Dust Bowl Brewing Company reveals plans for a new $10 million brewery to be built in Turlock, California, the brewery’s current hometown. The 30,000 square-foot facility will be located west of Highway 99, on the corner of Fulkerth Road and Dianne Drive, across from the Turlock Auto Plaza.
The company plans to break ground in March 2015, with completion expected in November 2015. The new facility will have initial capacity of 17,000 barrels per year. Dust Bowl Brewing Co. projects sales of 10,000 barrels in the first 12 months, more than doubling current annual sales. The master plan allows room for expansion up to 100,000 barrels per year.
“We bought the open land in 2013 and have been in the planning stages ever since,” shares Brett Tate, founder of Dust Bowl Brewing Company. “We’ve outgrown our current facility and are poised for expanded production and distribution. The craft industry is on the rise and we’re excited to be part of the upward movement.”
The new brewery brings significant growth to the young company. Brewmaster Don Oliver notes, “The nearly fully automated brewhouse will allow us to brew 64 barrel brews on our smaller beers in the 5% ABV range and 50 barrel batches on our bigger beers.” CFT Packaging, based in Parma, Italy, will be providing the majority of the brewery equipment, including the malt silos and handling, brewhouse, fermentation, brite tanks and a 125 bottle-per-minute bottling line. “The level of automation will allow us to improve our consistency on all products,” Oliver continues. “The new facility will also have a Quality Assurance lab, which will allow us greater control of the quality of the increased volume of beer.”
The initial product mix will focus on producing more of the company’s established styles. “Our flagship “Hops of Wrath” IPA will drive sales into new markets, so it’s essential to increase production. This particular beer showcases the Dust Bowl Brewing Co. branding and experience…a great IPA inspired by the Dust Bowl era,” comments Tate. “Differentiating and building a craft brand goes beyond quality; you have to provide an overall lasting experience with the consumer.”
The company will expand its overall portfolio to include several year-round styles in bottles as well as increase its seasonal and specialty offerings.
“The expanded capacity gives us room to be creative, and keep our Tap Room and other draft accounts well stocked with a nice variety of beers,” adds Tate.
Increased production will allow the company to meet growing demand with current distributors as well as expand into new markets statewide. Dust Bowl Brewing Company recently signed on with MorrisDistributing, which covers the San Francisco Bay Area, serving Marin, Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino, Lake and San Francisco counties. The Central Valley is serviced by Delta Sierra Beverage (Merced, Stanislaus, San Joaquin, Mariposa, Tuolumne, Amador and Alpine counties), Mussetter Distributing (Sacramento, Yolo, El Dorado, Placer, Nevada, Sierra, Parts of Solano counties) and Donaghy Sales (Fresno, Tulare, Madera and Kings counties). The expansion plan calls for distribution throughout California. Initial target areas include the San Francisco East Bay, where the company currently has limited self-distribution, San Francisco South Bay, Central Coast and Southern California.
The new facility is ideally located off of Highway 99, where over 100,000 cars travel daily. The close proximity will offer easy freight access, provide excellent brand exposure as well as attract visitors. Owner Brett Honoré sheds some light on the brewery’s future plans. “We envision the new facility to evolve into a local destination and full-service venue. It’s going to be a very cool place for day-trippers and locals alike. Plans include a tasting room with a clear view of the brewing operation and packaging, outdoor patio and lounge seating, tours, and retail space to sell our beers and logo items. We eventually want to create an outdoor venue for special events. The design aesthetic is Napa inspired, inside and out, so it will be unique to our area.”
Dust Bowl Brewing Company started brewing beer in May 2009 and opened a tap room in Downtown Turlock in August 2011. The tap room and restaurant will remain in operation along with the new brewing facility. The initial brewery has been expanded multiple times, posting sales increases of 300% in 2010, 85% in 2011, 55% in 2012 and 98% in 2013. Despite brewing 24 hours a day, sales growth was repeatedly limited by production capacity.
“It’s a good problem to have,” notes Tate. “The demand has outpaced our ability to brew more beer, which has prompted this large-scale investment in the future. It’s a positive project on a variety of levels – it’s essential for our brand, boosts the economy and enhances the culture of Turlock and surrounding communities.”
Owners Brett Tate and Brett Honoré made a deliberate choice to stay and expand in Turlock, a decision the City of Turlock embraces.
“The City of Turlock is excited about the expansion of one of our most notable businesses. Since their first brew in 2009, Dust Bowl Brewing Company has been a great addition to the local community and economy,” shares Turlock’s Mayor John Lazar. “Not only has Dust Bowl's tap room and restaurant brought new life to our downtown area, the company now has over 50 full-time and part-time employees. We are delighted that they continue to make Turlock home to their new expansion and are confident the new facility will provide yet another boost in the economy with added employees and bring additional visitors to our community. Turlock is proud to be part of the craft beer culture that's sweeping the nation."
The brewery has selected local businesses to fund and build the project, including Modesto’s Huff Construction Company, Inc. and Oak Valley Community Bank, based in Oakdale.
“We’re excited about the new Dust Bowl Brewing project. We always enjoy watching a local company grow,” says Brad Ardis, President of Huff Construction Company, Inc. “The benefits of a local company expanding can be felt within our entire community.”
Chris Courtney, President and CEO of Oak Valley Community Bank, adds, “The Dust Bowl expansion is an inspiring story of growth with roots that trace fittingly back to the rich history of Central Valley agriculture. We are very excited to be involved in what promises to be an important chapter in their rapidly emerging presence within the craft brewing industry. As a community bank, the most satisfying opportunities are always those which provide well-run businesses the ability to expand in our own backyard and help the communities we serve thrive.”
To follow the progress of the new brewery, visit the company’s web site at: www.dustbowlbrewing.com.