(Photo above: The crew from R&H Construction raise a new brew tank for Sunriver Brewing | courtesy of CBN)
Sunriver Brewing Company finalized its first expansion since the brewery started production on January 1, 2014. The brewery began with the ability to brew 2,500 barrels per year. After higher than expected demand, the brewery started laying in the groundwork for more equipment. Today the brewery has doubled production capacity to 5,000 barrels per year.
Expansion included fermentation and brite tanks but also a custom hot liquor tank and whirlpool. “The whirlpool and larger hot liquor tank allows us to step up our production from brewing two batches a day to potentially four or five batches a day,” says Head Brewer Brett Thomas. “We will also benefit from drawing an increased yield from our kettle which will equate to more beer.”
Pairing up with the timing of this expansion, Sunriver Brewing has begun a barrel age sour beer program. Pinot Noir, Merlot, Rose, and Port wine barrels were brought in from Del Rio Vineyards in Medford and Volcano Vineyards in Bend. The barrels have been filled with beer and will be packaged sometime towards the end of 2016.
“Sour beer is becoming more popular in the Northwest every day,” says Director of Sales & Marketing Ryan Duley. “It takes a technically sound brew team to make really great sour beer and I believe that we have just that”.
Thomas followed up by mentioning, “Most modern production focuses on mash or kettle souring techniques and wild or mixed culture fermentation; however, some breweries take a more traditional approach to their sour program and employ used wine barrels to create these wonderful brews.”
This current expansion is just enough to keep up with immediate needs which include two year round beers – Vicious Mosquito IPA and Fuzztail Hefeweizen, plus rotating seasonals. Plans for future expansion are already underway in the brewery which has room in the 12,000 square foot building. Dates are currently unknown for the next phase.