Expected to be fully operational by December, the brewery will have an annual capacity of 25,000 barrels, which will more than double O’Fallon’s current capacity, and could be expanded to “approximately 50,000 barrels,” per a company statement.
The $7.5 million project, which is being financed by a combination of private investment and bank loans, will bring much of O’Fallon’s production back into its home state. In addition to smaller batches brewed at its current facility, O’Fallon produced its flagship 5-Day IPA and other offerings under contract at Stevens Point Brewing in Wisconsin.
“We’re going to try and pull the majority of production back into our new plants,” said Jim Gorczyca, O’Fallon’s President and CEO. “Certainly we want to ramp up production and ensure our quality is good and all our systems are running as expected.”
In the short term, O’Fallon plans to continue producing its canned offerings under contract at Stevens Point but is looking to purchase its own canning line in the future, Gorczyca said.
Situated on 2.2 acres of land, the new brewing facility will be equipped with a 50-barrel brewhouse as well as kegging and packaging lines.
There will be a number of cosmetic changes at the brewery as well. Since taking over in May 2011, Gorczyca, a former A-B InBev marketing executive, said O’Fallon has missed out on opportunities to entertain consumers in a tasting room, a key “consumer facing element,” he said. So, the new brewery will include a the 2,000 sq. ft. tasting room and added retail space.
“We have people knock on our door every day asking to take a tour or they want to make a reservation for lunch or dinner. We’re just not prepared to do that,” he said. “That ability to entertain customers, let them sit down, taste your beer, have them engage with you, your staff and brewers, that’s a big part of what we’re missing.”
Despite the obvious need to appeal to local drinkers, Gorczyca said the brewery’s own identity and business model is evolving.
“We’re getting to a point where we feel we’re more of a regional player than a local one,” Gorczyca added.
The project will create around 20 new jobs including brewing, warehouse, and retail positions, and O’Fallon will begin the hiring process in September.
O’Fallon made approximately 10,000 barrels in 2013 and recently announced the launch of a new offering, Zeke’s Pale Ale.