 35 people full time, according to Martino, will be adding eight new brewing, packaging, administration and sales jobs as well.
This is the brewery’s fifth expansion in five years, the most recent a $2 million project that increased annual production capacity 25 percent to 150,000 barrels earlier this year.
In 2012, the company installed nine unitanks, two bright beer tanks for package release beer, a new hot water tank and a centrifuge for filtering finished beer. The year prior, Stevens Point added warehouse space, aging and fermentation tanks that increased the brewery’s capacity to 100,000 barrels per year. 2010 kicked off the barrage of expansions when the brewery bolstered the size of its keg cooler room and added aging tanks.
“People ask me, ‘does it make sense to expand a little bit every year,” said Martino, “’or [shouldn’t] you have one expansion then you’re okay for the next couple years?’”
“It continues to be challenging,” he added. “It’s the fun part of the business. These problems are great to have.”
He said the brewery has total production of 200,000 barrels in its sights, but isn’t racing to reach that milestone.
As far as entering new markets, Martino said future expansion is “primarily for Ciderboys,” the company’s cider line, currently in about 14 states, to catch up to its beer, which is available in 27 states.