ONE TANK AT A TIME
As our Sixth Anniversary quickly approaches this June it’s hard to take a step back sometimes and see how far and how fast we’ve come since our first brew day in May 2012.
Our trusty and faithful brewhouse, dubbed Cliff Burton-on-Trent since it’s humble discovery in storage on a golf course maintenance building in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, has served us well since the first batch of County Line IPA brewed on May 5, 2012. Since that time we’ve brewed over 3,000 batches on Cliff, and have literally beaten the living shit out of it for the better part of the last five and half years, brewing around the clock on three shifts, 24 hours a day, five days a week for the better part of last two years.
For some time now our tank farm of 29 conical fermenters hasn’t been put to full task because we simply haven’t been able to put enough beer through Cliff to keep them full of fermenting beer at all times, especially after the arrival of our centrifuge in August 2016. Try as we may, there’s always a need to put more ‘Liquid to Steel’.
To that end, in late 2017 we received two brand new brewhouse vessels from our good friends over at Pioneer Tank & Vessel. Kevin and crew built us a brand new brew deck, dedicated Mash Tun, and second Kettle/Whirlpool giving us the potential to brew on an average day 6 or more brews. We can do even more than that depending on brew length, production schedule, etc. This will add more than a 33% increase in production capability from the brewhouse over our current production capabilities.
So, we took the leap of faith and shut down production in mid-February for two weeks to begin our most recent expansion project. With a few expected and unexpected bumps in the road, we got back to brewing the first week of March, and last week was our first week of more than our previous weekly average of 21 brews when we were able to push 24 brews out of the new system. That’s not too shabby considering we did that in the middle of about a foot of snow dumped on Croydon mid-week in the last of four Nor’easters that made their way up the Mid-Atlantic coast this past month, as well as brewing a schedule heavy with two hour-long boils for our Russian Imperial Stout and fan favorite, Leon.
If we hold the pace and keep to the schedule we’re on this week we should hit 28 total brews for the week far exceeding any previous weekly total we’ve ever brewed, and well on our way to getting up to our ultimate goal of a 32 brew per week schedule. Hard to believe that from our modest goals of trying to brew 90 barrels a month we’ve somehow made it to over 500 barrels a week.
With the added production capacity we’re really looking forward to increasing not only the inventory and availability in our current and new markets of our year-round beers like County Line IPA, The Shape of Hops to Come, and Churchville Lager, but also more tinkering and experimentation in seasonal and limited one-off beers, and renewed production and expansion for our barrel aged and sour beer program. Needless to say, we’ve been looking forward to this expansion for some time now.
Of course, we wouldn’t even need to go through this gut-checking expansion if it weren’t for anyone and everyone that’s ever supported this brand. Without you, we wouldn’t be here. Thank you aren’t strong enough words to express our gratitude for supporting this brand over the past five and half years.
Also, we just wanted to send a quick note of additional gratitude out to our Bottle Reserve Club members for their patience and faith in this brand since one of the things that the increased demand and the need for this expansion has affected extensively is our ability to meet the promises we made to members back in 2015. We’re really excited to get you your last two bottles and looking forward to really pushing the limits of the brewhouse and this brewery in the coming months.
Be sure to stop by and take a peek through the Tap Room windows and see what the buzz is about. I’m sure you’ll see a lot of action as we’re starting to put some road miles on the new system.