Foothills Brewing expanding production capacity

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Consumers of Foothills Brewing Co. craft beers have paid heed to the Winston-Salem company’s call to “stay thirsty.”

As a result, Foothills is expanding its production capacity for the second time in a year to meet increased demand.

Foothills is ranked among http://www.ratebeer.com’s 100 best breweries in the world. It brews more than 20 year-round, plus seasonal offerings. Among its best sellers are Hoppyum IPA, Sexual Chocolate and Carolina Blonde. The company has 115 employees and expects to add more as demand for its beers increase.

The company is purchasing new production equipment, which is expected to be delivered by June 15. The equipment consists of four fermentation tanks, a 400-barrel bright tank, a 25-barrel cold liquor tank and a new whirlpool.

The fermenting tanks will be 300 barrels in size, “the biggest we’ve ever had,” the company said on its website. The new tanks will bolster production capacity by 55 percent, or to about 62,000 barrels a year. That’s compared with about 13,000 barrels in early 2013.

“By the time all that new equipment is up and running, we’ll be able to get four brews done in the time it now takes us to do three,” the company said. At a 25 percent increase in efficiency and production, “it will once and for all answer the question, ‘Where’s my Jade?’ ” Jade is a style of India pale ale that Foothills is known for.

The latest expansion comes on top of Foothills’ purchase of four 200-barrel fermentation vessels in April 2013. At that time, those vessels increased production by 72 percent, as well as allowed it to use its existing 100-barrel vessels for new flavor development.

The new vessels will be placed in Foothills’ 48,000-square-foot brewing facility at 3800 Kimwell Drive in Stratford Industrial Park, just off South Stratford Road.

In another update, Foothills said it expects to complete this month its purchase of the facility, which it has been leasing since December 2010. It also said it is building a tap room at the facility, which it projects opening by the end of the year.

“We’re hoping this building and its surrounding property will eventually help define the Triad beer scene,” the company said.

Foothills likely needs the added production to better handle recent distribution pushes into Norfolk, Richmond, Northern Virginia and Washington after reaching distribution deals in those markets. It also added distribution in South Carolina during 2013.

Although the company is limiting distribution to no more than 300 miles from Winston-Salem, it has plans to go as far west as Nashville, Tenn.

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