Schlafly Beer’s Breweries Are Quickly Approaching Capacity
For most of the last 20 years, we have focused mostly on just brewing great beer and throwing the odd party or two. Now, at a time when our Country is facing many challenges, the employees of Schlafly Beer are dealing with what friends tell me are “good problems”.
In 2001, we brewed 9,383 US barrels (31 gallons/ bbl) of Schlafly beer and made our first significant moves towards expansion. We purchased the old grocery store building in Maplewood, MO, that when renovated, opened as Schlafly Bottleworks in 2003.
Schlafly Bottleworks was designed to be a 25,000 sq. ft. brewery that could brew 30,000 bbls with the understanding that it might be scalable to cope with the production of upwards of 45,000 bbls. In 2010, we brewed 35,066 and now in 2011 we are on pace to brew over 40,000 bbls.
A few alert fans of Schlafly Beer have asked, “What’s next”? They noticed two simple facts:
1) If our fans continue to honor us with increasing purchases of Schlafly Beer, we will quickly reach the ceiling of what Bottleworks can produce; somewhere between 45,000 and 50,000 bbls.
2) We have no room inside either of our two breweries to expand into, nor do we own existing land to develop.
Almost 80% of all Schlafly Beer brewed is consumed in St. Louis and purchases in Metro St. Louis are growing quickly. Thank you! Also, thanks to fans in Central and Western Missouri, Kansas, Central and Southern Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi, sales outside of St. Louis are growing as well. So, what is next? Well, as it turns out, “what is next”, started before we knew that we needed a “next”.
Many of you will know the name Dave Miller. Dave literally wrote the book on homebrewing and was the first Head Brewer at The Schlafly Tap Room in 1991. A few years later, Dave moved to Nashville to be the Head Brewer at a new brewery restaurant to be known as Blackstone Brewery. Dave and the owners at Blackstone, Kent Taylor and Stephanie Weins, have operated a successful brewpub for many years, and a few years ago, maybe as many as five years ago, Dave phoned to ask for our advice on aspects of building a new production brewery in Nashville. Then last fall, Dave was in town for a visit and we talked about the new brewery and the challenges they faced and soon after, we got together in both Nashville and St. Louis and realized that we could form an alliance that would benefit both of us.
We’re now happy to announce that we have a long term agreement with Kent and Stephanie to access some of their capacity in order to produce some Schlafly Beer at their new Brewery in Nashville beginning later this year. This agreement will allow for continued growth of Schlafly in Tennessee and the surrounding areas as well as free up some much needed capacity at Schlafly Bottleworks in St. Louis. It should come as no surprise that in some ways, this brewery mirrors the set up we have at Bottleworks. They have a beautiful 30 bbl brewhouse just as we do, fermentation vessels of the same design, and much of the same bottling equipment. They’ve really done a great job to get the Brewery built and now we’re helping them to complete the lab and a few other areas, including assisting with staff training.
Some of you may have also noticed that we’re currently recruiting a new member to the Schlafly team who will be based in Nashville and work both in support our Quality Assurance Team at the new brewery as well as help with our sales efforts in and around the area. We expect to start brewing Schlafly Beer at Blackstone’s new brewery in Nashville this year but the exact timing still depends on the go-ahead from our Quality Team. We shall see, and as ever, we will keep you informed. This is a very exciting time for us at Schlafly Beer and we look forward to meeting lots of new friends in Tennessee for years to come.
Thanks to all the fans of Schlafly Beer.