The F.X. Matt Brewery has a long history of making quality craft beer, known today for its Saranac brand. The brewery is the second oldest still operating in New York, right after Genesee in Rochester. The F.X. Matt Brewery was making beer before prohibition, including its West End IPA. In fact, Saranac’s Legacy IPA uses the original 1914 West End recipe. The company’s Utica Club beer brand was notably popular for the WWII era, having made a large variety of styles and some great marketing spots using mascots Schultz and Dooley (anthropomorphic beer mugs voiced by Jonathan Winters). Here they are on a moon made of cheese!
In the 1980s, the F.X. Matt Brewery launched its Saranac craft brand, which in 2021 looks poised again for another reinvention. Last week, Fred Matt, CEO of the F.X. Matt Brewery, announced the completion of a $34.7 million brewhouse and tank farm expansion, a process that started three years ago. He also announced plans for another $11 million in brewery investments with a focus on packaging to coincide with some big growth expectations.
“We expect to grow our business 100 percent this year and probably 50 percent next year,” says Matt in the video below.
Because of this exciting growth, the brewery is also looking to hire more than 25 people immediately, and you can apply right here: www.saranac.com/job-postings/. The recent $34.7 million expansion includes a new state-of-the-art brewhouse and tank farm, doubling brewing capacity from five to six brews per day to 10 to 12 brews per day and adding fermenting and aging capacity, resulting in greater flexibility and better-quality control. From NewYorkUpstate.com:
But the brewhouse hadn’t been significantly updated since just after the end of World War II. Before the expansion, it featured two copper 500-barrel brew kettles and reached its capacity of about 320,000 barrels of beer/beverages per year. (A barrel is 31 gallons).
With two new and more efficient 450-barrel kettles, plus greatly enlarged fermenting and storage capacity, the brewery may produce 600,000 barrels this year and could go as high as 800,000 barrels in future years, Matt said.
Of course, it’s not just beer. The F.X. Matt Brewery also produces Saranac soda and hard seltzer, McKenzie’s Hard Ciders and Jed’s RTD craft cocktails. In addition to Saranac beers, the F.X. Matt Brewing Co. also continues to make its Utica Club beer brand and produces beer for other companies, including Brooklyn Brewery, which owns a 20 percent stake in the company. The F.X. Matt Brewery portfolio has expanded greatly, the company sees the changing dynamics of the beverage alcohol industry and it’s been preparing for a while now. From that same NewYorkUpstate.com article:
Three years ago, about 80% of the brewery’s non-draft beverages were packaged in bottles, with 20% in cans. That’s now flipped to 75% in cans and 25% in bottles.
During the same time, the beverages themselves have changed. Three years ago the brewery’s production was 85% “traditional” beers, Matt said. That fell to 60% last year and may drop to 50% this year, he said.