Otter Creek Brewing yesterday broke ground on an expansion that will more than triple its annual production capacity, ultimately making it Vermont’s largest brewery by volume.
With Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin present, ceremonial shovel in hand, the company began the first of three phases of its expansion, which will include the implementation of a new 120-barrel brewhouse that boosts yearly capacity from 65,000 barrels to 200,000 barrels, while it also readies for a “complete overhaul” of its restaurant and pub.
The company expects to receive the equipment by February and be operational by the middle of next summer. The added capacity will also be utilized to increase the output of Wolaver’s and Shed brands, which the company also produces. Long Trail, the nation’s 30th largest craft brewery by volume (which is itself owned by Fulham & Co., a family office), acquired Otter Creek and its owned brands in 2010.
“This new brewhouse will allow us to really dial-in our efficiency and creativity,” said Mike Gerhart, Otter Creek brewmaster, in a statement.
Otter Creek is also closing its pub on November 1 to build out a new bar and draft system, and install new flooring, tables, chairs, and other amenities. The pub is expected to reopen the first week of December, the company said.
During the second phase of construction, the brewery plans to build new office space, further expand its pub, and install additional production equipment, including a kegging line and more fermentation tanks. The company is eyeing a spring 2017 completion for phase two.
In the final phase, the brewery will create more warehouse space, add more fermentation capacity, and install a new bottling line, with a target date for completion sometime in 2018.
Specific investment figures were not disclosed, but Jed Nelson, Long Trail’s marketing director, said the company plans to invest “several million dollars” throughout all phases of the expansion.