(Chico, CA) – Here is an update to an earlier story on Sierra Nevada Brewing‘s search for an East Coast landing spot.
This comes from Sierra Nevada’s Communications Chief, Bill Manley:
About 5-6 years ago, we put a projection plan in place looking at the capacity of the brewery, combined with the rate of growth and it became very clear that our current brewery here in Chico would eventually run out of space.
With the pace of growth picking up drastically in the past few years, the timeline for us to reach capacity was compressed and we had to begin looking at options for the future.
We have several options:
1.) Slow down growth and work within our existing capacity.
2.) Expand our brewery here in Chico to boost our existing capacity, or
3.) Look for another site to build a new production brewery.
Each scenario has a bucket-load of pros and cons attached to it so we’ve had our brewers, engineers, and specialists looking at the wisest option moving forward.
We are currently distributed in all 50 states, and while we sell the majority of our beer here in Northern California, we are having great success throughout the Eastern states. Shipping beer via rail and truck from Chico is very expensive, time consuming, energy intensive, and not as environmentally conscious as we like to be. With the rising cost of fuel, we thought that it would be worth our while to explore the possibility of an additional facility in the Eastern part of the US.
Which brings us to Pennsylvania…Over the past year or so we’ve been looking at hundreds of potential sites with the necessary facilities to support a production brewery. We’re interested in a myriad of factors; ease of shipping, great water, sustainability options, etc. but also looking at potential quality of life for our employees. Recently a team of folks from the brewery traveled to several sites to explore the possibility of building a second brewery, and Pennsylvania was indeed on that list. Unfortunately, that site wasn’t a great fit for us nor for the city, and we’ve eliminated it from our search.
We’re currently trending over 800,000 Bbl this year, and our capacity here in Chico is a bit over 1,000,000 Bbl’s. We’ve expanded our current brewery a lot over the past years, but soon we will run out of physical space in Chico.
Even if things remain at the frenetic pace of growth we’ve been seeing thus far, we still have a few years of capacity at our existing brewery. No decisions have been made, but no decisions have been eliminated either. It isn’t a given that we will build another brewery, but I can’t say that it isn’t a real possibility either. At this point, everything is still in the consideration phase, and we’ll have to see how things go as the year presses on. One thing is for certain though, that our existing brewery here in Chico isn’t going anywhere and we will continue to brew the best beer that we can no matter where we’re located.
Photo Credit: Buy the ticket, take the ride. (Creative Commons)