STEVENS POINT, Wis. — Stevens Point Brewery has created 10 new jobs this year as sales of its handcrafted beers, hard ciders and gourmet sodas continue to grow with help from an improving economy and positive business climate in its core Wisconsin markets.
The new employees include a Packaging Manager, a fourth Brewer for Brewmaster Gabe Hopkins’ team, an Inventory Control Materials Planner, two maintenance workers and five more second-shift packaging employees, including a Shift Supervisor and a Quality Technician. The second shift in the packaging department, added after an expansion of brewing capacity in 2013, was the first in the brewery’s history.
Point Brewery created the new positions because growing consumer demand for its products shows no sign of slowing down, according to Joe Martino, Stevens Point Brewery Operating Partner. The brewery’s production volume is up almost 20% year-to-date through the end of September compared with 2013, he reported.
Fueling the growth are Ciderboys Cider Co. hard ciders, first introduced in late 2012, and new products and packages like summer seasonal Point Coast Radler and the IPA variety 12-pack introduced earlier this year. Keeping up with the ever-growing demand for Ciderboys hard ciders, now available in 22 states, is a top priority in particular, Martino said. “We have been continuously increasing our hard cider production from month to month. Expanding our packaging second shift quickly became necessary in order for us to meet the challenge,” he said.
Martino also credits favorable economic conditions in Wisconsin, Point Brewery’s home state and most important market, for the decision to create the new jobs. “Wisconsin’s current business environment is conducive to continued investment, including investment in people,” he said. “We’re proud to help grow the state’s economy by creating new jobs and we’re confident the business environment will continue to be positive for small regional businesses like ours.”
In the past five years, Point Brewery has invested more than $7 million in brewery expansions, equipment and infrastructure upgrades. This year alone it invested $2.0 million for electrical and cooling system upgrades, three new unitanks for fermenting and aging beer, bottle filler upgrades and a new draft keg filler.
Last year Point increased its annual production capacity to 150,000 barrels with a $2 million project that added a second brew kettle, 16 unitanks for fermenting and aging beer, an automated grain handling system and a new can packer. In 2012, the company installed nine unitanks, two bright beer tanks for package release beer, a new hot water tank and a centrifuge for filtering finished beer. A 2011 expansion added warehouse space, and aging and fermentation tanks. In 2010 the brewery enlarged its keg cooler room and installed new aging tanks.
The Stevens Point Brewery
Stevens Point Brewery, founded in 1857, uses only the highest-grade barley malts, specialty malts, grains and the choicest hops to brew its handcrafted beers, including flagship Point Special Lager, which won the gold medal in the American Premium Lager category at the 2003 Great American Beer Festival. The Point Brewery brews with some of the world’s best water, too: in 2010 the City of Stevens Point won the American Water Works Association’s annual “Best of the Best” Water Taste Test.
Year-round products include flagship Point Special Lager, a premium American lager; Point Onyx Black Ale, a robust dark ale; Point Belgian White, a Belgian-style wheat ale; Point Cascade Pale Ale, an American-style pale ale; Point Amber Classic, an American-style amber lager; and Point Beyond the Pale IPA, a robust, hoppy India Pale Ale. Point also brews four year-round IPAs available only in the IPA variety 12-pack: Point Spruce Tip IPA, sweetened with Colorado blue spruce tips; Point Peach Mango IPA, a lively, fruity ale; Point White IPA, a golden brew flavored with Japanese Sorachi Ace hops; and Point One Shot IPA, a series of limited-edition brews featuring different hop varieties and malts in each batch.
The brewery’s year-round products also include the Whole Hog Limited Edition “big beers:” the recently introduced Whole Hog Espresso Stout, Whole Hog Six-Hop India Pale Ale, Whole Hog Russian Imperial Stout, Whole Hog Barley Wine Ale and Whole Hog Scotch Ale. Whole Hog Pumpkin Ale is a fall seasonal. Point also brews four unique James Page specialty beers sold only in convenient 12-ounce cans: A Cappella Gluten-free Pale Ale, Casper White Stout, Yhaba Dhaba and Chai Tea Porter.
The brewery’s seasonal beers include Point Oktoberfest, a Bavarian-style M├ñrzen beer for the fall; Point Coast Radler, a thirst-quenching mix of beer and natural citrus flavors for the summer; Point Nude Beach Summer Wheat, a refreshing, award-winning unfiltered wheat ale; Point St. Benedict’s Winter Ale, a rich, dark beer available from November through February.
Ciderboys Cider Co.’s hard ciders, which blend unexpected fresh fruit flavors with apple cider, are fall seasonal Cranberry Road, a pairing of apple cider and cranberries; Mad Bark, a winter seasonal made with natural cinnamon; and summer seasonals Pineapple Hula, made with fresh Hawaiian pineapple, and Peach County, which combines pure peach flavor with apple cider. Ciderboys’ year-round products are First Press, a traditional hard cider; Raspberry Smash, alive with the tartness of raspberries; and Strawberry Magic, a blend of fresh strawberries and apple cider.
Gourmet soft drinks from the Stevens Point Brewery include Point Premium Root Beer, Point Premium Diet Root Beer, Point Premium Orange Cream, Point Premium Vanilla Cream, Point Kitty Cocktail and Point Premium Black Cherry Cream Soda.