Upland Brewing will invest $4 million to expand its sour production capabilities, the Indiana-based craft brewery announced today.
Using a combination of bank debt, cash flow and equity financing, the company acquired the property adjacent to its original brewpub last year, and recently began initial phases of demolition and construction on a new cellaring facility.
It expects the new space, which will feature an upgraded bottling line, numerous wooden foeders and hundreds of barrels, to be operational by April 2016. Sour beers aged in the new space won’t hit the market until 2017, however.
“We have been experimenting and investing in sour beers for about 10 years now,” brewery president Doug Dayhoff told Brewbound. “It has been a fundamental part of our brewery identity and our beer program. It has been around for a long time and we expect it to be around for a long time in the future.”
Sour beer production currently make up just five percent of the company’s total volume — Upland also produces a number of core offerings at a separate, 37,000 sq. ft. facility located just miles from its original brewpub — but Dayhoff said retail availability will grow as a result of the expansion.
“While our core beers will probably always stay in the upper Midwest, I think the sour beers, over time, will be distributed more broadly,” he said, indicating that the higher margin items could be sold on a “semi-national” basis.
Upland currently sells its product in five states — Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois and Wisconsin — and expects to produce about 16,000 barrels in 2015.
A press release with additional information is included below.
October 27, 2015 – Upland Brewing Company is investing $4 million to expand its highly regarded sour ale program. This expansion includes hundreds of wood barrels and tanks and a new bottling line, all of which will be located in a freestanding cellar facility adjacent to the company’s original brewpub in Bloomington, Indiana.
Construction at the site is already underway. The existing brewhouse will remain at the center of Upland’s brewpub, and the new cellar will connect to the brewhouse via a series of underground stainless steel pipes. The company expects the new facility to be fully operational by April 2016.
Upland began brewing sour ales in 2006, focusing first on traditional methods and recipes. The program then evolved to include experimentation with novel ingredients and process innovations to achieve unique beers and flavors representing the character of the brewery and its location. The local climate, with its four distinct seasons and extremes of temperature and humidity, has encouraged different flavors and aromas to be expressed across the beers’ long fermentations in wood tanks. Many beers go further to incorporate local fruits that are hand-harvested by family farmers.
“We aim for multi-dimensional, complex beers that express the interaction of grains, fruits, and different microbes, all managed with a high degree of patience and time. Ten years of exploring the sour space has taught us so much. But we learn new aspects of the process every year,” according to Upland’s President, Doug Dayhoff.
In 2016 Upland will begin limited wholesale distribution of certain sour ales. However, ultra-small batch beers will continue to be available only via a lottery system directly from the brewery. “While this expansion will increase our production by several multiples, we’re still talking about very small and limited production volumes, only 2,000 barrels,” said Dayhoff.
In addition to the investment in facilities and equipment, Upland will soon make key hires to expand its brewing and marketing teams. Experienced professionals interested in those areas should send a resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Brewery:
The name Upland derives from the term geologists gave to the hilly region surrounding Bloomington, Indiana, which was never overrun by the glaciers that flattened much of Indiana’s landscape. The adversity of the geography bred independent thinkers who had strong wills, a connection to the land, and a wry sense of humor about life. The brewery’s mission of “making remarkable beers in remarkable ways” honors the spirit of these people and this place. Upland brews over 50 different styles of beer annually. For information about brewery tours and our brewpubs, please visit: www.uplandbeer.com.