Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

O'Fallon Brewery Readying for Spring Opening of $10 Million Facility [Corrected 03/07/15]

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

O'Fallon Brewery Readying for Spring Opening of $10 Million Facility [Corrected 03/07/15]

Article excerpt

Jim Gorczyca is getting used to curious neighbors popping their heads into the industrial building he's transforming in Maryland Heights into a production facility and headquarters for O'Fallon Brewery, one of St. Louis' largest craft brewers.

As people who work nearby at the Westport Plaza office and retail complex see deliveries of 18-feet-tall stainless steel fermentation tanks, curiosity prompts them to ask when the brewery will open, said Brian Owens, O'Fallon's Brewery's head brewer since 2002.

The brewery's exterior signs aren't installed yet, but several black awnings display the company's tagline in large white text: "We love beer."

Announced in February 2014, the $10 million project includes a restaurant with seating for 100 and a tasting room. Both are scheduled to open on May 1, with brewing to start on June 1.

Gorczyca, O'Fallon Brewery's president and CEO, picked the site at 45 Progress Parkway in large part because of the large concentration of employers.

The 39,000-square-foot brewery building, which was formerly home to a medical equipment manufacturer, is located near Interstate 270 and Page Avenue, in an area with several large employers, including Edward Jones.

"This is a great location with so many businesses in the area, and 22 hotels nearby," Gorczyca said. "We didn't want to go downtown where there are many other breweries."

With its location in west St. Louis County near a major interstate, Gorczyca said the new facility will draw from a wide pool of customers in the region.

Maryland Heights Mayor Mike Moeller said the brewery will fill a void. "It's certainly going to bring jobs to the area and growth to the city," Moeller said. "There's nothing else like that there."

The brewery and restaurant will employ about 45 people when it opens, up from about 10 current employees.

Opening the new brewery will allow O'Fallon Brewery to bring all of its production back to the St. Louis area. As sales outpaced its capacity at its small brewhouse in O'Fallon, Mo., that can only brew a few thousand barrels annually, the brewery shifted production of most of its beer in 2008 to a contract brewer in Wisconsin.

O'Fallon Brewery produced 11,000 barrels in 2014, with sales of its Pumpkin Beer, 5-Day IPA and other beers in 13 states and in Italy. The new brewery will be able to brew 25,000 barrels a year annually initially, with room to expand to 50,000 barrels.

With the extra space, O'Fallon Brewery plans to expand its contract brewing services for other craft brewers, Gorczyca said. He estimates he'll brew about 15,000 barrels this year for O'Fallon Brewery and an additional 10,000 barrels for contract customers, including for Black Mesa, an Oklahoma-based craft brewer.

The new facility will also allow O'Fallon Brewery to bottle more of its beer that's currently only available on draft, such as its Strawberry Best American wheat seasonal beer that will debut in bottles this year for the first time. …

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