Max Trierweiler says he and partner Chris Andrus are overwhelmed by the unexpected success of their Mitten Brewing Company
since opening just 17 months ago. A plan to expand the taproom seating from 65 seats to 204 to meet demand means the brew house has to increase production to serve all those extra guests.
"It's the chicken and the egg thing," says Trierweiler. "We don't have more room to add tanks in this building at 527 Leonard (NW), but we need to triple our capacity to a 20-barrel brew house and 1,500 barrels (46,500 gallons) next year. Last night (Sunday, March 8) we were down to only one beer on tap because of how busy the weekend was. We literally can't make enough beer to keep up with demand."
Mitten Brewing's current three-barrel system brews just 93 gallons at a time. The solution is to build a brew house across the street at 540 Leonard St. NW that can produce 10,000 barrels when running at full steam, which should be about five years away, Trierweiler says.
Mitten Brewing will lease 10,000 square feet of the building that houses Eagle's Nest Church, and Trierweiler expects to have the brewing equipment installed and operational by the end of July.
"We'll still brew at the taproom," he says, "and will only be brewing across the street once a week. Fifty percent of what we brew there will be our Country Strong IPA, we'll brew Triple Crown Brown, and we will have a seasonal beer. We are planning to distribute more beer, starting with just kegs to be on tap at more restaurants around town, then will add a canning line in a few years."
Mitten Brewing appears this week before the Grand Rapids Planning Commission to ask for the special land use permit required for alcohol manufacturing, and to request approval to produce craft liquors in the future.
"We didn't ever even expect in a million years to sell as much food and beer as we have, and we're absolutely blown away with the support we've received," Trierweiler adds. "And with Long Road Distillers
going in across the street, we're instantly a hit corner, just like that, overnight."
See the story on Long Road Distillers here
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor
Images by Adam Bird
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