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US. Stevens Point Brewery prepares for expansion

For the third year in a row, the Stevens Point Brewery is expanding.

The brewery is adding storage space and installing aging tanks, which will increase its production capacity 25 percent to 100,000 barrels a year. Point also has started selling beer in two new states in 2011 -- Texas and North Carolina -- bringing the total to 15 new states since 2009.
Since then, the company has invested about $1 million to expand and upgrade the facilities, and that money is paying off. Last week, the brewery was named the 32nd largest craft brewery in the country based on sales by the Brewers Association, a nonprofit trade organization.
Since Operations Manager Joe Martino took over a stagnant brewery in 2002, business has tripled, Martino said, including double-digit sales growth in recent years.
"We continue to offer approachable, drinkable craft beers that are true to style," Martino said. "We're thrilled. Expanding is a great thing in this economy."
Point Brewery, 2617 Water St., isn't done yet. Martino said the company is considering a few other states as possible areas of distribution expansion. Executives also are discussing bidding on a house up for auction just south of the brewery at 2725 Water St., which would give the company another quarter of an acre for future expansion.
The current addition will take up a large chunk of the available land. The brewery is adding 6,600 square feet of warehouse space, and will use five more aging tanks and three fermentation tanks to increase capacity.
That new beer will have plenty of destinations. Point Beer now is available in more than half the states, from New York to Alabama, although in many states it only is distributed around major cities.
All of the Point beers, including the seasonal ones, are distributed out of state, although each market typically starts with three to four, Martino said.
"We hope to cover a whole state, but you don't necessarily start out across the whole state," Martino said.
"You start with three to four (beers), then the others come a little later."

21 Apr. 2011

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