Great Divide Brewing will install five more massive, 300-barrel fermenting tanks in about ten days, filling out the final spaces in its tank farm. The addition means the nineteen-year-old brewery will be able to expand at its current rate for another three years before it has to find another location, says Great Divide founder Brian Dunn.
If growth exceeds expectations, however -- as it has with many other Colorado breweries in the past few years -- Great Divide may have to speed up the process.
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"We have room for growth, but not a ton," Dunn says. Great Divide brewed about 32,000 barrels of beer in 2012 and plans to make around 40,000 barrels in 2013. The new tanks give it a maximum capacity of 65,000 to 70,000 barrels down the road.
"Because we warehouse everything off-site, we actually have more capacity than most people imagine when they come in here," he adds.
In the meantime, the brewery will be able to increase its efficiency by buying a larger, eighty-barrel mashtun in the late summer. Its current fifty-barrel mashtun -- where the malted grains are added to water at the beginning of the brewing process- - is too small to handle the amount of malt that Great Divide needs for its high-alcohol beers. Taht results in the brewers there having to mash in their grains twice for one batch of beer.
Great Divide is also planning to release three new beers this year:
The first is Heyday, a Belgian-style white that will be sold in six-packs between April and June as a summer seasonal. The previous summer seasonal, Colette, has become a year-round offering.
That will be followed by the brewery's nineteenth anniversary beer, which will be a 10 percent-plus ABV ale brewed with Alaskan birch syrup and aged on birch wood.
And finally, Great Divide will replace one of its seasonal Yetis, the Belgo Yeti, with a new one; Dunn says he isn't sure yet what form the mysterious new Yeti will take.
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