Avery Looks to Grow Under New Roofs with New Drains

Avery brewery

As both a wink at the past and a nod to the future, Avery Brewing will release “Tectum et Elix” this year which, translated from Latin, means “Roofs and Drains.” For 22 years, the brewery has operated out of a disjointed 18,000 sq. ft. facility in a Boulder, Colo. alleyway that lacks proper brewing amenities and has made scaling production nearly impossible. The aging and confined brewing quarters lacked a proper draining system and Avery’s brewers have, at times, been relegated to homebrewer status and forced outside, sheltered by nothing but the elements overhead.

“That place served its purpose and served its purpose for probably a decade too long,” said brewery founder, Adam Avery.

Now, the company is preparing to move into its new brewery, a comparatively massive 67,000 sq. ft. outpost with room to scale, Mr. Avery told Brewbound. Complete with a starting capacity of 85,000 barrels, Avery has already placed orders for additional fermentation tanks which will bring annual brewing capacity to 150,000 barrels. Its brewhouse, however, is capable of churning out 175,000 barrels annually and the company is awaiting city approval to take over an additional 28,000 sq. ft. of space which will allow for continued expansion.

An accompanying taproom and restaurant will comfortably seat 150 people with a patio fit for 85 more. And yes, the new facility in Boulder, which the company plans to open on Monday, will prominently feature adequate roofing and draining.

The company, which last year produced just shy of 50,000 barrels, is currently in the process of trying to sell its old home to another brewery, though Avery would not say to whom. Rather, Avery was more interested in looking ahead.

“We’re already talking about how the building’s too small,” he quipped.

Despite the headaches its previous facility caused over the years, it didn’t necessarily impede growth. Avery grew revenues more than 18.6 percent in 2014, to $17.8 million. In the new facility, though, the company is eyeing even bigger gains, projecting revenues of $24.6 million in 2015.

So how will the company get there?

From a macro perspective, Avery believes the nation’s 3000-plus craft brewers are “working kind of in concert on different levels,” meaning, producers like Sierra Nevada and New Belgium are tasked, in some ways, with bringing domestic drinkers into the fold. Smaller brewers, Avery said, are well-positioned to preach craft at the local level.

Over the years, Avery has built a reputation for crafting high-end — and high-octane — beers that are capable of pulling wine and spirits consumers into craft. In Adam Avery’s eyes, the company’s ability to continue growing within the barrel-aged and specialty niches of craft has greatly improved because of additional capacity and a more efficient production facility.

Still, the company’s two best-selling brands are more approachable and more aimed at sourcing volume from two of craft’s most popular styles — IPA and Wheat beer. White Rascal, a Belgian Wheat offering, and the company’s IPA account for about 65 percent of overall volumes.

In this way, Avery is caught somewhere in the middle: not quite ‘small’ or ‘local’ — its products are now sold in 29 states and Washington D.C. — and still 20 times smaller than Sierra.

But with new capacity, the “quasi-national” company, as Avery describes it, will allow the brewery to drill deeper into its existing footprint with both its core brands and high-end offerings. New market launches could also be on tap, Mr. Avery said.

“[The expansion] means we can possibly open new markets by the end of the year depending on where sales are,” he told Brewbound. “Time will tell but I think certainly we are looking to have a bigger footprint in the nation.”

Avery would not confirm any new market launches for 2015 and shied away from guaranteeing re-entry in any of the 18 markets the company has left over the years, but the hope is to get there at some point.

“We could be in 50 states tomorrow if we wanted to be, but it’s about growing right, it’s about growing smart, and mostly, it’s about finding the right partnerships with the right distributors,” he said.

The company has found its ideal wholesaler in Stone Distributing, the distribution arm of San Diego’s Stone Brewing Co. Outside Colorado, which is Avery’s top market, Southern California has emerged as a viable home away from home, thanks to Stone, said Adam Avery. About 15 percent of the brewery’s overall volume is sold through the wholesaler, which Avery chalks up to Stone’s inherent understanding and care for craft.

He added there are also plans to build out its international presence, which is currently limited to Japan and Sweden.

That all begins first, however, with moving into the new place.

“It begins with roofs and drains, literally in the mechanics of the function – being under a roof, everybody together, communicating really well,” said Avery.

In other words, Tectum et Elix.

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