Boston Beer Co., brewer of Sam Adams beers, plans a $6.5 million renovation and expansion of the former Hudepohl-Schoenling brewery in Cincinnati.
Boston Beer took over the brewery in 1997 and has tripled its annual production capacity since then to about 600,000 barrels. The new project will bump that up by another 200,000 barrels, enabling the facility to operate around the clock, seven days a week.
Plant manager John Toerner said the expansion should be completed by September, and is expected to add an undetermined number of new jobs to its current workforce of about 100. Most of the investment will go into a new cellar and tanks for aging beer and some new brewing equipment.
The increased production will supplant production that’s now done at other commercial breweries under contract. The company began to seriously look at expansion possibilities in 2003 when it got into a contract dispute with Miller Brewing Co.
Boston Beer founder Jim Koch said making more beer in Cincinnati probably isn’t quite as cheap as making it elsewhere, but it’s close enough.
“At some point you’re not worried about the last nickel and dime. It’s in the noise – the imputed cost of capital,” he said. “At some point you just have to stop trying to calculate things and do what you want to do.”
Toerner, who’s worked at the brewery for 30 years under its current and previous owners, said the big difference between now and 30 years ago is the amount of automation. “There used to be a lot more heavy lifting.”