We just learned about expansion plans at Bale Breaker Brewing Company. The expansion will add 16,200 square-feet of space to the brewery, more than doubling the size of the existing 11,000 square-foot facility. This on the heels of the young company’s second anniversary.
According to a report in the Yakima Herald, the expansion will facilitate the addition of more and larger fermentation tanks, a faster and bigger canning line, and more space for dry storage and cold storage. Also of note, employment at the brewery will nearly double, perhaps providing jobs for as many as 20 people.
Located on the fringes of Yakima, with a Moxee address, Bale Breaker Brewing opened in the summer of 2013. Better put, it erupted onto the local beer scene like a well-shaken can of Field 41 Pale Ale.
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I don’t know how much beer Bale Breaker brewed in its first few months of existence, but in 2014, the company’s first full year of operation, it brewed 7,000 barrels. Bale Breaker expects to brew 12,000 barrels in 2015.
Even in the fast-paced, ballooning craft beer business those are remarkable numbers. And, of course, it’s all been fueled by outstanding beer that immediately captured the hearts of hop heads. The brewery is built in the middle of a hop field (Field 41) and that seems to influence the beer in the best possible way.
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Also, the company’s decision to focus a lot of its initial attention on putting the beer in aluminum cans proved to be a good one. Whether you are in Wenatchee or Walla Walla, Seattle or Spokane, there’s a pretty good chance the local grocery store has dedicated some shelf space to Bale Breaker beers.
When I first visited the brewery, a few months before the brew kettle was officially fired up, I was immediately impressed. (Read the story.) Not just with the facility, which is amazing, but also with the attitude. These guys planned for success. They expected it. Maybe not this soon, but they operated on the assumption that expansion was inevitable.
“We’re in the midst of planning out our expansion now, which kind of surprised us because we weren’t planning to fill out this facility for probably five to seven years,” Kevin Quinn told the Yakima Herald. Kevin and his wife Meghann, along with her brother Kevin Smith, own Bale Breaker Brewing.
To say that Bale Breaker Brewing is a family affair is a serious understatement. Kevin and Meghann’s family have been farming hops on this land for more than 80 years. The brewery is built on the land their family has been working for the last four (and now five) generations. According to their dad, Mike Smith, “Hops are in our family’s DNA.” Kevin and Meghann’s brother, Patrick, is nearby, working the farm with his dad.