The Central City Brewers and Distillers have not lost sight of the trees but they have been very busy thinking about the forest as a whole. This once-small brewpub is looking a few steps ahead and the popular Red Racer line of beers has a much broader market in ahead of them. With the recent completion of the massive, 65,000 square foot facility in Surrey BC the Central City Brewers and Distillers now have the space, equipment and drive for expansion into new markets.
The development of this new state-of-the-art facility did not happen overnight. The initial planning started years ago in a stage of consultation. Attempting such a project was outside the realm of anything done in British Columbia to date. As a result of this uncharted territory the team at Central City looked to our neighbors in the south for guidance. Working with breweries such as Deschutes, Sierra Nevada and Lagonitas the new brewing facility was able to take aspects of each of these larger breweries successes while also learning from their failures. The comradary demonstrated in the design of the new Central City facility could only happen within the craft beer industry. This truly is business among friends.
The final product of the ambitious construction project is not only a facility that is intelligently designed for brewing and distilling but is also one that is efficient in every way conceivable. The new Central City Brewery has an 85%+ efficiency yield while using less than half the water of the previous setup. The new brewery reclaims more than 90% of all energy used and has reduced its waste drastically to much less than the industry standard. The building is LEED compliant using energy efficient materials, high efficiency LED lighting and a sophisticated automation system that further reduces energy consumption. This is more than just a brewery, it is a modern architectural design.
The creation of this new state-of-the-art facility will allow the team at Central City to expand to service the entire Canadian Craft Beer Market and enter the USA Beer Market while introducing a new line of spirits to go along with the Craft Beer product Offerings. The Red Racer line of beers is already in 8 states and that number is growing rapidly. The new craft spirit line will be sold under the Seraph brand and is an exciting and ambitious project for Central City. Expect to see a Gin and Vodka offering on the shelves of BC retailers very soon!
Upon entering the new brewing facility one cannot help but notice the sheer size and note how it is like nothing else in British Columbia. The 50 hectolitre brew house is housed in a 65,000 square foot building along side three stills. As it stands right now the brewery will produce an estimated two million 6-packs during 2014 and has a lofty goal of upping that to 5 million in only a few years. The impressive brewing capacity is matched by a packing speed of 10,800 cans per hour, 14,400 bottles per hour and 50 kegs per hour. The packaging line housed in this impressive building gives the opportunity for much growth in the years to come. The brewery itself also has room for expansion with the ability to double in size as time and demand permit necessary.Being in such a large scale facility does not mean that the beer quality will suffer either. Some of the equipment from the smaller, old brewery has been moved over to help with pilot projects and small-batch brews. Brewmaster Gary Lohin now has the team and the facility to provide a much greater number of people with quality BC Craft Beer. In this sense the Central City team is very forward looking and with that comes the use of the old brewery located at the Central City Brewpub location. This old system will be used in the newly created SFU Science Of Brewing course where future brewers, new yeast strains and hybrid hop varieties could be developed to further push the boundaries of BC Craft Beer. Partnering with SFU gives this clever brewery one leg up on the competition in their chemical and biological research capabilities all while creating a vast recruiting pool for future dedicated employees.
Looking forward down the road don’t be surprised when you realize that Central City is no longer in the league it once played in. This brewery (and distillery) is no longer a big fish in a small pond. The talented team and quality product has moved to the ocean where they have the space and the resources to become a major player in the North American Craft Beer Market.
To view more photos from the new Central City Brewers & Distillers location click on the images below.