By Eric Peterson | Mar 01, 2015
Long known as a brewer's brewery, Avery Brewing Company started moving into a $27 million brewery on six acres in the Gunbarrel area in northeast Boulder in early 2015.
It's a far cry from the kitchen stove where Adam got started more than 20 years ago.
The new 96,000-square-foot facility is bank-financed, with an assist from city incentives. Adam says the entire operation will move by the end of March.
He's happy to consolidate the brewery's operations, which gradually took over three separate structures in an industrial area. "We were in a hodgepodge of different buildings," he says.
[View the entire Food & Beverage archive.]
Everything is bigger and better, Adam adds, describing a cellar with space for 3,000 aging barrels, canning and bottling lines, a yeast propagation system, and 100,000 barrels of annual capacity, notably up from about 50,000.
"It's night and day from what we had," he says. "Everything is integrated at this new spot and under one roof."
A new addition: a restaurant at the brewery that staffs about 40 people. Adam says he successfully lobbied the city to rezone to allow for it.
In 2010, Avery Brewing pulled out of 18 markets in seven states to retrench and focus on core markets in Colorado, California, Texas, and New York, "We hated leaving them, but it was really throwing a wrench into our production schedule," Adam says.
With the increased capacity, look for re-entry into those same markets. The distribution now encompasses 28 states and Washington, D.C., after the brewery went back into Minnesota and Oklahoma in late 2014. "We're going to start filling out our footprint this year," says Adam. "We've basically doubled our capacity . . . [so] ramping up becomes a lot easier."
More capacity means more beers. "We've got at least eight new products coming out in 2015," says Adam, highlighting cans of Lilikoi Kepolo, a Belgian witbier with passionfruit that's due out in April, and a peach saison coming out in the summer.
Now that storage has tripled, expect a lot more beers aged in everything from bourbon to tequila barrels. "Our barrel program is going crazy," says Adam, describing an expected 2,000 percent production from 2013 to 2015.
Adam points to outsourcing keg distribution to MicroStar Logistics as a decision that helped pave the way for the new brewery. "MicroStar's been a godsend," he says. "Owning your own cooperage is so capital-intensive . . . millions of dollars. We put our money where we needed it."
Despite operating near maximum capacity for several years running, Avery Brewing has managed to keep eking out production growth that's been notably outpaced by revenue growth. The 2014 tally of 49,800 barrels represented an uptick in volume of about 7 percent, says Adam, but revenue was up 18 percent for the year.
"Every year, we've figured out how to squeeze out a little bit more," he notes. But with a plethora of new toys and plenty of capacity to grow into, Avery's balancing act just got a bit easier.
Challenges: Moving into the new brewery, especially in the transitional period. "We're running two breweries with the same manpower," says Adam. "That is a challenge." Plus, the all-new facility also represents "a learning curve," he adds.
Opportunities: The big opportunity is going back into the markets the brewery left in 2010. Adam forecasts production will grow by more than 20 percent to 60,000-plus barrels in 2015. "It's about getting everybody up to speed -- knock on wood," he says.
Needs: "I think we've got everything we need," says Adam. "We've pulled in so much new technology. Our beer is going to be amazing. We just need more sales."