Kuhnhenn Brewing Co. is expanding into a full-scale production and packaging facility, located in Clinton Township, Mich. The 35,000-square-foot building will be divided into production, cellaring, packaging and cold storage, in addition to a tasting room and administrative offices. The brewery will feature a four-vessel, 38-barrel (bbl) Huppmann brewhouse and enough fermentation tanks to allow for a projected capacity of nearly 20,000 bbls.
Kuhnhenn has acquired a high-speed Krones bottling line for packaging beer for the sale to retail stores, while canning is also being considered. Production and distribution of Kuhnhenn Mead will also increase, thanks to the purchase of a 24-head Gea bottling line, specifically designed for packaging wine.
Distribution of keg and case product will initially focus on Southeast Michigan, with further penetration into the rest of the state within the first year. The focus will be on four year-round brands, three seasonals and several limited release offerings.
“This is something we’ve been wanting to do for a number of years,” stated Eric Kuhnhenn, partner and brewmaster of Kuhnhenn Brewing Co. “It’s exciting to think that we’ll finally begin to make at least a short-term dent in the demand that has grown for our beer.”
“Furthermore, we are extremely excited to keep the production of our beers in Macomb County, which we all call home,” stated Bret Kuhnhenn. “We hope this will draw more attention to the growing beer scene in Metro-Detroit, and contribute to the economic rebirth in Macomb County.”
With the opening of the new facility, Kuhnhenn Brewing Co. is expected to hire an additional 20 to 30 staff members in both production and the tasting room. The facility is projected to be operational in the first quarter of 2014. The current Warren location will remain open, with a full line of beers, and focus on the production of small-batch experimental brews, as well as an increased barrel-aging program. A Small Distillers License is also being added at the Warren location, with more information to come.
“We find ourselves in a unique position,” stated Jon Piepenbrok, director of marketing and sales for Kuhnhenn Brewing Co. “We have built the brand and created demand for the beer; now we get to expand at a time and degree we feel comfortable. We’ve watched the industry expand with us and around us, all the while developing a plan for growth. Now we can make that jump.”