The latest expansion — a $1.1 million project includes nine new fermentation tanks, two new bright beer tanks, a new 7,000-gallon hot water tank and a centrifuge for filtering finished beer. When all of the new equipment is up and running this spring, the brewery will be able to brew 120,000 barrels of beer annually, a 20% increase.
Since 2009 the Stevens Point Brewery has invested approximately $1.5 million in new equipment and additional storage space to increase capacity and improve efficiency, according to Joe Martino, Stevens Point Brewery Operating Partner.
“Last year we added 6,600 square feet of warehouse space, five aging tanks and three fermentation tanks to bring our brewing capacity up to 100,000 barrels per year,” Martino said. “In 2010, we built a 2,700-square-foot addition to expand our keg cooler room and add four aging tanks.
“We have our loyal customers to thank for our continued success, and as our sales continue to grow, we’ll continue to expand our capacity to keep up with the demand,” Martino added. “We’ve still got plenty of room to grow and we fully intend to do so.”
The two new bright beer tanks for package release beer will allow Point Brewmasters Gabe Hopkins and John Zappa and their team of Brewing Operators to brew six days per week instead of five. The 120-barrel tanks, which hold finished beer ready for the bottle and can lines, will be installed by the end of February.
The nine new fermentation tanks scheduled to be installed in late March are vertical fermentation “unitanks” and represent a first for the Stevens Point Brewery, according to Hopkins. “Our new vertical tanks are twice as tall as they are wide, and they’re called unitanks because they allow us to ferment and age beer all in one vessel,” he explained. “Vertical tanks also enable improved dry hopping of our beer. Traditional fermenters are horizontal and can be used for either fermenting or aging, but not both in the same tank.”
The centrifuge, which will arrive in April, will help improve beer quality and production efficiencies. “We will be able to filter beer faster and improve the quality of our product in the package,” Hopkins said.
The new hot water tank will be used to heat water at the beginning of the brewing process and will be the first piece of new equipment to be installed, in mid-February.