As the demand for handcrafted beer continues to grow
across the United States, Stevens Point Brewery has announced its fourth major
expansion project in the past four years.
The $2 million undertaking is scheduled for completion
by May 1 of this year and will increase the brewery’s brewing capacity from
120,000 barrels to 150,000 barrels. The expansion will include the addition of
a second brew kettle, a new automated grain-handling system, and 16 more
unitanks for fermenting and aging beer.
“We want to increase our capacity,” said Julie
Birrenkott, Director of Marketing at Stevens Point Brewery. “We want to make
sure that we can supply all of our wholesalers and that consumers can get the
beer they want.”
According to Birrenkott, this expansion was both
necessary and inevitable.
“We need to do this. We’re expanding geographically,
and we’ve got new wholesalers calling in every day. This is just the next step
that we have to take to increase the distribution of our product,” Birrenkott
Joe Martino, the Stevens Point Brewery Operating
Partner, expressed a similar point of view.
“Our sales growth shows no signs of slowing down, so
it’s just good business to capitalize on our momentum in the marketplace and
continue to invest in our brewery,” Martino said.
In addition to an increase in product, Pointers can
also expect a change in the way their beer is packaged. The new
state-of-the-art can packer line will grant the packaging department four-pack
and six-pack production capability.
“Beer in cans, particularly craft beers, is enjoying
solid growth, so when the new can packer is operational, we’ll be ready to
offer all can-package configurations, from four-packs to six-packs to 12-packs
to 24-packs,” Martino said.
Carolyn Graboski-Bauer, a University of
Wisconsin-Stevens Point student and lead tour guide of Stevens Point Brewery,
has worked at the brewery for almost four years. Much like her superiors, she
is excited about the upcoming renovations.
“I have witnessed a huge growth in the popularity of
our products and brands—this expansion is definitely necessary if we wish to
keep up,” Graboski-Bauer said.
Due to the expansion, the brewery will not be offering
tours March 1 through May 1. In spite of this, Birrenkott still advises both
students and residence to visit Stevens Point Brewery.
“It’s an up-close-and-personal view of a historical
landmark in Wisconsin,” Birrenkott said. “We’re one of the top three oldest
breweries in the whole country, and we’ve got original buildings and façade and
things from the turn of the century. It’s just something you don’t have in
every college town, and it really makes us unique.”
For more information on the Stevens Point Brewery,
visit www. pointbeer.com or call 1-800-369-4911.