Great Raft Brewing, a Louisiana-based craft microbrewery, signed a lease for a 36,000 sq. ft. facility will serve as the brewery’s location for all operations and packaging, as well as a tasting room. The building consists of 27,000 sq. ft. of warehouse space, along with another 9,000 sq. ft. for office, retail and tasting areas. Operations are scheduled to begin this summer, with a grand opening at the brewery in early fall.
Andrew Nations, co-founder of Great Raft, told Craft Brewing Business that this deal was just about a year in the making, and the size and location of this building are both critical to Great Raft’s strategic vision and growth plan.
“Initially we are focusing on North Louisiana and supplying our home market but hope to be in South Louisiana by the end of our first year of production,” Nations said. “Our growth model is to be slow and methodical as demand increases and only enter new areas if we can maintain the same quality consumers in our home markets enjoy.”
Great Raft ordered a custom 20-barrel (bbl), three-vessel brewhouse, five fermentation tanks and two brite tanks, with a capacity of 3,500 bbls annually from JVNW. Great Raft intends to produce approximately 1,000 – 1,500 bbls in its first year – increasing production in future years to enter new markets and meet demand.
“One of the reasons we selected this location for Great Raft’s operations is that we wanted to have room to grow,” Nations said. “We didn’t want to be in a position where we were looking to change locations after a year or two due to space constraints.”
Great Raft Brewing recently applied and received approval for a use variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) in order to open its doors for public tastings and tours. During those hours, Great Raft intends to serve samples of products, provide educational tours of the brewery, and sell beer to-go.
“This location affords us the opportunity to not only produce beer of the highest quality, but also educate the public about our products and the beer making process. We are excited to have a visible location, close to Interstate 49 and Downtown Shreveport, and hope to be a fun destination for locals and tourists alike,” said co-founder Lindsay Nations.
Great Raft Brewing will be located less than 1 mile from the last known brewery to exist in Shreveport – Shreveport Ice and Brewing. Shreveport Ice and Brewing operated for years before closing its doors in 1908 when Shreveport went dry.
“Locating our brewery near the historic Shreveport Ice and Brewing building is a cool thing for us as we work to awaken Shreveport’s brewing culture. We want to continue the history of brewing in Shreveport, and being near that landmark is a constant reminder and inspiration to our team,” Lindsay said.