AleSmith Announces $10 Million Expansion

AleSmith Brewing Company has announced plans for a $10 million expansion project that will increase its brewing capacity to 150,000 barrels per year.

The project, which will be financed by loans from California Bank and Trust and money from the sale of its existing facility, is expected to be complete by January of 2015.

The brewery has leased a 105,000 sq. ft. building in its hometown of San Diego, Calif. for the project that will ultimately provide the company with a new brewhouse, cellar and bottling line from Krones.

“It was a great relief to get this lease signed and have this first game piece on the board,” said Peter Zien, brewery owner. “We’re probably in our tenth or eleventh month now of having weekly expansion meetings.”

The expansion comes as the brewery is rubbing up against its current 15,000-barrel capacity, a figure it projects to hit this year.

“We can’t get another drop out of here without kicking some walls down,” said Zien.

Moving into the new place will allow the brewery to grow at a graduated pace toward the new ultimate ceiling of 150,000 barrels — current projections tally 25,000 barrels in 2015; 44,000 are forecasted for the following year.

“That’s kind of the AleSmith way,” added Zien. “I’m going to be carefully watching everything as we grow.”

He said the company is taking a gradual rather than rapid approach to growing because he doesn’t “want to grow for the sake of growth.”

Nevertheless, with increased production, AleSmith is targeting a handful of new territories as well and plans to expand into North Carolina before the end of 2014.

Additionally, the brewery will add to its 27 employees, as it hopes to create 25 positions in production, retail, sales and management in the first quarter of 2015.

A company-issued statement also makes mention of “other ventures” that may arise from the expansion project. Zien said one of those ventures would be a creamery. Zien, a hobbyist cheese-maker, said the company — potentially under the brand name CheeseSmith — would be a subsidiary of the brewery.

“It’s a hobby gone mad,” added Zien.

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