Fire at Free State

Just inches away from completing a major facility expansion, Free State Brewing Co. sustained damage to its brewing and bottling facility early Sunday.

About 6:30 a.m. Sunday, fire crews responded to reports of flames and smoke to Free State’s recently renovated facility. The fire was declared under control about 8 a.m., according to Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical.

The building was not occupied at the time of the fire, and there were no injuries reported. Cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

Brewmaster Steve Bradt said the refrigeration equipment was the only equipment that was running at the time of the fire. The facility had a full supply of malted barley, wheat and hops.

Free State for months has been overhauling the 12,000-square-foot facility to expand the company’s production capacity and had been renovated with everything from new floors to new plumbing and electrical work. Free State currently produces about 2,700 barrels of beer per year and the new site will enable Free State to increase capacity at least sevenfold.