28 February 2012
We brought you the news of the upcoming $1 Million expansion at Weyerbacher,and yesterday we brought you the news & video of the groundbreaking ceremony held in Easton, PA. Because there were so many questions after yesterday’s events, Weyerbacher has published the following fact sheet to answer questions about the possibility of a brew-pub, their growth, the new IPA replacement and much more:
February 27, 2012
Groundbreaking: Today’s groundbreaking by Easton Mayor Sal Panto signifies the beginning of construction of a 7500 sq ft. expansion to the Weyerbacher Brewing facility, about a 40% increase in physical space. This additional space will allow Weyerbacher to increase capacity up to 30,000 bbls (31 gals each) as business grows. The new building is expected to be complete in September /October of this year. Weyerbacher began producing beer in 1995 in a much smaller 4500 sq ft facility on S. 6th St., in Easton’s west ward.
Weyerbacher’s Growth: Sales in 2011 increased 34% to $3.6Million for Weyerbacher, over 2010 sales of $2.7M. In barrelage (as measured for state and federal excise taxes paid by Weyerbacher) we shipped 9,729 bbls in 2011,up from 6,982 bbls the previous calendar year. This new space will give the brewery the ability to triple its output should sales trends continue. For the months of Jan & Feb 2012, sales have increased 51% over the same 2-month period last year, thus the need for this expansion. In terms of employment, Weyerbacher employed 6 full-time workers in 2006, with annual sales of $1.2M. In the 6 years since, sales have tripled to $3.6M with full-time employees reaching 16 currently. Numerous additional part-time workers help to staff the free tours the brewery offers on Saturday afternoons. Weyerbacher anticipates adding several more employees each year to keep up with the current demand in the marketplace for artisanal craft brewed beers. Weyerbacher Production Manager Chris Lampe stated, “We simply have used up every square inch of this 18,000 sq. foot facility, and our growth would be halted by the end of this year if not for this expansion. Our business has more than tripled in size in the 7 years since I’ve been here, and I just don’t see it letting up anytime soon.”
The Brewpub Question: Weyerbacher gets quite a number of calls and emails each week inquiring about visiting the brewery and asking if a brewpub is present. Once the expansion is completed and equipment is all moved in Weyerbacher expects to open a “tasting room” version of a pub sometime in 2013. Asked to define “tasting room”, Founder and President Dan Weirback replied, “It would definitely not be a restaurant as food would not be available, other than perhaps pretzels or something similar. Consumers would stop by to see the brewery, perhaps purchase a pint or two to consume while they visit, and purchase something to go—beer as well as t-shirts and other breweriana. The hours would be limited to 11-6 Tuesday thru Saturday in order to encourage visitors to patronize the many fine restaurants in the Easton area. We expect to have menus on hand from any local eatery that carries Weyerbacher beer. We’re truly grateful for the local support we have, and we simply don’t want to become competition to these restaurants. We prefer to be one hand helping another in the burgeoning business community that has sprung up in Easton and the Lehigh Valley.”
National & International Recognition: Weyerbacher has been recognized with many awards in its 17 year history. In just the past 2 years Weyerbacher has received 3 medals in National and World competitions recognizing the best beers available by category of style. In October 2011, Weyerbacher was awarded the gold medal for its beer “Sixteen” in the Honey Specialty Beer category at the National level at the GABF in Denver, CO.
The previous year Weyerbacher’s Imperial Pumpkin Ale seasonal took the bronze medal at the 2010 GABF in Denver. GABF is The Great American Beer Festival, a national level event featuring over 2000 beers annually entered in competition for medals, as well as sampling for beer fans touring the event.
In March 2010 Weyerbacher’s Merry Monks’ Ale, the company’s flagship beer, was awarded the bronze medal at the World Beer Cup in Chicago in the category of Belgian-style Triple. The World Beer Cup is only held every 2 years, each time in a different city. World Beer Cup is the highest level international competition for beer with over 40 countries and 3000 beers competing in 2010. The next World Beer Cup will be this May in San Diego, CA.
New IPA coming soon: In May Weyerbacher will release a new IPA (India Pale Ale) to replace its Hops Infusion Ale, which was first brewed in 1998. Head Brewer Chris Wilson had this to say about the currently un-named replacement: “It will be a west coast style IPA. Significant amounts of hops are used for flavor and aroma while keeping the malt profile simple, allowing hops flavor to dominate and shine. This new IPA was chosen by the public as the best of 6 new IPA’s we released in limited draft batches in 2011, an effort we called The IPA Project.” Customers purchasing a pint in selected pubs were given a form to fill out for feedback to Weyerbacher.
Complete Brand Redesign: Weyerbacher is nearing completion of a re-branding effort featuring a new logo and all new packaging graphics as well. The new designs are expected to hit retailers in May/June of this year. The new logo and word-art may be seen inside the brewery on large banners during free public tours every Saturday. Beerfans can check our website for tour and sampling details at www.weyerbacher.com.
Barrel-Aged Beer: Weyerbacher brews a number of beers which are aged in actual oak barrels, some for up to a year or even more. Heresy & Insanity are available right now and these beers are aged in barrels which previously held bourbon, imparting vanilla, oak and bourbon flavors onto the beer. Riserva, a once yearly release is a tart beer made with red raspberries and aged in oak barrels for 12 to 18 months.