Brew Hub, the company that could be called a grand experiment in craft brewing is proving that the experiment is an unqualified success as it announces expansion plans and the acquisition of two more clients. The company grew from an idea conceived of by former Anhueser-Busch executive Tim Schoen and opened for business just over a year ago. It billed itself as “Where Craft Brewers Go to Grow.” And, with the growth of its own portfolio along with those of its clients, Brew Hub has certainly made good on its promise. With the addition of new partnerships with JDub’s Brewing Company of Sarasota, Fla., and M.I.A. Brewing Company of Miami, Fla., Brew Hub adds to a client list that includes Tampa’s Cigar City and Brew Bus brewing companies as well as Green Man Brewing out of Asheville, NC. And several others.
Brew Hub’s 64,000 square-foot Lakeland brewery opened September 2014. The brewery had an initial brewing capacity of 60,000 barrels, or nearly 1 million cases, annually. The expansion will increase the brewery’s capacity to 100,000 barrels, or 1.4 million cases, annually. In addition to its home brands, Brew Hub brews beer for partners Cigar City, BJ’s Restaurants, Toppling Goliath, Green Man, Orange Blossom, GolfBeer and Brew Bus.
“We designed the brewery with expansion in mind. We hoped this day would come – it just arrived sooner than we could have ever imagined,” said Tim Schoen, CEO of Brew Hub. “The expansion proves the model we built to help craft brewers grow is working. We’re excited to continue helping our partners grow as we expand, and we welcome the opportunity to add quality brewers like JDub’s and M.I.A. to our team.”
During its first 12 months of operation, Brew Hub expanded its bottling line and installed a new, state-of-the-art canning line to handle increased demand. In January, the company will install new bright beer tanks, increasing packaging capacity by 64 percent. In February, the company will add eight new fermentation tanks, increasing fermentation and conditioning capacity by 60 percent.
At the one year anniversary festival in September I was fortunate enough to get a guided tour. The brewery is a testament to modern brewing science and is immaculately clean. A massive brewhouse dominates one side of the cavernous room while fermenters line the other. As we walked, Brew Hub’s chief of brewing operations, Jim “Otto” Ottolini, hinted at the idea of expansion, but never fully revealed the plan.
“With these additions,” Ottolini said in a press release about the expansion. “Brew Hub can brew and package an additional 40,000 barrels of beer in 2016.”
Brew Hub provides full brewing, packaging, distribution and selling services for craft brands that are constrained by capacity, geography or capital. Due to high demand, Brew Hub’s brewing capacity has been sold out since July 2015. The expansion allows for an increase in production for all existing partners and the opportunity to add new partner brewers. The expansion also is needed to meet projected growth for 2016.