Even though we are bitter and petty Ohioans, we often give credit where it is due to the craft beer scene in Michigan. The state has a ton of great breweries, and its larger craft breweries just roll off the tongue — Bell’s, Founders, New Holland, Atwater. OK, maybe Atwater wasn’t previously in that category, but word from Detroit is Atwater Brewery is ready to make some significant investments and push to get into that upper echelon.
In the past 18 months, Atwarer has invested $2.5 million in brewery equipment upgrades in order to double its capacity (BrauKon brewhouse, plus steam generators, grain silos, malt handling systems and a flash pasteurizer). Soon a new Crand Rapids taproom and brewery will open, which will just be the first of several new locations — many of which will be beyond the borders of Michigan. Overall, the company plans to spend $15 million over the next three years and increase to 200,000 bbls.
From Crains Detroit Business:
Atwater plans on going far. Rieth is looking for locations in Chicago and Boston to open taprooms and small brewing operations, similar to its Grosse Pointe Park location and soon-to-be opened Grand Rapids location.
Larry Bell, founder of Galesburg-based Bell’s Brewing Inc., said the Chicago and Boston markets will be tough to crack for any new brewers.
“Both of those markets are incredibly competitive,” Bell said. “There are about 50 brewers operating in the Chicago city limits right now. I think they are going to have their work cut out for them.”
But Atwater isn’t stopping at taprooms. The brewer plans to open a large brewery in Austin, Texas in 2017 and plans to open another in North Carolina in late 2018 or 2019.
The plan is maybe insane but also awesome in its ambitions. Check out the rest of Crains’ interview with the Atwater founder about his revenue goals and expectations (plus a hint at a future craft beer roll-up opportunities).
Feeling inspired to get your own expansion underway? Here is some advice on managing your cash flow.