Just days after Brew Hub officially opened the doors to its Lakeland, Fla. facility, the “partner brewing” venture today announced its next location: St. Louis, Mo.
The company, which was founded by former Anheuser-Busch executive Tim Schoen, is backed by billionaire Ron Burkle, and is led by a team of notable beer industry experts, plans to begin construction on a $20 million, 200,000-barrel craft brewery in Chesterfield, Mo. later this year.
The new location, Brew Hub’s second in what will one day be a network of five contract brewing facilities, will also serve as the company’s corporate headquarters.
So what drew the company to the backyard of the world’s largest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev?
Logistical advantages, a budding craft beer culture, and a population center made up of talented sales professionals and engineers, said Schoen.
“The overall makeup of the craft scene here is very interesting,” he said. “There are a lot of real up-and-coming craft brewers in the market that are showing great growth and innovation.”
Just as it did in Florida, when the company partnered with Tampa’s Cigar City and Orlando’s Orange Blossom Pilsner, Schoen said Brew Hub plans to tap local and Midwest craft brewers for partner brewing opportunities in St. Louis.
“We have a dialogue going back and forth with most of the brewers in this region,” he said. “There are several within a 350-mile radius that have reached out to us as well.”
Each one of those partnerships requires a three-year service agreement. Announcements regarding new partnership arrangements as well as production expansions of Brew Hub’s existing clients will be made in the coming months, Schoen said.
While specific plans have not been finalized, Brew Hub is already having conversations with Cigar City about expanding both the company’s brewing and distribution to the Midwest, Schoen said.
“Now that we have announced St. Louis, the process of partnership discussions will speed up,” he said.
Brew Hub is seeking state and local tax incentives for the new facility, which will feature a 3,000-sq. ft. tasting room and biergarten as well as expanded office space. Still, Brew Hub St. Louis will look and function much like company’s first location in Florida, Schoen said.
Located off Interstate-64, the new space will have an initial capacity of 75,000 barrels and is capable of being expanded to 200,000 barrels annually.
“The template, in terms of size, is going to be similar,” said Schoen. “It is going to be at least the size of Florida and could possibly be larger.”
The company plans to hire 55 people for positions in brewing, operations and for its tasting room.
“Brew Hub’s decision to build their second craft brewery in Chesterfield is a huge economic win for the entire St. Louis region,” Denny Coleman, the CEO of the St. Louis economic development partnership, said in a press statement.
Brew Hub is spending $100 million to open five brewery locations by 2020 and all of those projects are currently on budget, said Schoen. The company is eyeing potential sites in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Texas and the West Coast for its remaining three locations.
An official announcement regarding a planned third Brew Hub location in either the Northeast or Southwest is expected within the next six months.