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Brewery Expansion, AKA What the hell is Iron Horse Brewery doing?!

From The Iron Horse Brewery Blog

Brewery Expansion, AKA What the hell is Iron Horse Brewery doing?!

Or, when are you going to move?
How soon?
What is the purpose?
….and other questions.

The loyal employees of Iron Horse are faced with these types of questions on an ongoing basis. So, instead of actually answering them directly I’m forcing them to refer people to this blog post, because 1) I can, 2) I’m a jerk because of point #1, and 3) because I probably haven’t told them as much as I’m about to reveal here because of point #2.

1. The Big Deal
Currently we have a contract on a building located on the Vantage highway. 1621 is the address. While things look pretty damn good, nothing is certain until the t crossing, i dotting, micro managing, intrusively investigating, bankers have signed off on the deal. This building is a beauty, actually from the outside it is as ugly as your sister, but from a brewing standpoint it doesn’t get much better. 12,000 square feet is the building footprint, nice huh? That is only the beginning. The ceiling is almost 30 feet high which gives us 360,000 cubic feet. Which is almost enough air to keep Ross, Iron Horse sales master, talking for 15 minutes. It also allows us to put in tanks that tower over our previous fermenters and conditioning tanks, saving precious floor area. This facility is situated on just under 3 acres, which in conjunction with the existing building gives us opportunity to grow by some significant multiplier which I will spare you from because I don’t want to blow your mind!

2. The Guts
Now if you are wondering, “what form will the expansion take?” I will answer that question. If you are wondering something else, why haven’t you submitted a question to “ask the brewer”? Phase 1 Expansion, as I am calling it, utilizes an obscure method of beer transport called “tankering” (actually I just made that up, which I just Trademarked for future litigious use). We are going to continue to produce wort and ferment that wort at our existing facility on Prospect street. Then we will pump that beer into a specially designed tank that sits on a not specially designed truck. This “tanker”, if you will, will then take the fermented beer over to the new facility, we will call it Vantage for now, and pump the beer into conditioning tanks. Once conditioning is complete, we will package the beer into kegs, bottles or my face, and divide it into orders to be shipped. Hmm, it doesn’t sound that amazing when I put it onto paper, but if you see a brewer, you should ask them what Phase 1 Expansion means to them and they will tell you how much better it will make their working lives.

3. Fruit – (Or how this deal bears it)
How is this helpful? Well, I am glad you asked. By getting packaging operations out of Prospect and into Vantage we don’t have scheduling conflicts which currently inhibits our ability to brew at least one day a week. Moving the cellaring operations to Vantage will also allow us to add some more fermenters and conditioning tanks which means more beer, whoooooooo!!! It also means we won’t have to load trucks in the snow with the beer delivery van pushing the forklift around in 6” of the slippery curse. Doing that sucks, it looks ridiculous, and as you might imagine is incredibly inefficient. The extra space will also allow us to take on special projects such as a barrel aging program, pilot brews, and high gravity brewing. Booyah!

4. What’s Next
Eventually we will move the entirety of our brewing and retail operations from Prospect to Vantage, save for our presence downtown. At some point we will order in a new brewhouse with a larger capacity and greater extract and labor efficiency. There are lots of exciting things to consider with the expansion and Phase 2 as I just now dubbed it. Beer garden? perhaps. Tasting room overlooking brewery operations from the second floor mezzanine? You bet your sweet ass! (ok, its not that certain, but I love that saying) Iron horse thrillbillie obstacle course? Pretty unlikely, but who knows, we will have almost 3 acres.

5. Summary
We are attempting to bite off more than we can chew, but we figure with the aid of Irish Death, we can just wash it down the gullet and get on with things. For those of you who have visited the brewery, you can attest to how badly we need this breathing room. To be on the cusp of breaking ground, well, words can’t explain the excitement of what is to come.  Until we have Phase 1 complete (with any luck by February of 2012) we will continue to short customers on their orders, trip over each other, have a tangle of hoses, and fight over forklift access. In other words, business as usual.

In consideration of all this, I would like to say thank you, to all our supporters. It probably sounds contrived, because businesses always do this, but it has been a lot of fun getting here and it wouldn’t have been fun, nor would we have gotten here, if it weren’t for all of the Iron Horse evangelists out there.

Hugs and Kisses,
Greg Parker

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Jacque Chilcott
October 28, 2013 1:10 am

Attended Oktoberfest, 10/19/13, fell in love with Irish Death, liked it so much that I didn’t try any other brews and spent all my time going back for more Irish Death. Talked to Gary Parker to ask where I could buy it in Sequim and Lorne said Applebees have it on draft. Must tell you how happy I was to find the large bottle of Irish Death at Safeway and QFC here in Sequim and would love to have it in 6 pack as the large bottle is too much just for me to put away so have to wait for company to enjoy it. Expecting my son to come to see me this weekend and we will really enjoy the brew. Keep up the good work and I sure plan on stopping by the tasting room on my next trip East.

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