Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co. says a $2.5-million expansion of its Vankleek Hill facility will quadruple its beer-brewing capacity..
The Vankleek Hill-based brewery purchased a new brewhouse – a suite of equipment used to create the beer and not a physical building – that is more than four times the size of its predecessor. It holds 7,000 litres of beer, compared to the previous 1,700 litres, and will be fully installed and functioning by Aug. 17.
“It’s still small in the world of beer, but huge for us,” said Beau’s co-owner Steve Beauchesne.
The brewery also purchased six new fermenting tanks, each of which holds 28,000 litres, or four batches of beer from the brewhouse.
With its new equipment, Mr. Beauchesne said the company will finally be able to keep up with market demand for its products. Previously, Beau’s wasn’t able to brew beer fast enough to fill all of its orders.
“The joke’s been that we’ve made a business model around disappointing people,” he said.
Brewing larger batches of beer means that Beau’s seasonal specialties, of which single batches are often made, will last longer. A common complaint is that customers can’t get to the special brews before they sell out, Mr. Beauchesne said.
The company will also focus more on “fun projects” including its Wild Oats series, a collection of beers that are more difficult and exploratory than Beau’s regular brews.
In June, for example, Beau’s collaborated with Anders Kissmeyer of Kissmeyer Beer in Denmark to create a beer called Venskab (the Danish word for friendship).
The batch began as a Belgian Tripel spiced with bog myrtle and ice-wine soaked oak chips. It was aged in white wine barrels for four months, after which a Japanese citrus fruit called yuzu and Champagne yeast was added.
Now that Beau’s has a new brewhouse, it needs to decide what to do with the old one, and has been considering an expansion into upstate New York or Quebec.
Mr. Beauchesne said no official plans have been made, but its abundance of customers from Montreal make crossing the border into Quebec an appealing option.
“If we could only choose one or the other, we’d choose Quebec,” he said.
Beau’s has various relationships with Québécois breweries, so expansion could involve using their existing brewhouses and not needing to install its own, Mr. Beauchesne added.
The new equipment will be functional just in time for Oktoberfest, Beau’s annual beer festival hosted in September. Between 12,000 to 15,000 people are expected to attend – up to 4,000 more than last year when 300 kegs were consumed.
Founded on Canada Day in 2006 by Mr. Beauchesne and his father, Tim, the brewery now employs 63 people in Vankleek Hill.