Dry Dock Brewing, which opened a new, 30,000-square-foot production brewery and packaging facility in Aurora last January, said today that it had nearly quadrupled in size over the past twelve months, going from 3,273 barrels in 2012 to 12,000 barrels in 2013. It also managed to can more than two million beers in just a year.
But the rapid growth means Dry Dock had to delay other plans, including out-of-state distribution and the addition of a taproom at the new brewery. (The company currently operates a large taproom and brewery at its original location on Hampden Avenue.)
"We had awesome plans for a tasting room and outdoor beer garden, but those are on hold," says brewery co-owner Kevin DeLange. "We are still planning to add a small tasting room, though, in six months to a year so that the public can see the place."
DeLange says he talked with other beer makers, like Todd Usry of Breckenridge Brewery and Dave Thibodeau of Ska Brewing, about what happens when a company grows more quickly than it wants to. "We talked about the return on investment versus the return on fun, which is why we got into the business, and we decided to take a deep breath."
But that doesn't mean Dry Dock doesn't have big plans for 2014. In addition to adding three 120-barrel fermenters, which will increase the brewery's capacity by 150 percent, DeLange says Dry Dock will add a couple of new packaged seasonal beers.
Dry Dock, which won five medals at the Great American Beer Festival in 2013, currently cans four year-round brews in six-packs and two others in 22-ounce bomber bottles; it also has four seasonal beers that are sold in bomber bottles.
"We have lots of barrel-aged stuff and specialty beers in the works," he adds. "We want to get back to a creative focus."
Dry Dock has also hired a new quality control manager, Jim Bruckner, a chemist who worked previously at Rogue Brewing, who will help the brewery "dial in" its processes before it finally starts distributing out of state -- possibly in 2015.
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