Expansion Imminent for Craft Brews in High Demand

Craft beer drinkers are a devoted bunch.

They’ll travel far and wide for a case of Heady Topper, The Alchemist’s double IPA that is only distributed a short distance from the Waterbury, Vt. brewery where it’s produced. They’ll wait in long lines for Goose Island’s Bourbon County barrel-aged beers that only come around once a year and command a premium price. And for others, Dark Lord Day is the ultimate beer geek pilgrimage. It’s the day that Three Floyds Brewing releases a limited supply of the barrel-aged imperial stout of the same name.

While these breweries boast serious beer geek street cred, they’ve also always been characterized by the scarcity that accompanies limited distribution and production. But now, all three companies are poised for expansions that could boost the availability for each of their marquee brands.

In Munster, Ind., Three Floyds Brewing Co. is seeking a 5-year tax abatement from the town so it can take on a $7.5 million expansion project that would nearly double the brewery’s size from 30,000 to 56,000 sq. ft.

The project would result in a new bottling and packaging line, additional warehouse and basement storage space, a tasting room, carry-out counter and other employee amenities, reports NWI Times. The brewery would also add a distillery and start producing spirits.

“Munster is world famous for Three Floyds,” Town Council President John Reed told the website. “It’s the kind of business you want to help any way you can.”

If approved, Three Floyds would break ground on the project, located on just north of its current brewery, this summer, head brewer Chris Boggess told the website.

Meanwhile, Chicago’s Goose Island (which was acquired by Anheuser-Busch InBev in 2011) has reportedly leased a 130,000 sq. ft. warehouse that will be dedicated to barrel-aging. The space quadruples its current footprint and will accommodate “hundreds more bourbon barrels used to make its Bourbon County series,” according to Chicago Business.

The expansion stems from the brewery’s desire to meet demand in other markets without carving into its hometown supply in the Windy City.

“That pushed us to respond to how we can get more out there,” brewery CEO Andrew Goeler told the website. “How can we supply more Bourbon County?”

The additional space will no doubt alleviate some of the woes affiliated with producing a limited beer with unlimited demand, but the expansion still won’t be able to satiate all would-be drinkers.

“The sad part is that’s still not going to meet demand,” Goeler told the website. “Maybe this will add 15 percent to 20 percent more (beer).”

And in Vermont, The Alchemist Brewery is expanding, too, but its focus remains on serving its home market.

The brewery has plans to triple production of its iconic Heady Topper to meet demand that currently exceeds supply in the Green Mountain State.

“We’ve just been running out all the time,” co-owner Jen Kimmich told website Stowe Today, . “People say it’s a good problem to have but it’s not really. It’s a bummer to see people walk away upset.”

The brewery also announced recently plans to can its second beer, Focal Banger, yet another hop-forward IPA. The brewery is currently looking for a second location where it will brew the beer “on a regular basis,” wrote co-owner John Kimmich.

While Jen Kimmich told the website the brewery doesn’t “have any visions of expanding out of Vermont,” globetrotting beer drinkers will have a much easier team getting their hands on craft’s version of the silver chalice — a can of Heady.

Brewbound Job Board

The leading job board for the beer industry. Featuring hundreds of jobs from leading breweries and associated companies.

Brewbound Marketplace Listing

The Brewbound Marketplace features listings for equipment, services, and more. Post a listing today.

Brewbound's Database of Breweries

Brewbound's database of breweries includes thousands of breweries from around the world.

Brewbound Podcast

The Brewbound Podcast features interviews with beer industry executives and entrepreneurs, along with highlights and commentary from the weekly news. New episodes every Thursday.