Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. (UCBC), a two-year-old craft brewery based in St. Louis announced plans to open a second, significantly larger production brewery in early 2014 in order to ramp up capacity to serve its growing local base. Urban Chestnut brewed around 3,500 bbls in 2012 and expects to brew approximately 7,000 bbls in 2013.
UCBC brews both small batches of artisanal, modern American beers (its Revolution series) and classically-crafted European styles (its Reverence series). The founders are Florian Kuplent and David Wolfe. Kuplent is a German born and trained brewmaster with extensive experience at both small breweries, worldwide, and with the world’s largest, Anheuser-Busch. Wolfe is a 20-year beer industry member, who was with Anheuser-Busch as well, prior to joining Kuplent in founding Urban Chestnut.
The company said the new facility is expected to be a $10 million project that will increase Urban Chestnut’s current annual brewing capacity to about 15,000 barrels (bbls), while further enhancing an area within the city of St. Louis that has undergone significant transformation over the last several years — Forest Park Southeast or “The Grove.”
Kuplent and Wolfe have been working with Green Street, an innovative St. Louis real estate firm, for over a year to identify a property that would meet their collective vision. Green Street works on the sustainable redevelopment of underutilized local commercial properties into Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified buildings.
The result will be a 70,000-square-foot production brewery, packaging facility, warehouse and indoor/outdoor retail taste room. Beyond embracing the principles of environmental stewardship and social responsibility by seeking LEED certification, UCBC and Green Street also plan to modify the façade of the current city-block long warehouse to visibly and physically integrate it into the already vibrant Grove neighborhood.
“People might ask why open a second facility and also locate it in St. Louis? Well, first and foremost 95 percent of the beer we sold last year was in St. Louis, and like Schlafly and many of the other small, local brewers, we’re dedicated to the evolution of St. Louis as a craft beer destination,” Wolfe said.
Operationally, Urban Chestnut plans to brew, package and sell beer at both locations. The current 20 bbl brew house, tasting room and Biergarten will remain open and will be utilized to primarily test, brew and package smaller batch beers. Initially the new brewery will have an annual capacity of approximately 15,000 bbls using a 60 bbl brewhouse, with the space to expand to 100,000 bbls.
“We’ve been growing at about 200 percent, year over year, and we never imagined we’d grow this fast,” Kuplent said. “Essentially it means we’re going to run out of the space to add further capacity at our current location sometime this year … and we mostly have St. Louis beer drinkers and our retail partners to thank for that.”
In addition to operating both breweries, Wolfe and Kuplent also plan to provide a unique & distinctive customer experience at each Urban Chestnut location.
“Our brewing philosophy and branding has always been based on the idea of ‘new world ~ old world’ or what we call ‘Revolution and ‘Reverence,’” Wolfe said. “We think it’s really cool that we’re going to apply this same concept to each of the two facilities; our original location will possess the ‘Reverence’ identity and our new location the ‘Revolution’ identity.”
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