Texas-based contract brewery Guns & Oil Beer has reached an agreement to take over the former Payette Brewing Co. production facility located about two miles outside of Boise, in Garden City, Idaho.
The news, first reported by the Idaho Statesman, comes after years of failed attempts to secure the proper permitting to put down roots in its home city of Austin.
In a conversation with Brewbound, Guns & Oil founder Cary Prewitt said he’s taken out bank loans to finance the $1 million project, including acquiring Payette’s 15-barrel brewhouse. He added that he’s signed a five-year lease on the 11,000 sq. ft. property.
Payette Brewing, Idaho’s largest craft brewery, had closed its Garden City taproom after opening a larger, $4.5 million production brewery and taproom in Boise in 2016. However, the company had continued brewing at the Garden City location while searching for another brewery to take over the facility.
“This is a running brewery that we’re purchasing,” said Prewitt, who noted that he began negotiations with Payette founder Mike Francis in July. “I have to buy a canning line, but other than that, it can do 5,500 barrels our first year.”
Guns & Oil has contract brewed its liquid since the company was founded in 2013. Currently, the beer company’s sessionable lagers are produced at Denver’s Sleeping Giant and Fort Worth’s Wild Acre Brewing Co. Last year, those facilities produced an estimated 6,000 barrels of beer for Guns & Oil, according to industry trade group the Brewers Association.
“Bringing our production in-house is something that I really, really did want to do and do sooner rather than later,” Prewitt said.
Beginning in January, Guns & Oil will move production from Sleeping Giant into the new Idaho facility, where the company will eventually be able to scale up to 10,000 barrels, Prewitt said. In addition to supplying the Idaho market with product, Prewitt said the facility would serve Montana, Wyoming, Utah and Oregon.
“Hopefully in two years, we need more than 10,000 barrels up in that area,” he said.
Prewitt added that he expects to open a taproom at the facility by late January.
Meanwhile, Guns & Oil’s contract relationship with Wild Acre will continue until the company opens a brewery in its home state, Prewitt said. He added that Guns & Oil’s goal is to build a production brewery with a taproom and possibly a dance hall in the Texas Hill Country in about a year.
“I’d like to get started on that next summer,” he said of building a Texas facility. “I don’t have a property picked out, but it’s going to be outside of the city limits. I don’t want to deal with the permitting here in Austin. It just isn’t really friendly to production breweries unless you want to go into a giant warehouse district.”
In the meantime, Prewitt said he’s building a staff for his Idaho facility. He plans to hire five salespeople to cover the mountain west region and is currently interviewing for brewer positions.
Once the Idaho brewery is online, Prewitt said he will look to expand the company’s portfolio to include ales that are “approachable” and under 5 percent ABV, including an offering with ingredients sourced within 500 miles of the brewery.
“We will get into styles that are fitting for the area while still maintaining our mantra of approachable beer,” he said. “I want somebody to know that when they pick up a 6-pack, it’s something that they can get through in two sittings — three max.”