To help alleviate the stress on the current 3-BBL brewpub system, The Mitten has leased 10,000 square feet of industrial space at 540 Leonard Street, kitty-corner from the firehouse taproom. To fill the space, owners Max Trierweiler and Chris Andrus purchased a new 20-BBL brew system from JV Northwest, in Oregon.
The 3-BBL system brewed almost to full capacity in 2013 — 512 barrels — so keeping up with demand is not possible with the current brewhouse.
“Although the problem is a good problem to have, it’s still a problem,” Trierweiler said. “As we continue to grow, we have undoubtedly turned away patrons due to our lack of product. This upgrade will help us meet that demand.”
The initial annual capacity of the new brewhouse will be 1,000 barrels, with a cap of 10,000 barrels. The Mitten will produce mostly its two flagship beers, Country Strong IPA and Triple Crown Brown, at the facility. Other staples like Vanilla Milk Stout, Black Betsy Coffee Stout, “The Stretch” Cream Ale and RyeBaby DIPA will rotate as well.
“Our new facility will allow us to have our two flagships on tap at all times,” Andrus said. “It also opens up fermenters in the taproom brewhouse which will allow us to experiment more.”
The new facility also will allow the brewery to expand into the upstairs — and outside — of the firehouse, which is set to open in late spring. The new capacity should also allow the brewery to begin its distribution into the Michigan market.
“This expansion is the foundation of our growth,” Andrus said. “Customers throughout Michigan are asking for our beer, and we want to make sure they can get it on a regular basis.”
About the Mitten Brewing Co.
The Mitten Brewing Co. opened in October 2012 as a vintage baseball-themed microbrewery in Grand Rapids. The beer and pizza in the brewery’s historic firehouse taproom has been well-received by both media and customers. In the company’s first year, it raised more than $30,000 for West Michigan nonprofits.