If you don’t pay attention to national beer industry news it might have been easy to miss that New Belgium Brewing and Sierra Nevada Brewing have both announced their intentions to build new breweries in Asheville, NC. The newest expansion revelation comes from Lagunitas Brewing, who just announced that they will be almost doubling their brewing capacity by opening a new brewery in Chicago by the end of 2013.
About the Lagunitas expansion (Chicago Tribune):
Magee said he has already placed an order for a 250-barrel brew house identical to the one being installed at his Petaluma brewery. The Chicago version should arrive in July 2013, Magee said, and will be in use by the end of that year. The plan is for all Lagunitas beer distributed east of the Rocky Mountains will be made in Chicago. The brewery will easily be the largest in Chicago.
This is great news for the craft beer industry. The moves make a lot of sense for growing breweries with their sights set on coast-to-coast distribution, and it means that more beer drinkers across the country should be able to get their hands on fresh beer from these breweries. To this point, Redhook is the only craft brewery (yes, I know they don’t meet the BA definition) I can think of that has expanded cross-country; they opened their Portsmouth, NH brewery in 1996. In addition, Stone Brewing is also exploring opening up a brewery in Europe. I would expect that we will see other breweries listed in the BA’s Top 50 explore major expansion possibilities in the near future as well.
More on the Lagunitas expansion here: Chicago Tribune
More on the New Belgium expansion here: Denver Post
More on the Sierra Nevada expansion here: Press Release