F.X. Matt to Expand in Utica

SaranacF.X. Matt Brewing Co., brewers of the Saranac brand, is investing $3.5 million in an Edward Street property — right across from its main brewery in Utica, N.Y. — to expand its fermenting and aging capacity.

The expansion will tack on 100,000 barrels to its ultimate capacity, lifting its ceiling to half a million barrels.

Nick Matt, brewery CEO, said he hopes the Saranac line will “take some big jumps going forward,” as a result of the expansion, which is expected to be complete by mid-2015.

In 2013, F.X. Matt produced “right around” 350,000 barrels and is projecting growth of about 8.5 percent for this year, as it is on pace to roll out around 380,000 barrels.

Of that production, however, about 40 percent came from its contract partners, a figure “which is frankly higher” than what the company targets, said Matt. Ideally, he said, the four or five partners the company lends its facility to would produce roughly a third of the overall output.

Nevertheless, production is up. And so are revenues. Matt said the company is projecting north of $45-50 million for this year, good for about a 10 percent increase over last year.

The expansion will do more than give the 126-year-old brewery additional capacity, however, which it isn’t exactly strapped for in the first place. Matt said the expansion will allow the company to tinker with the experimental beers they make on a wider scale. Brands that have been previously brewed as small-batch one-offs could now be considered for increased production and wider availability if the demand is there, Matt said.

“There’s a lot more variety in what we do today and as a result of that, the tanks [we currently have] aren’t capable of doing that,” added Matt. “We actually do not need brewing capacity per se and we don’t need packaging capacity. We are frankly in good shape in both of those areas.”