It’s been a long time coming, and the walls have been closing in on us quickly. We’ve pulled the trigger and dropped a boat load of cash into building a bigger, better, and badder brewery. To unveil our latest expansion project, we decided to do it up and invited out some of elected officials and a few VIP friends, including Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and Atlanta City Mayor Kasim Reed, to help us break it in during a ribbon during a ceremony at the brewery on Tuesday, March 20.
With most of the Atlanta business media front and center, our founder, Freddy Bensch, said a few words about what this project means to him and invited both Mayor Reed and Gov. Deal to say a few words before the ribbon was cut, curtains were pulled back and the expansion was unveiled.
Thoughts from Freddy: “This is an exciting time for our industry as more people develop a taste for craft beer, and we are seeing that demand continue to grow here at SweetWater. It’s crazy to think that just 15 years ago I could fit everything in my truck and now we are the second largest brewery in the Southeast, cutting the ribbon with the governor and the mayor on this incredible new facility.”
This expanded facility is phase one of our three-part construction overhaul project that will quintuple (yeah, that’s a real word) our brewing capacity to nearly 500,000 barrels per year. Now that’s a lot of beer! Phase two and three will be completed by early fall and will include the installation of 14 new 1,000-barrel fermentation tanks and a new 250-barrel brew house. Pics of one of these suckers are included in the gallery below.
Once we get through this expansion, many of you will be excited to hear that our distribution range will also continue to grow, first targeting further reach into Florida and Tennessee with potential to move in Virginia within the first two years of operation. However, the first goal of the expansion is improving the quality of our beer, and taking care of the neighborhoods where SweetWater is already flowing.
Some of you might have seen a sneak peek of this massive expansion during recent tours, but our new building is home to an expanded bottling and packaging hall (that can produce 500 bottlers per min!), keg line, quality assurance lab, machine shop, “not so corporate” office space, conference rooms, tasting area, 4,800-square-feet of additional public events space called the Reel Room and our kick ass roof top deck with skyline views of Midtown and Buckhead.
Click here for photos of the ceremony courtesy of Rank Studios. We have a video from yesterday’s festivities, thanks to the boys at Sapelo Productions below! Want more? Check out additional news stories and images from: AJC, Atlanta Business Chronicle, WSBTV, CBS Atlanta, WABE, Gov. Nathan Deal’s website, Jacksonville Times-Union and more.
In the meantime, let’s raise a glass to Freddy and the SweetWater boys and girls for their incredible work…and cheers to more success to come! We couldn’t have done it without you!