Sunriver Brewing Company


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Brewers Blog - 07/21/2015

The craft beer industry is booming.  There are far more breweries operating currently in the United States than there were in the pre-prohibition era, some 3000 and counting.  According to the Brewer’s Association craft breweries are opening at a rate of 1.7 per day.  Conservative projections show that these small breweries will be producing nearly 20% of the beer brewed in this country by 2020.  Sunriver Brewing Company is one of these small breweries, and we’re doing our part to grow with the industry.

From day one we wondered how many years it would take before we needed grow the brewery, and tried to envision what that growth would look like.  Little did we know just how rapidly that growth would occur.  Beer production began on January 1, 2014 at SRBC.  Our cellars would allow us to produce a modest 170 barrels per month (1 US barrel = 31 gallons).  That worked out great for the first few months, but then we entered our first summer and couldn’t produce enough beer to keep with demand. The only rational thing to do was figure out a way to expand.

It took months of planning, but our first brewery expansion project launched in early February 2015. The project included the installation of new 15 barrel and 30 barrel fermenters in our cellars as well as a substantial amount of stainless fabrication work in the brewhouse itself.  Once complete, our capacity had jumped to a whopping 260 barrels per month!  Surely that would get us through the year.  Wrong.

Our second expansion in the 2015 calendar year began two weeks ago and is still in progress.  This current round of growth brings four new vessels into the brewery – two new 30 barrel fermenters, a 15 barrel whirlpool vessel and a 45 barrel hot liquor tank (HLT).  Our cellars will now have the capacity to process 380 barrels a month, or just over 4000 barrels annually.  The other two vessels will allow for daily multi-batch brewing and increased brewhouse yields (more beer!).  We will grow into these new tanks over the next few months and see how things play out for us.  Then, when the time is right, we’ll expand again.  The fun never stops, literally.

The question comes about though – what is driving all this growth in the craft beer industry?  The answer is quite simple – it’s you, the consumer.  Savvy consumers nationwide are increasingly turning to craft beer to quench their thirst.  Generally speaking, craft beer is the work of artisan brewers, it’s also local and fresh, and helps to support the community by creating jobs.  It’s something that people can connect with on a very personal level.  We are truly humbled by the overwhelmingly positive response that our beers and brand have been met with.  The entire team at SRBC thanks you the consumer for your ongoing support of craft beer.


Brett Thomas