Expansions on Tap: Oskar Blues, Worthy Brewing Among Those Investing

Even as growth in the craft category slows, a number of craft outfits are continuing to pour money into costly expansion projects.

Just this week, a trio of regional breweries announced plans to expand with facility upgrades and new taproom locations.

Oskar Blues, which produced more than 200,000 barrels last year, will open a new taproom and live music venue in Boulder, Colo., the company said in a press release.

“Over the years, we’ve developed great relationships in the Boulder community with BolderBoulder, University of Colorado, Gold Rush Rally and through the efforts of the CAN’d Aid Foundation with groups like the Boulder Mountainbike Alliance,” Oskar Blues marketing director Chad Melis said in the release. “The live music scene and connection to the outdoors is at the core of the Oskar Blues culture. We’re stoked to extend our front door to Pearl Street and Boulder proper.”

The Colorado-based brewery already operates Oskar Blues-branded restaurants in Lyons and Longmont. In addition to the forthcoming Boulder location, the company also anticipates opening a Denver restaurant and music venue this summer.

At the Boulder location, a space previously occupied by the World of Beer chain, Oskar Blues will pour beer from 20 different draft lines and sell beer from Cigar City and Perrin Brewing, which are part of the Oskar Blues Holding Company rollup.

Including its CHUBurger, Hotbox Roasters and production breweries in North Carolina and Texas, the company now operates 14 locations nationwide.

Meanwhile, in Oregon, Worthy Brewing will install three new 240-barrel fermentation tanks, a 120-barrel brite tank and a 70,000-pound grain silo. The new additions will allow the company to eventually brew as much as 40,000 barrels annually and increase daily production by 25 percent.

“With the increased capacity, we’re investing in packaging infrastructure to allow for longer production runs and a larger variety of package options, including our new Worthy IPA 24-pack which will be available in Costco this May,” Worthy’s senior director of sales Casey O’Brien said via a press release.

Worthy said it expects to make 19,000 barrels of beer in 2017, up from 15,000 barrels produced last year.

And in New Mexico, Santa Fe Brewing announced plans this week to embark on a multi-million dollar expansion project that will include a new tasting room and beer garden.

The company expects the project to be completed in early 2018.

“We outgrew our current space years ago,” Santa Fe owner and president Brian Lock said in a press release. “The new taproom will provide a craft beer customer experience unparalleled in New Mexico.”

While that space is under construction, thirsty customers can imbibe in a separate, brewery-owned concert and events venue dubbed “The Bridge,” which is located across from the company’s production facility.