Craft breweries continue opening up, expanding and shutting down at a breakneck pace. In 2017, the number of operating breweries in the United States grew 16 percent, totaling 6,372 breweries, broken down as follows: 3,812 microbreweries, 2,252 brewpubs, 202 regional craft breweries and 106 large or otherwise non-craft brewers. Small and independent breweries account for 98 percent of the breweries in operation. Throughout the year, there were 997 new brewery openings and 165 closings — a closing rate of 2.6 percent. Combined with already existing and established breweries and brewpubs, craft brewers provided more than 135,000 jobs, an increase of greater than 6,000 from the previous year.
Each week, we hear news of new breweries opening up or established brands launching taprooms and expanding production. We’ll keep you updated on these brewery introductions in a reoccurring column called Grand Openings. Let’s start off with…
Modern Times announces ‘Academy of Recreational Science’ destination in Santa Barbara
From Modern Times Beer’s blog:
Santa Barbara has long been one of our favorite leisure destinations, sporting breathtaking scenery, a super rad downtown area, and an extremely solid contingent of Modern Times homies and League members. That’s why we’re decidedly thrilled to announce the addition of our very own restaurant and tap room to this jewel of the California coast. That’s right, Santa Barbarians–you can now officially anticipate the arrival of 5,000 sq ft of pure, unmitigated libational wonder as we bring you the Modern Times Academy of Recreational Science.
Located on South State Street in downtown SB, this forthcoming palace of sensory delights will feature a full menu of the highest quality noms ever nommed, as well as a dazzling array of delicious beers from all of our brewery locations. The new restaurant will include an indoor bar and table seating, a store featuring a luxurious assortment of merchandise and to-go beers, and a gorgeous 2,500-sq-ft outdoor area with additional dining and bar space. The aforementioned store will also serve as a pickup location for online special release sales. If there was ever any doubt in your minds, we will most definitely be outfitting the new space with a full complement of our brain-bending art installations and wonderfully weird design features.
We’re aiming to have this whole shebang up and running by the end of the year. We could not be more amped to be joining this rad community, as well as our friends at Good Lion/Test Pilot and Barbareno, both of whom we’re extremely psyched to be future co-tenants with.
As is commonly the case in endeavors of this magnitude of awesomeness, there are a lot of moving parts, and timelines are subject to change. That said, we’ll most certainly keep everyone posted on all the latest news via our social media accounts and email newsletter. Also, we feel compelled to reassure all of our homies in Anaheim and Encinitas that this new location will IN NO WAY affect the timeline for any of our forthcoming new fiesta venues.
We are insanely excited to have found such a killer spot for our new Santa Barbara home, and we’ll have more news coming down the line soon. Stay tuned.
New Midnight Pig Taproom opens in Evanston, Ill.
Sonas Hospitality Co. announced the newest addition to its growing portfolio, Midnight Pig Tap Room at 1557 Sherman Ave., which opened its doors in Evanston, Ill., on April 19. Created for both the passionate beer lover and novice, Midnight Pig Tap Room’s concept allows guests to experience their self-serve beer tap room in which a central wall houses more than 30 beer taps. The highlight of the beer selection is their new Midnight Pig craft beer line that is brewed in Plainfield, Ill. The new, 2,200-sq-ft tap room will seat 125 people and be the perfect spot for intimate gatherings. Casual and inviting, with a wall of taps and no bartender, guests will use a card loaded with their desired dollar amount, which they scan by the taps to self-pour beer by ounce.
The Midnight Pig Tap Room will also feature a limited menu created by Executive Chef Marcus Mooney. The casual, pig-inspired menu features pork-based starters, soups, salads, entrees, sandwiches and sweets, including charcuterie boards with local and imported meats and cheeses, warm pretzels, hand-breaded Wisconsin cheese curds, pork confit poutine, porchetta baguette sandwich, buttermilk fried chicken and chorizo, pastrami reuben, bacon beer filet tips, warmed spiced donuts, chocolate brownie pig out and more.
In a nod to the prohibition era, the name “Midnight Pig,” inspired by speak easies, bootleggers and moonshiners, credits the “pig,” which was a vessel used to carry alcohol surreptitiously during this time. Honoring its namesake, Midnight Pig Tap Room captures the essence of the prohibition-era with a first-come, first-serve policy, old fashioned-style table seating, a lounge seating area, and beer served in old fashioned ball jars with handles. At any time 12 to 15 Midnight Pig brand beers will be available with other local favorites, all available in 2- to 16-oz pours.
The signature Midnight Pig beer, brewed at Nevin’s Brewing Co. in Plainfield, is served at all Sonas Hospitality restaurants and sold across Chicagoland. Their local, craft beers including Apocalyptinator, Hook & Hatchet, Shamefaced, Snitches Get Stitches, Tumultuous and Pinched, are brewed year-round with special seasonal releases.
Midnight Pig Tap Room’s beer taps are supported by new technology from PourMyBeer, a Chicago based technology company specializing in self-serve dispense technology. Their proprietary system, allowing customers to pour their own beverages, requires guests to check-in with staff every two drinks.
Virginia’s Isley Brewing to open second location in ViBe Creative District
Richmond-based Isley Brewing Co. will open a second location in Virginia Beach’s ViBe Creative District at 315 Virginia Beach Blvd. The 5,582-sq-ft building was built in 1946. The new facility, which is scheduled to open in July 2018, will include a brewery capable of producing 2,000 bbls of beer a year, a tasting room, live music and events. The company will invest $825,000 in real estate, business property and machinery and tools. Additionally, 10 full-time jobs will be created.
“We welcome Isley Brewing Company to the Virginia Beach craft beer community,” said Virginia Beach Economic Development Director Warren D. Harris. “The location in the ViBe Creative District will provide another reason to visit the assortment of businesses and endeavors in this thriving section of the city.”
Mike Isley had a choice of several markets before selecting Virginia Beach for his second location, but the potential to tap into 15.2 million visitors and the resort lifestyle had a strong appeal. The Virginia Beach location is within walking distance to the Atlantic and the ever-popular boardwalk.
“Fifty percent of the beers will be the same, giving us the opportunity to try different things as well,” said Isley to Virginia Craft Beer magazine. “We may do a few more genuine sours. We’re really loving our kettle sours and goses.”
The Virginia Beach Development Authority has awarded an Economic Development Investment Program grant in the amount of $30,000 to Isley Brewing based on the capital investment. A recent economic impact report by the Beer Institute showed that the Virginia beer industry employed more than 28,000 people in production, distribution, and retail, and contributed nearly a billion dollars in state and local taxes in 2016. Excise and sales taxes on beer consumption contributed another $280 million to Virginia’s tax rolls last year.
Incendiary Brewing to open in Bailey Power Plant in Downtown Winston-Salem
Wake Forest Innovation Quarter and Wexford Science and Technology announced the addition of Incendiary Brewing Co., a locally owned brewery and taproom as the newest tenant in Bailey Power Plant. Incendiary will occupy approximately 6,200 sq ft on the first floor of Bailey Power Plant, including a 2,000-sq-ft taproom to showcase a line of IPAs, barrel-aged beers and adjunct/spiced beers to go along with several classic styles. The brewery will occupy another 2,000 sq ft of connected outdoor space in of the former power plant coal pit, providing additional seating and an open-air downtown vibe.
Construction in the space has begun and the company hopes to throw a grand opening bash Labor Day weekend. The brewery is expected to have around 10 new part-time and full-time employees. Incendiary Brewing is owned by Winston-Salem natives Brandon Branscome and John Bacon, who began crafting their own homebrew together as a hobby in 1997. After a series of fits and starts, the two partnered together in 2013 to create a line of award-winning homebrews in their free time, bringing home first place in the 2016 Masters Championship of Amateur Brewing for their signature IPA, Shift.
John Priest, formerly of Bells Brewing in Kalamazoo, Mich., and former head brewer of Gibb’s Hundred in Greensboro will join Incendiary as brewmaster and operations manager. Priest has experienced national success on a professional stage with a Gold GABF medal in 2015 for his ESB (English Special Bitter) and Silver GABF in 2016 for his American Wheat Ale. Together, they will develop new beers to try each week while working to improve fan favorites.
“Incendiary will be a great addition to an already impressive lineup of breweries in Winston-Salem and the Piedmont Triad,” said Priest. “Opening a brand-new location in the power plant across from Bailey Park with all the activity going on downtown brings a new level of excitement to this project, and I’m eager to get started.
The brewery will operate on a 15-bbl brewhouse from Deutsche Beverage in Charlotte and have nearly 150-bbl cellar capacity. They have also purchased a Wild Goose Canning line and will offer several options to take and share Incendiary beer with friends and family.
“Incendiary is the perfect tenant to occupy this first-floor space,” said Will Partin, senior director of development for Wexford Science and Technology. “As the Innovation Quarter community continues to grow, offerings like this that enhance the night life here will help continue growing the vibrant community we’re creating together.”
This is the fifth tenant announced for Bailey Power Plant, which opened in February of this year. Other tenants include Wake Forest Innovations, the commercialization arm of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center; CML Microsystems, a local semiconductor manufacturing company; and Alma Mexicana, a restaurant which opened in January. Venture Café Winston-Salem also moved to Turbine Hall in the building last month.
Vista Brewing opens beer destination in in Driftwood, Texas
Vista Brewing, a hospitality destination located on a 21-acre historic property in Driftwood, Texas, opened on April 20. The beer program, led by award-winning Brewmaster Josh Watterson, features traditional beer styles that pay homage to European origins, while honoring the Texas Hill Country. Watterson, who came to Vista from Brasserie Saint James in Reno, Nevada, will feature beer styles such as Dark Skies Black Pilsner and Merriwether Foraged Brett IPA, a seasonal collaboration with Foraging Texas using wood sorrel, agarita and dewberry blossoms.
Watterson has already launched an extensive barrel program, with 50 barrels from neighboring wineries aging to perfection, including their Commencement Barrel-Aged Brett Ale, using Bending Branch Winery barrels that will be available on opening day, and two unique Belgian-style lambics, which will age in barrels up to 18 months. All beers are made with water sourced directly from the limestone-filtered water well on property, offering a true taste of Texas’ environment. In addition to the Vista beers on tap, the tasting room menu boasts a curated wine list and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as a retail shop with items from local artisans.
Vista will also offer an integrated culinary program created by Chef Andrew Stiver, with operations under the direction of Charlie Skipsey, and beverage and service managed by Nathan T. Prater. The nose-to-hoof menu features modern Texas-American fare and is based on seasonably grown vegetables from the Vista farm, locally sourced proteins and well-balanced plates to pair with Vista brews. The heart of the weekly changing menu is a wood-fired grill with hot and cold smokers, where guests can craft their own casual meal or picnic experience with a mix of small plates and larger platters. Vista also comes equipped with an on-site catering team that allows guests to design custom event experiences.
The concept was inspired by founders Kent and Karen Killough’s time living abroad, where they spent their weekends exploring pubs in the English countryside. Refreshing beer coupled with leisurely dining experiences and stunning views were abundant in England and became the husband and wife’s favorite activity. Given “vista” translates to view in Spanish, the Killough’s sought to build a destination brewery to showcase the Texas Hill Country’s natural beauty and history in the most sustainable way possible. Vista sits in the center of the original 1830’s land grant belonging to founding father of Texas, William Barrett Travis. One of the most notable aspects of the property is an 1840s era dry-stacked limestone wall which the Vista team worked hard to preserve during construction.
Designed by local architecture firm OPA Design Studio, the property’s grounds were crafted after numerous collaborations with horticulturists, farmers, foragers and civil engineers. The Killoughs created a modern ranch aesthetic with a village feel, while preserving the existing natural surroundings of the land. The 5,000-sq-ft brewery and 2,500-sq-ft tasting room, along with the multiple outdoor patios and outdoor kitchen are built amongst the 641 native oaks and elm trees on the property, allowing the structures to exist amidst nature.
Michigan’s Stormcloud Brewing opens new production brewery and begins canning
The beer is flowing at Stormcloud Brewing Co.’s new production brewery located on the east side of the city of Frankfort, Mich. The 12,759-sq-ft facility houses a 20-bbl brewhouse, handcrafted by W.M. Sprinkman Corp. of Waukesha, Wis., with the capacity to brew 4,500 bbl of beer annually. The brewery is also home to a new Craft Canning System built by Codi Mfg. Inc. in Golden, Colo., with the capacity to fill approximately 40 cans per minute.
In March, Stormcloud began canning its two most popular beers — Rainmaker Ale, a Belgian-style Pale Ale that brought home a bronze medal from Denver’s Great American Beer Festival, and Whiled Away IPA, a Belgian-style IPA and best seller in Stormcloud’s downtown Frankfort pub.
Six packs of both beers in 12-oz cans have been distributed to stores in 11 Michigan counties, including the cities of Traverse City, Manistee and Ludington. As production increases, Stormcloud cans will be distributed north to Petoskey, Cheboygan and Alpena, and south to Muskegon and Grand Rapids.
The increase in beer production capacity at the new brewery has already enabled Stormcloud to expand its keg beer distribution to the greater Grand Rapids area in partnership with West Side Beer Distributing of Grand Rapids. Stormcloud’s current distribution footprint includes 32 counties in Michigan’s lower peninsula.
“I’m proud of our efforts to make great beer that people want to drink,” said Co-owner and Head Brewer Brian Confer. “We’re very excited about the increased capacity at the new facility, both in terms of brewing volume and lab space to continue our push for the best quality beer we can make.”
Designed by Byce and Associates Inc. of Kalamazoo, the production brewery houses brewing, fermentation, packaging, cold storage, and all shipping and receiving processes. The facility is also home to a brewing laboratory, office space, and public tasting room with merchandise space. The tasting room is scheduled to open to the public Friday, May 25, and will feature an outdoor beer garden similar to Stormcloud’s downtown location.
“We wanted the design of the tasting room and outdoor area to connect visually with our existing pub and restaurant,” said Co-owner Rick Schmitt. “So even though we’re across town from the pub, both new guests and long-time customers will feel the connection to Stormcloud’s downtown roots.”
Energy efficiency was also top-of-mind when designing the new brewery, and a number of environmentally friendly systems were put into place at the production facility, including:
- 6.2-kW Solar System with 10 two-panel ground mounted arrays that automatically orient to the sun’s location in the sky. Installed by Traverse Solar of Traverse City.
- Large sections of vertical glass curtain walls and strategically placed skylights in the production area to maximize daylighting.
- All interior lighting is controlled by occupancy sensors and shuts off automatically when vacant.
- All exterior lighting is controlled by photocell and timeclock. Exterior lighting shuts off at dawn.
- All light fixtures are LED, using less than half of the lighting energy (watts per square foot) allowed by the latest energy code.
- Office furnace is 95 percent efficient (minimum requirement is 80% efficient).
- Office condensing unit is 15 SEER (minimum requirement is 13 SEER).
- Production area gas heaters are 90 percent plus efficient (minimum requirement is 80 percent).
- Two electric car charging stations (Tesla and generic). Available summer 2018.
- Public tours of Stormcloud’s new production facility will begin this summer. The brewery and tasting room is located at 366 Parkview Lane in Frankfort, Mich.