Grimm Artisanal Ales’ nomadic ways are coming to an end.
After more than two years of construction, the noted gypsy brewer will open its first brick-and-mortar brewery in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn on Saturday, June 30.
Founded five years ago by husband-and-wife Joe and Lauren Grimm, the craft beer maker had previously brewed its offerings at a handful of East Coast facilities, starting at the now-shuttered Paper City Brewery in Massachusetts and most recently brewing at Beltway Brewing Company in Sterling, Virginia.
Speaking to Brewbound, co-founder Lauren Grimm said the company plans to shift the vast majority of its production to its Brooklyn facility.
“We’re definitely going full-in in Brooklyn,” she said. “At the same time, we have built relationships with our partner breweries, especially Beltway over five years, and we want to continue to keep that possibility open of brewing there. At this moment, we are planning to brew almost all of our beer in Brooklyn and then save one beer a month that we’ll brew at Beltway.”
In Brooklyn, Grimm will operate its brewery and taproom out of a 7,500 sq. ft. building in an industrial area of Williamsburg.
The Grimms will be able to make about 1 ½ times more beer in their new brewery, increasing from about 400 barrels a month to 600 barrels, Grimm said. She added that the company’s four 60-barrel and two 90-barrel fermentation tanks are currently full while it also has a 30-barrel foeder and 110 barrels for aging sour beer.
“We have a lot of options,” she said. “One thing that we’re really excited to spearhead in our new space is our blended barrel-aged sours, which are more difficult and time consuming to make, but definitely something we want to move full force into because in many ways, we haven’t been able to do that to the extent that we want to do that out of other people’s breweries.”
Even with its added capacity, the brewery isn’t planning to ship beer beyond the 23 states already in its footprint, Grimm said. She added that the company doesn’t plan to reduce the amount of beer it distributes, but “it might inevitably happen as we get our feet under ourselves in our own brewery.”
“As we see how much beer ends up going out through our own taproom, we’ll be able to better dial in our volumes for our distributors,” she said. “The whole idea of opening our own space was to put out what we’ve already been putting out but add more on top of that that we would sell through our own taproom and then to see how things go.”
The Grimms, who have maintained 100 percent ownership of the company, secured a pair of small business loans in order to make their fairytale project a reality. Last week, they closed on a $3.8 million small business loan to purchase the building, which they had been leasing, and they previously received a $2.5 million loan to buy equipment.
According to Lauren Grimm, owning the property was important because she’d seen many New York City breweries hit with rent increases that threatened their ability to operate.
“It takes so much buildout and construction and financing to even be able to open a brewery,” she said. “By the time you put all of this work into a building, if it’s not your own, you’re just helping someone else to make a better space. If they’re just going to raise the rent on you in a couple of years, that can be a complicated moment.”
Grimm Artisanal Ales faced its own complications on the way to opening. There were setbacks, including the unexpected April 2017 closure of Portland, Oregon-based Metalcraft Fabrication, who the couple had paid in-full for their brewing equipment, which hadn’t been completed.
Grimm told Brewbound that she and Joe ended up befriending a group of former Metalcraft employees who eventually started a new company, Agile Stainless, that the couple hired to finish their brewing equipment.
“We definitely paid for the equipment twice,” she said.
Nevertheless, the Grimms will open this Saturday with something they’ve lacked in their years of operation: total control.
“This whole project has just been us trying to make the beer that we want to make and to make the best beer possible,” she said.